PlayStation 3 emulators

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Revision as of 11:20, 7 December 2018 by (talk) (References: removed very early emulation category.)
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PlayStation 3
PS3 Original.png
Developer Sony
Type Home video game console
Generation Seventh generation
Release date 2006
Discontinued 2017
Predecessor PlayStation 2
Successor PlayStation 4
Emulated ~
The original PlayStation logo at launch.
The PlayStation 3 slim console

The PlayStation 3 (known shorthand as PS3) is a seventh-generation video game console by Sony released in 2006. This console was considered hard to program for early in its lifecycle due to the newly-introduced Cell Broadband Engine architecture that no game developer outside of Sony had worked with prior to launch. Because of this, many multiplatform games ran worse or had worse graphics on the PS3, despite it being the more powerful system.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Release Version Active Recommended
RPCS3 Windows, Linux, BSD 0.0.5 Alpha[N 1]
Nucleus Windows, Linux 0.1.0
Short Waves Windows 0.0.2
  1. The developers are currently treating version increments as milestones, not as stables.


It has made immense progress compared to its early days where development was slow and seemed like it wasn't really going anywhere. Over 1,000 titles are now playable, with many more that go in-game and others that are at least loadable.[1]
A one-man project aiming for LLE, some AOT emulation, and portability. Made by AlexAltea, lead coder of PlayStation 4 emulator, Orbital.
Short Waves
Made by an unknown developer. It could run a few complex tests that RPCS3 couldn't at the time it released, but it hasn't been updated since.

Emulation issues

The complexity of the Cell processor architecture, plus the fact that it would take significantly more resources to get such games emulated (in comparison, see specifications in Dolphin and PCSX2 for their respective consoles), makes emulating and running games a challenge. It is for that 'unfortunate' choice of using the Cell CPU in the console that even Sony couldn't emulate the PS3 games in their succeeding console, the PS4 when rival Microsoft could do so with their original Xbox and equal competitor, Xbox 360, for the Xbox One. And add on top of that the need to emulate Nvidia's RSX (Reality Synthesizer) GPU which was managed by two different memory units with very disparate frequency speeds - 1) 256 MB GDDR3 RAM clocked at 650 MHz with an effective transmission rate of 1.4 GHz, and 2) up to 224 MB of the 3.2 GHz XDR main memory via the CPU (480 MB max). Expect game-breaking issues of one kind or another in the vast majority of titles at this point in time.

PlayStation Move

The PlayStation Move is a controller similar to a Wiimote, shaped to be held into hand and play with motion detection. It is detected by the PSEye which is the successor of the EyeToy but for the PS3. The PSEye is usable on PC as it benefits from unofficial drivers made by the comunnity. It is not yet implemented in a PS3 emulator. RPCS3 had some first steps implemented for PSMove use but the controllers aren't working yet.

The author of this preliminary implementation, velocityra, is a dedicated developer for RPCS3 and Vita3K. In his own branch of the PSMove that is further advanced, the PSEye and PSMove controllers are already physically supported using the PSMoveAPI. A pretty old compatibility list can be found here. Some Youtube videos[2] are also showing the work-in-progress functionality working.

Unfortunately the author stopped working on this implementation a few months ago.