Is the PS4 Backwards Compatible with PS3 Games? 

Is the PS4 Backwards Compatible with PS3 Games

Ever dug out your old PlayStation 3 (PS3) only to realize you can’t play those beloved games on your shiny new PlayStation 4 (PS4)? You’re not alone. While backwards compatibility, the ability to play games from older consoles on newer ones, is a gamer’s dream, the PS4 falls short in this department when it comes to PS3 titles.

We will explain why PS4 isn’t backwards compatible with PS3 and explore some alternative ways to revisit those classic PS3 adventures.

PS4 Backwards Compatibility: A No-Go

Backwards compatibility allows you to pop in an older game disc or download a digital version and play it seamlessly on your newer console. Unfortunately, the PS4 lacks this functionality for PS3 games. This means you can’t simply insert your PS3 game disc into the PS4 and expect it to work. Similarly, you won’t be able to download digital PS3 games from the PlayStation Store onto your PS4.

Why Can’t You Play PS3 Games on PS4?

There are a few reasons why backwards compatibility isn’t a feature on the PS4. One major factor is the difference in architecture between the PS3 and PS4. The PS3 utilized a complex Cell processor with unique architecture, while the PS4 relies on a more traditional x86-based architecture. This fundamental difference makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for the PS4 to understand and run PS3 games natively.

Alternatives for Playing Your PS3 Games

While the PS4 itself doesn’t offer native backwards compatibility for PS3 games, there are still ways to revisit those classics. Here are a couple of options.

PlayStation Now (if available in your region)

Is the PS4 Backwards Compatible with PS3 Games

PlayStation Now (PS Now) was a streaming service from Sony that allowed users to play a library of PS2, PS3, and PS4 games on various devices, including the PS4 (subscription required). At the time of writing, PS Now has been merged into the new PlayStation Plus service. Depending on your region and chosen PlayStation Plus tier (Extra or Deluxe), you might still have access to a selection of downloadable PS3 games. Keep in mind that PS Now (or the relevant PlayStation Plus tier) requires a stable internet connection for streaming purposes.

Remastered PS3 Games for PS4

Many popular PS3 titles have received remastered versions specifically for the PS4. These remasters often boast improved visuals, textures, and sometimes even gameplay tweaks. While you won’t be able to play the original PS3 version, a remastered version on PS4 can be a great way to experience your favorite games with a fresh coat of paint.

Final Thoughts

While the PS4 doesn’t offer native backwards compatibility for PS3 games, there are still ways to enjoy those classic titles. Consider exploring PlayStation Plus options (if available), remastered versions for PS4, or even holding onto your PS3 if those options aren’t ideal.

The future of PS3 backwards compatibility on newer PlayStation consoles remains uncertain. However, with the success of emulation on PC and other platforms, advancements in technology might pave the way for future PlayStation consoles to offer backwards compatibility for older generations, including PS3.


Q. Can I play PS3 games on a PS5?
A. No, the PlayStation 5 (PS5) is also not backwards compatible with PS3 games. However, the PS5 can play the vast majority of PS4 games.

Q. Will there ever be an update to make the PS4 backwards compatible with PS3 games?
A. While unlikely, Sony hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of future backwards compatibility updates.

Q. Is there a way to emulate PS3 games on a PC?
A. Yes, emulation allows you to run software designed for one system on another. However, emulation can be complex and requires a powerful PC. There are several PS3 emulators available online, but their legality and effectiveness can vary. It’s important to research and choose reputable sources before attempting emulation.

Q. Should I just buy a used PS3 to play my old games?
A. If you have a large collection of PS3 games and the alternatives mentioned above aren’t ideal, purchasing a used PS3 can be a viable option. Consider factors like the console’s condition, available game library, and potential repair costs before making a decision.

Q. What are some remastered PS3 games available for PS4?
A. There are many popular PS3 titles that have been remastered for the PS4. Some notable examples include The Last of Us Remastered, Uncharted Collection: Nathan Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. A quick online search can reveal a comprehensive list of remastered PS3 games playable on PS4.