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It's an old question that if often brought to mind by newcomers to the close - can my PS4 play PS1, PS2 or PS3 games? Well, this guide on PS4 backwards compatibility will give you all of the necessary information to understand the ins and outs. Let's begin.

Of course, the question that gamers will forever ask about their favorite console.

We always want to play all of our games on one console. Our primary gaming tool, our newest addition to the family. So, just how do you utilize the feature available on your PS4? It isn’t easy and this is the biggest complaint from PS4 users. They want to play their old games! On their favorite console! 

So, can you play PS3 discs?

Unfortunately, no, the systems just aren’t compatible. Neither can you download PS3 games at this time. But we are hoping this is about to change. It takes a lot of power and money to manipulate the PS4 system to play PS3 titles. Sony wants to do this for fans, but it is quite the investment and takes a lot of work. This said, we are still counting on Sony to make it happen. 

Can you play ANY PS3 games in any way?

Simple answer is yes. If you haven’t heard of PlayStation Now, look into it. It is a backwards streaming subscription that allows you to play select titles on your PS4. It currently costs $99.99 a year. That is an easy $8.33 a month. Easily affordable. Take a look at the list of games you can play! The only bad thing is, you need a strong internet connection. Thankfully, most gamers will automatically have acquired this at an earlier time. But for those who haven’t, they are going to need to now. Remember this is a streaming service; you are playing the games live via the PlayStation servers. If you aren’t sure if you like it, then try a free trial today. 

What about PS1?

Keep in mind that the original PlayStation is now over twenty years old as it was released in 1994. It takes a lot of times and effort to bring those titles to the 2010s. But for those of you wishing to play the classics, we have hope that they too will be available on an emulator or via PlayStation Now in the future. 

The Competition

Sadly for Sony, Xbox One has created a built-in emulator so players can insert the discs of their Xbox 360 for easy play. This gives the Xbox one over on PlayStation. But backwards compatibility for the Microsoft consoles was much easier and cheaper. It is simply fans that expect Sony to perform the same tasks with more money, power, and difficulty. They can do it, but it will take time. 

But why? Why can’t we play our PS3 game discs?

As I said, for one, it will take a lot of money and hard work. Sony would have to completely recreate the games due to the architectural structure differences in the two consoles. The PS3 games will takes ten times more power to play than normal. Sony says that the PS4 can do this, but it will not be easy and it will take time and effort to reprogram the games. PlayStation consoles are extremely complex. 

Can you play PS2 games?

This is where Sony got it right. At this time there is only a small pool available on this PS2 emulator for PS4. But if they can make one game available, in time, they can create an emulated game for them all. 

What is the current list of PS2 games available?

If you don’t want to research yourself or click on links, this is what is currently available (from the date this guide was published):

ADK Damashii   

Ape Escape 2     

Ape Escape 3     

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits            


Dark Chronicle  

Dark Cloud         

Destroy All Humans!      

Destroy All Humans! 2   



Fu'un Super Combo        

Grand Theft Auto III       

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City         

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland          

Hot Shots Tennis              


The King of Fighters 2000             

Legaia 2: Duel Saga       


The Mark of Kri 

Max Payne        

Metal Slug Anthology   

MX vs. ATV: Unleashed 

MX vs. ATV: Untamed   

Okage: Shadow King     

PaRappa the Rapper 2   


Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Red Dead Revolver          

Red Faction       

Red Faction II    

Rise of the Kasai              

Rogue Galaxy

Samurai Shodown VI     


Star Wars: Bounty Hunter

Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter

Star Wars: Racer Revenge

Twisted Metal: Black      

War of the Monsters     

The Warriors

Wild Arms 3

And there you have it; a breakdown of just how the backwards compatibility for PS4 works and how you can use it. Keep an eye out for further news and updates on the subject. Who knows, maybe 2017 will hold much more than expected when it comes to Sony games and consoles.

About Emily Medlock

Emily Medlock is an avid gamer whose passions not only include video games of all kinds, but anime, music, movies, and reading.

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