PlayStation 4 is one of the bestselling consoles released, selling over 100 million units milestone. It is almost the perfect package for a person who is looking for casual gameplay after a long tiring day at work. Its hardware, exclusives, system software, everything was on point.
After getting a new PlayStation 4, there is one thing a person can think, can you play PS3 games on a PS4? The answer is no, but it is yes at the same time. Backward compatibility is something that the PS4 lacked compared to other consoles from the same generation.
Unlike PS4, Xbox One supports the Xbox 360 titles. Xbox 360 supported major Xbox titles, PS2 could play PS1 titles, and some early PS3 could run PS2 titles. Wii U can run Wii games as well. Xbox One also has a massive catalog of Xbox 360 titles that you can run on the console.
However, in PS4, if you want to play any PS3 or PS2 titles on your console, it is impossible. Putting a PS3 disc in a PS4 Blu-ray drive will do absolutely nothing.
Playing some great old games from PS3 was a dream for the PS4 owners until Sony introduced the PlayStation Now service for PlayStation 4 and 5 and PC.
Yes, you can play more than eight hundred titles released across PS2 and PS3 on-demand. With more and more titles added each month.
PlayStation Now sounds lucrative and too good to be true, right? Well, there is a catch. If you are familiar with Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and Project xCloud, PlayStation Now is quite similar to it a cloud game streaming service.
Unlike proper backward compatibility like in Xbox One, the game will be streamed on your monitor then rendered by the GPU of the console.
Cloud gaming was a hot topic a couple of years back, and some people also considered it to be the future of gaming where you could play any game of your choice anywhere without having to bring your whole computers with you.
However, due to internet limitations, there is not much development in the technology, but a few more services are launched by big companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google to test whether these will be the future of gaming or is a few year trends that will die quickly. Only time will tell.
I will discuss the details below in the article. If you are interested in the service, Sony offers multiple payment options that you can choose from. You can also try a seven-day free trial to check if you are a fan of this service. If you like the service, you can get monthly, 3-month, and yearly subscriptions.
Can You Play PS3 Games On PS4?
Due to the different hardware nature of the PS4 compared to PS3, it is impossible. The PS3 was built with different technology, i.e., cell CPU architecture, while most of the PS4 was built more like a personal computer.
If you are thinking about playing PS3 games using the PS3 game disc on a PS4, no, you cannot play PS3 games like that on your PS4. However, a cloud game streaming service like Google Stadia will make backward compatibility possible.
The cloud game streaming service you can use on PS4 is the PlayStation Now, developed and released by Sony. PlayStation Now was released in 2014. It is a subscription service offering three subscription options from which you can choose.
If you are not exactly sure whether to spend your hard-earned money on a PlayStation Now, just to play a generation-old game, luckily, Sony offers a free seven-day trial that you can give a try to confirm if you want the service or not.
What Is PlayStation Now?
PlayStation Now is a service after subscription, will run the game that you want to play on your PS4 on the PS Now servers and will stream it back to your PS4. The most crucial factor making the experience a breeze is having fast and high-speed internet is a must.
Getting the PlayStation Now subscription will be a waste of money if you do not have high-speed internet. You will face severe lag and latency instead of making the experience enjoyable, which will ruin it.
I have explained earlier how this service works but have more stuff to it than the two-line explanation. The system sends a request to the server to start the game on the server-side, and the server responds with the game data when you use the service on your console.
Pressing any button on the controller will send the data by the console to the servers, and the game which is being run on the server performs the action and feeds back the results back to your monitor.
What I just described is an overview of this service. If you are interested in the service, with the help of the next topic, you could set up the service in no time and play your desired PS2 and PS3 games.
How To Play PS3 Games On Your PS4 Using PlayStation Now
Before getting into the topic of setting up the PlayStation Now service on your PS4, make sure that you can use the PSN service on your PS4 device.
Also, ensure that you have a verified PS4 account and meet the minimum internet speed requirement. Sony recommends having a 5Mbps internet connection will be enough.
But compared to other services, the recommended speed may cause lag, and you may face issues like compression. The service features over 800 titles released on PS2 and PS3 that you can play on your PS4 or even PC.
This service is different from than PS3 to PS4 digital upgrade service.
Do not confuse each other. The PS3 to PS4 digital upgrade service allows you to get the digital version of a game at a lower price if you have owned the same game on PS3. That was a limited time offer, and it might have expired by now.
The biggest advantage of using the service is that you will not have to wait for your desired game to download on your PS4 disk drive, and you can play the game anytime, just with a single click.
One quick thing, before getting the subscription service, make sure it is available in your country first. Below is the list of countries where you can purchase the PlayStation Now subscription service:
- The Netherlands
Here is how you can set up for PlayStation Now on your PS4:
- If you are going to get a fresh PS Now account, head over to the following website and sign-up in a web browser on your console or your PC.
- If you have the PlayStation Now app installed on your PS4, open it. If not, download it from the PlayStation store.
- Log in to the app with the account that you have created on the website of PlayStation Now.
- Under the “PS NOW COLLECTION” browse through the PS2 games or PS3 games.
- Select the game you want to play and press the “X” button on your Dualshock 4 controller to run the game.
- You can either select “Download Game” or “Stream Now”. The “Download Game” option will allow you to play the game offline, while “Stream Now” will require a stable internet connection to play the game.
- If you have selected the “Download Game” option, wait for the download to complete.
- After the download completes, launch the game.
- To get the best possible results, you should have a high-speed, stable internet connection. It is not that you will not be able to play your favorite PS2 or PS3 games. You will but what you will get is image compression and lag in return.
The recommended internet connection speed suggested by Sony to run the service on your PS4 is 5Mbps.
However, people have complained about latency and lag issues with such speeds. A question arises, what should be the ideal internet speed to run PS Now smoothly?
We can compare other streaming services’ recommended internet speed connections to get a general idea of what internet speed will suffice. Google Stadia recommended an internet connection for a smooth 1080p experience is 10Mbps or greater.
Amazon recommends having a 10Mbps internet connection for an ideal 1080p experience. Usually, most of the time, the requirements cause issues for an ideal experience. I believe having a 15Mbps internet connection should suffice.
If you are not planning to download any games on your console, make sure you have the extra amount of storage on your storage drive. If not, storage should be of your least concern.
PlayStation Now Subscription Packages
As previously mentioned, PS Now comes in three different subscription packages to choose from. The package ranges from monthly, three-months, and yearly subscriptions.
If you are thinking about playing a couple of titles from PS2 or PS3, I think a monthly subscription suits your needs the most.
The three-month package looks decent if you want to play a few titles that will take more than a month to finish. Only purchase the yearly package if you are willing to play a lot of PS2 and PS3 games.
You can also rent games for a one-off fee. Talking about the bigger picture, the monthly package makes more sense. In case you are sure that you want to play a couple of titles from the past, you can try renting a game for 30 days period.
If you cancel your subscription, your data will not be lost. So, if in case you renew your subscription after a few months or even years, you can start from where you left the games.
NOTE: The subscription after purchase will continue to charge until they are canceled. If you are planning to get a monthly package, make sure to cancel the subscription after the month finishes.
You can also purchase the PlayStation Now gift cards. They are better if you are trying the service for, let us say, a month or three months.
If you purchase the gift card, you will not have to worry about renewing subscriptions after the month or three months finish.
Why Can’t PS3 Discs Be Played On PS4?
PlayStation 4 was built and developed with the x86 architecture, the same architecture used in developing desktop processors. The PS3, on the other hand, was developed by the cell architecture. The PS4’s architecture is built entirely different from the PS3.
Sony used the cell architecture only for the PS3 that, according to game developers, was hard to develop games for. It would be nearly impossible to make it compatible with PS4 x86 architecture.
The unique architecture of PS3 was powerful and was well ahead of its time, but it was a pain to code.
Due to the complexity of the structure and how hard for the developers to develop games for the PS3, Sony ditched the cell architecture and used the x86 architecture instead of the call architecture for the PS4.
Unlike Microsoft, Sony had to develop a PS3 emulator and embed it into the PS4 system to ensure backward compatibility but, Sony has no plans for backward compatibility.
So, most people are stuck with the PlayStation Now service to play their favorite games from PS3 and PS2 on PS4. Due to this sole reason, nothing will happen if you insert the PS3 disc into PS4.
I am afraid you can do nothing but leave your PS3 discs on the shelves for dust, and your only option is the PlayStation Now service if you want to play some of the PS2 or PS3 titles on your PS4.
What PS3 Games Can I Play?
Sony adds games every month to their PlayStation Now catalog, and as of the time of writing, the list of games contains over 800 playable PS2 and PS3 titles combined. These titles are accessible from day one. All you need is a subscription.
There are hundreds of PS3 titles available on PS Now. This article will turn into a Wiki if I decided to mention every title included in the library. Some of the popular games released on the PS3 that you can play on the PS4:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
If you have owned a PS3 before getting a PS4, it will be hard to accept that you never heard about the Uncharted series. In case you have not played any Uncharted title before, except for the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on the PS4, you are in for a treat.
Uncharted 2 is considered one of the best Uncharted games in the series. Uncharted 2 was released in 2009 on PS3, and the game received critical acclaim upon release.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption was released for PS3 in 2010. It is the sequel to the critically acclaimed title, Red Dead Redemption 2, released in 2018 for the PS4.
If you have played Red Dead Redemption 2 but have not played Red Dead Redemption. It is one of the best titles that you can start playing on PlayStation Now.
Also, make sure to check out the Undead Nightmare DLC. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is considered one of the best-made DLC ever released for a game by the gaming community.
Portal 2 is a kind game released by Value in 2011. If you never played a Portal game before, you should try playing Portal 1 first before playing Portal 2 so that you would know what is going on in the Portal universe.
Otherwise, you will only enjoy the gameplay but not the story. Portal 2 is still one of the highest-rated games released on PC and consoles. Give it a try.
The first title in the SoulsBorne series, which laid the foundation for the critically acclaimed Dark Souls series, is none other than Demon’s Souls.
The game has gotten a gorgeous and worthy remake by Bluepoint Games, but the remake is available only on PS5, and you will likely be using the service on your PS4.
Mass Effect 3
If you are a fan of playing space games, you definitely do not want to miss Mass Effect 3, but again, to understand what is going on, you will have to play prequels to the game.
If you have already, Mass Effect 3 is a worthy title to play on the service. The game was released on PS3 in 2012 and received universal acclaim upon release.
Hailed as one of the best FPS released in 2009, Killzone 2 was released with critical acclaim back in 2009 for the PS3. The game has an amazing soundtrack, visuals, and the atmosphere it featured.
Many fans consider Killzone 2 to be the better and worthy successor to the original Killzone.
inFamous 2 is an action-adventure game released for the PS3 in 2011 and was the sequel to the 2009 game infamous. The game was received with very positive reviews and great graphics and terrain design. It is a title that you should play on your PS4 via PS Now.
There are a lot of other notable titles that you can play on the PS4 via the PS Now subscription service, some of the game from the gigantic library includes:
- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series
- Tomb Raider 2013
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- Castlevania Lord of Shadows series
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Morrowind
- Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows
- Fallout 3
- Grand Theft Auto: IV
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
- Far Cry 3
- Dead Space 2
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
- BioShock 2
- Heavy Rain
- Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
- Diablo III
With hundreds of more titles that you can choose from.
Why Doesn’t The PS5 Have Backwards Compatibility?
PS5 does offer backward compatibility, and you can play your favorite titles from the PS4 on your newly released PS5.
Unlike the Xbox Series X|S, the compatibility is only supported for PS4, and it does not support the games released on older generations of the PlayStation family.
One of the major reasons that made Sony not waste their time on backward compatibility that despite looking like an attractive feature to have but will not be used by the majority of the players.
Unlike PS4, the PS5 will be able to run most of your PS4 games on the go. If you have the original discs, pop those inside your PS5, and you should be good to go.
Although the PS5 is not backward compatible with PS3 or PS2, you can still play these games via the PlayStation Now subscription service anytime.
Before the console’s release date, rumors suggested that the console will feature backward compatibility with PS2 and PS3 titles. However, after release, people realized that was not the case. Only PS4 titles are backward compatible with PS5.
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My Final Verdict:
PS3 was a great console from its generation, which was built on the cell architecture that was extremely powerful and was well ahead of its time.
Some people even claimed that the console could compete with the desktop CPU released in 2021 and even 2023.
Due to its complex nature, it was extremely difficult to develop games for the console, which hindered the true utilization of the system.
After realizing this fact, Sony ditched the cell architecture and embraced the x86 architecture to develop the PS4.
Due to the two different architectural natures of these consoles, bringing the backward compatibility was a huge challenge and would cost a lot of money for development, unlike Xbox One and Nintendo Wii.
Sony started working on their streaming service, and in 2014, released a fully developed version dubbed PlayStation Now to provide backward compatibility, in some way to PlayStation fans.
This feature would allow the PS4 user to download and sign in to the PlayStation Now app, login or sign up for a new account and get into any game from PS2 or PS3 in no time.
It could not be compared with the Xbox One backward compatibility, but it is something for the PS fans.
There are three packages that a user can choose from, monthly, three months, and a yearly subscription.
The best value for a person wanting to play a lot of PS3 titles would be, without a doubt, the yearly subscription. But if you plan to binge a few games, one monthly subscription is what you should get.
PlayStation Now cannot compete with Microsoft’s backward compatibility feature, but it does give something to the fans who wants to play a PS3 which they yearn to play when they did not have a PS3.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: Can you play PlayStation 3 games on a PlayStation 4?
Yes, you can play the PlayStation 3 game on a PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Now subscription service developed and launched by Sony for people who want to play games from the older generation of consoles on their PS4.
The PlayStation Now is a cloud game streaming service that offers three different packages from which you can choose: one month, three months, and yearly subscriptions are available.
Question 2: Can someone with a PS3 play with someone with a PS4?
No, since PS3 does not support crossplay, it is not possible to play from PS3 with someone on a PS4. PS4, on the contrary, does support crossplay with the same generation of consoles and PC.
A lot of games have released support for crossplay among the eighth-gen consoles and PC.
Question 3: Can you play PlayStation 3 games on a PlayStation 5?
You can play PlayStation 3 games on a PlayStation 5 via the PlayStation Now subscription service by Sony.
The service offers a huge library of games featuring titles from PS2 and PS3 that can be streamed or downloaded on PS4 or PS5 on the go.
Question 4: Can I transfer PS3 games to PS4?
If you have started a game on the PS3 via the PlayStation Now service and you canceled your subscription.
Next time you decide to play the same game via the service, your game will continue from the point where you left the game before canceling your subscription on PS Now.
If you want to transfer your games from the PS3 hard drive to the PS4 hard drive and then try to run the game, in this case, nothing will happen, and the PS4 will not recognize the PS3 files as game files to be able to run them.
Question 5: Is it still worth buying a PS3?
Absolutely, PS3 was built around the cell architecture, which was extremely powerful and well ahead of its time.
The exclusives released on the PS3 are still one of the best games you can play on any console and have a blast playing any critically acclaimed title.
If graphics are of your least concern and you prefer story and gameplay. PS3 is still a beast of a console that you can get for cheap.
Question 6: Does PS3 online still work 2023?
Yes, Sony still supports online for PlayStation 3, and you can play games with multiplayer whose servers are still running.
Most of the game servers have been shut down in 2018 and 2019, but servers of some games are still up and running. In 2023, you can still log in to your PS3 account and play an online game without any issues.
Question 7: Is PS3 store still open in 2023?
Yes, Sony, in a very recent article, announced that the players will still be able to access the PlayStation store on their PS3 or PSVita.
The company initially had plans to shut down the PlayStation Store for PS3 and PSVita but quickly changed its decisions.
The store will continue to operate for PS3 and PSVita until further notice. The store services for PSP will be shut down after July 2, 2021.
Question 8: Are PS3 games still being made?
The development for PS3 games is stopped a couple of years ago. The last game that was ever ported to a PlayStation 3 was FIFA 19, which was released for PS3 in September 2018.
No other game has been ported to the PlayStation 3 ever since, and for good reasons. It is highly unlikely any company will develop a PlayStation 3 title in the future or even now.