Sony’s PlayStation 3 was the best console of its time. It had high-powered graphics and was the first to use Blu-ray discs to store and load games. However, Sony eventually released the PlayStation 4 and 5, with better graphics and more power better suited for modern standards. While the PlayStation 3 is no longer produced, you can still gain access to its rich library of games through emulation. Pick out the best PS3 emulator for your needs from our list of 13 below:
13 Best PS3 Emulators in 2021
BizHawk is undoubtedly one of the most popular PS3 emulators available. It not only works as a PS3 emulator but also as an emulator for other consoles as well. These include the Super Nintendo, Super Famicom, and the Virtual Boy. This quality makes it an all-in-one emulator if you get tired of PS3 games and want a change of pace. However, BizHawk’s versatility doesn’t stop there.
That’s because BizHawk also has great features that are absent from other emulators. For example, it supports hotkey mapping so that players can comfortably customize some controls. Moreover, it supports multiple gaming systems, even Apple.
2. EmuPs3-Ps3 Emulator Project
EmuPs3-Ps3 Emulator isn’t exactly one of the most polished PS3 emulator apps on the Play Store. In fact, it’s still in early access, although it’s free to download on Android devices. With it, the developers aim to create a high-performance experience on Android phones.
However, the downside is that the EmuPs3-Ps3 Emulator doesn’t come with pre-loaded games. Hence, you’ll have to look for the game ROMs before you can actually start playing. Moreover, since it’s still in early development, it’ll likely have more bugs and issues. There’s also the issue of numerous ads that can be intrusive and tedious to deal with.
Nonetheless, it’s a decent PS3 emulator, especially because it supports multiple file types. These include .bin, zip, .cbn, 7z, .img, and more. If you want to try playing PS3 games on Android, it’s worth a shot if the others don’t work.
Many developers and passionate console fans develop emulators for Windows. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any PS3 emulators that can run on Linux or macOS. In fact, EPSXE is one such PS3 emulator that’s versatile enough to run on all three operating systems.
Furthermore, it’s even compatible with Android devices, making it the top choice if you use multiple platforms. Of course, it was a little troubling that EPSXE was temporarily removed from the Google Play Store. However, it has since returned and is now freely downloadable.
In terms of system requirements, EPSXE doesn’t demand too much. It requires at least 2 GB of RAM to work on desktop computers. Moreover, it can still run even on less powerful machines.
4. ESX PS3
Another decent PS3 emulator on this list is ESX PS3. It’s a good enough choice if you play on your PC. However, it does have some quirks here and there because not all games can run on it.
Nonetheless, ESX is decent and can run exclusive games at native graphics. Moreover, it’s capable enough to run these without issues — but you’d need a powerful rig to do so. Specifically, you’ll need at least a 2.5 GHz CPU and 1 GB of RAM for it to run. However, we recommend a 3.2 GHz CPU and 2 to 4 GB of RAM for best performance.
ESX only works with Windows 7 or later.
Mednafen is one of the most credible PS3 emulator programs despite being released only recently in 2018. That is, in part, due to its popularity in the emulator development community. However, its popularity isn’t undeserved, considering its build and emulation are outstanding.
In terms of the user interface, Mednafen is intuitive and easy to comprehend. Furthermore, its settings are simple and effective. You can personalize settings however you want which ensures players that they’re getting the best experience out of an emulator.
Mednafen can also emulate multiple other consoles apart from the PS3. It’s also compatible with Windows and Linux devices, making it incredibly versatile. In addition, it delivers excellent performance and video/audio output.
6. New PS3 Emulator
New PS3 Emulator might have a generic-sounding name, but it’s still a decent PS3 emulator for Android. It can run over 90% of PS3 games with accurate sound, fair speed, and even has a split-screen mode.
In addition, it not only runs PS3 games but also PSOne and PSX games. However, there is a catch, and that is that it requires powerful processors to run. It also requires the latest Android version, so you can’t run it on older models. Moreover, it’s not available on the Google Play Store, so you have to side-load the app manually.
Nonetheless, it’s a good enough choice, especially since it supports multiple file types. Moreover, it’s also versatile because of its many features. These include support for a gamepad, a virtual keypad, save states, and more.
7. PlayStation Now
PlayStation Now might not be a PS3 emulator per se. However, it does the job well and is one of the easiest ways to play PS3 titles.
If you’re unfamiliar, PlayStation Now is a cloud-based gaming service that comes with a subscription fee. Once you’ve subscribed to the service, you can play titles from older PlayStation consoles like the PS2, PS3, and PS4.
In addition, PlayStation Now is also streamable on Windows PCs that run on Windows 7 or later. However, you will need a DualShock 3, 4, or Xbox controller if you want to use it. It also requires a stable internet connection of at least 5 Mbps. Nonetheless, it’s one of the best choices, especially if you don’t want the headache of downloading a shady emulator.
Another one of the best PS3 emulator apps for Android is PPSSPP. It’s a popular emulator that’s not only suitable for PS3 emulation but PS2 and PSP as well. In fact, it’s mainly a PSP emulator, so it’s optimized for portable mobile devices.
Overall, PPSSPP provides decent and smooth gameplay for many of your favorite titles. However, it does lag occasionally, but it’s pretty bearable nonetheless. Moreover, it’s free and has control mapping, so it should be easy enough to install and use. In addition, it’s available on the Google Play Store so you don’t need to side-load anything to use it.
However, the catch is that PPSSPP doesn’t have any games pre-included. Hence, you’d have to look for the files of the games you want yourself. Otherwise, it’s a solid choice, especially if you want something reputable and cheap.
PSeMu3 is one of the most well-known and widely regarded PS3 emulator programs. That’s because it has a wide set of compatibility ranges, whether in terms of OS or hardware. For instance, it only requires 50 MB to install on your system. Moreover, it can run nearly flawlessly on a Core 2 Duo Processor.
Apart from these, PSeMu3 also comes with some useful features like adjustable local settings. Moreover, it also provides an excellent gameplay experience and is free to download. As a result, it’s highly recommended by many in the emulation community. If you’re looking for something lightweight and easy to use, PSeMu3 is one of the top choices.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to call RetroArch the best PS3 emulator for PC. That’s because it’s not only powerful but also versatile and multifunctional. RetroArch is a staple in the emulation community — and that isn’t without precedent.
That’s because RetroArch runs on nearly all operating systems you can think of. These include Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and even iOS. Hence, you can be satisfied regardless of which device or system you use.
Moreover, RetroArch is so widely available and accessible that anyone can easily install it. You wouldn’t even have a hard time because it’s readily available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
In addition, it emulates not only the PS3 but other consoles as well. You can also easily join or host gaming networks online. Moreover, it even provides useful tools for streaming and recording. Lastly, its user interface is also top tier, so you’ll surely be satisfied with RetroArch overall.
If you’re looking for a reputable PS3 emulator, RPCS3 is as good as it gets. That’s because it has been a mainstay in the PS3 emulation community.
RPCS3 has an intuitive user interface that’s easy to navigate. Moreover, it’s compatible with BSD and Linux. It’s also very flexible in terms of system requirements despite being powerful. However, you do need at least 4 GB of RAM to use it properly.
RPCS3 is also one of the less sketchy PS3 emulator programs on this list. It’s listed under the General Public License Version 2, so your device is guaranteed security. Lastly, RPCS3’s developers constantly support it by releasing regular updates and patches.
The SNES9x was originally intended to provide Windows 7 users access to PlayStation 3 games. However, it’s more commonly used to emulate Super Famicom Nintendo games. Nonetheless, it’s a decent PS3 emulator, especially if you aren’t planning on updating from Windows 7.
Like other emulators on this list, the SNES9x is free to download and use. However, it does provide limited performance compared to the alternatives. Moreover, it can also only support a limited number of games.
13. Vortex Cloud Gaming
Vortex Cloud Gaming isn’t a regular PS3 emulator like the alternatives on this list. However, it does provide similar features through its cloud-based game streaming platform. Like PlayStation Now, Vortex Cloud Gaming offers players access to PS3 games without using a separate emulator. Moreover, it’s based on mobile devices so you can take it with you anywhere. However, it isn’t free and you have to pay a subscription fee of $9.99 monthly.
There are several PS3 emulators that you can find for any platform. Whether you’re running Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, or iOS, there’s bound to be one for your needs.