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Backward compatibility is one of a gaming system’s most helpful characteristics. This is when a system allows you to play games from prior generations of consoles. If a system allows this, you may combine your consoles and save a lot of time instead of going back and forth to play certain games.
The PS2 accomplished this for PS1 games, and early PS3 models were PS2 backward compatible. Unfortunately, this functionality is not available for PS3 games on the PS4. However, various workarounds will allow you to play select PS3 games on your PS4.
Can You Play PS3 Games on PS4?
The basic answer is that the PlayStation 4 does not support PlayStation 3 games. Inserting a PlayStation 3 disc into a PlayStation 4 will not work. You also can’t download downloadable PS3 games from the PlayStation Store to your PlayStation 4. This is true for all PS4 variants, including the small PS4 and PS4 Pro.
The reason for this, like with other cases of backward compatibility, is that the PS3 and PS4 have distinct system architectures. Because PlayStation 4 systems lack the hardware of the PS3, they cannot run older games natively. And Sony determined it wasn’t worth enough to create a software emulator to handle older titles. Therefore, the PS4 can only play PS4 games. The PS4 also cannot play PS2 or original PlayStation discs. Fortunately, even without native backward compatibility, there are alternative methods to play PS3 games on your PS4.
How Can You Play PS3 Games on PS4?
Despite the PS4’s lack of backward compatibility, certain PS3 games can be played. Playstation Now is a service that allows you to download hundreds of games. It’s referred to as a cloud gaming service.
Cloud gaming is similar to a streaming service but for video games. You download the game and play it straight from the server, using an actual PS3 system, and the game footage is then broadcast to your console as a video. Playstation Now requires a monthly charge, which is present at $9.99 in the US and $8.99 in the UK.
There are several PS3 titles available for download on this service, as well as some PS2 games. However, games, like streaming services, may be cycled out. You may also buy games from the Playstation shop to download and play on your PS4. Sony has remastered several PS3 titles so that they can be played on the PS4, as well as a large number of PS2 games.
Why Can’t I Play PS3 Discs on My PS4?
This is because the Playstation 4’s system design is so dissimilar to that of the PS3, making PS4 backward compatibility practically hard. It lacks the necessary hardware to operate the games as designed.
As a result, the only way a PS4 could play PS3 games as if they were emulated or if the system had a program that could mimic how the PS3 functions to play its games. This skill, however, necessitates a significant amount of power on the console’s side and a significant amount of extra effort. Sony selected the far easier path of completely remaking individual PS3 titles so they could be played on the new platform. These included titles such as Skyrim, BioShock, Dark Souls, and others.
While PS3 games do not directly operate on the PS4, we have shown ways to enjoy PS3 titles on your PS4 via different means. Whether you subscribe to PS Plus Premium or look through the various remasters available, you’ll be able to play many of the finest PS3 titles on your PS4. Fortunately, practically all PS4 titles are backward-compatible with the PS5. However, it is still unable to play PS3 games natively.
Also read: PS5 Backwards Compatibility: Everything You Need To Know