PlayStation has been increasingly popular since Sony Computer Entertainment released the original console at the end of 1994 (3rd December to be exact).
Developers and enthusiasts have been trying to create emulators of the various Playstation consoles (specifically PS2, PS3, PS4) so PC gamers can get in on the action without having to defy their love of computers by purchasing an actual games console.
In this article we’ll discuss and describe the various legitimate Playstation emulators for PC computers that are available online so that you can decide which one to install and experiment with on your PC system.
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What are PS2/PS3/PS4 Emulators for PC?
The answer is incredibly simple (and if you’re reading this, you probably know what it is already but please forgive us).
A PS2, PS3 or PS4 emulator is a software program that allows the host computer system (in this case, a Windows PC) to behave like another one (in this case, a PS2, PS3 or PS4 game console respectively). An easy to understand concept, right?
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the best legit PlayStation emulators for PC (in our humble opinion)!
The Best Legit PlayStation Emulators for PC
Like with everything in life nowadays, everyone claims to make a better version of their competitors’ product.
PlayStation emulators are no different. However, it is not an easy task to emulate a Playstation console on a PC. That’s why you will not find many options online and most of them are experimental in nature.
At the time of this writing, there are not many legitimate emulators for PlayStation, and also there is an option which is a total scam (see PCSX4 which claims to be a working emulator for Playstation 4 but it is actually a scam, so do not download this one).
Thankfully, we’re here to tell you which ones are worth it.
Since the PS4 console is the newest, we thought it would be a good place to start.
When it comes to PS4 emulators, many are considered scams or are shunned by the majority of people. Orbital is different in this aspect as it is completely accepted as genuine across the globe.
At the moment, it is still being developed but you can become a Patreon (click above) to fund the project. Since it’s an open-source project, all the resources are given back to the community which is pretty sweet.
It’s a low-level virtualisation programme at the moment which emulates the console’s OS but not the entire CPU. Plus, it can only be used on high-end, powerful Windows and Linux computers. Also, MacOS will be supported as well.
Currently, the project (under development) requires the following computer specs:
- Windows 7 and higher
- Linux 4.4 and higher
- MacOS 10 and higher
- RAM: 12GB
- GPU with support of Vulkan 1.0+.
Currently, this program is closed (i.e. unavailable). However, the developers (Ghaststeam) are looking to bring it back nonetheless.
It did launch in 2014 where it worked on Windows 8 and later. However, you would need to have the following for it to work properly:
- Pixel Shader
- RAM = 2GB minimum
- AMD/NVidia GPU
Honestly, we wish we could tell you more about its relaunch but concrete information on the application is yet to be released. For those that want to stay updated, just click here.
Before PS4, there was the delightful PS3. To this day, some people still love to play their much-loved games on this console.
So, it comes as no surprise to us that we have also developers who managed to create a legit PS3 emulator, which currently is the only one available.
Much like Orbital, RPCS3 is an open-source and legitimate Playstation emulator. This means that any developer can join the project and help it to progress.
It is quite the software! The creators have ensured their PlayStation 3 emulator and debugger works on Windows, Linux and BSD. Plus, it has had a variety of reviews published stating how amazing the graphics are.
Currently, you can play more than 1800 PS3 games on RPCS3 and many more with some glitches.
Here is the compatibility page to have a look which games can be played.
There are 2 key developers (Nekotekina and kd-11) that are working on this emulator full-time thanks to their Patreon supporters. This allows them to ensure they succeed and be the number one choice on everybody’s lips when PS3 emulators come to mind.
The recommended specs for playing games using this emulator are the following:
- Intel CPU (4-cores with HyperThreading or 6-cores and up)
- AMD CPU (6-core with SMT or 8-cores and up)
- GPU: Modern AMD or NVIDIA (compatible with Vulkan)
- RAM: 8GB
At the end of the day, everyone loves the PlayStation 2 console, regardless of how old it becomes. So, let’s discuss the emulator to end all emulators.
PCSX2 is a popular and legitimate Playstation 2 emulator for PC which is under active development.
With this emulator, you can set your own resolutions to give your PS2 games a new, high definition look that you can’t get when using the original console (up to 4096×4096 is supported).
Plus, there are numerous save states and unlimited memory cards so you can reload efficiently. Not to mention that you can use any controller, as long as it works with your windows PC.
Where are the downsides? Well, sadly it’s quite confusing to set up. Although the developers have tried to make it as user friendly as possible, there are a lot of steps in their “how do I use it?” section.
The recommended specs for using PCSX2 on your computer system are:
- OS: Windows 10 (64bit), Ubuntu 19 or newer, Arch Linux or other distro (64bit)
- CPU: 4-cores
- GPU: 4GB memory, Direct3D11 support, OpenGL 4.5 support
- RAM: 8GB
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