PlayStation’s expanded PS Plus Premium subscription won’t allow for local emulation of PS3 games, to the disappointment – if not the surprise – of many fans of PlayStation legacy games.
Reactions to the value of the subscription, particularly the higher tiers which bundle in functions previously tied to PlayStation Now with access to a retro catalog which is still to be detailed, have been mixed overall. However, the limited options for PS3 games have become an especially common sticking point.
PS3 games were previously only streamable via PlayStation Now, so it’s not that anything has changed or necessarily gotten worse, but some PlayStation and emulation fans were understandably discouraged to learn that PS Plus Premium won’t improve access to PS3 games. Local emulation remains a popular request, both for the improved performance over streaming and the ownership, or at least the perceived digital ownership, tied to it.
This isn’t the first time Sony’s dodged proper PS3 emulation, even as PC emulators continue to improve – now with Steam Deck support, no less – and the company’s track record doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Unsurprisingly, many of the more widely shared and echoed responses to the new PS Plus share the same message: the PS3’s infamous Cell processor is an Eldritch abomination beyond the realm of mortal science.
i do like that the PS3 was so fucked up that Sony has given up on figuring out on how to make those games run on modern hardware. a whole generation of games regulated to cloud streaming because we cant figure out how to emulate our own console.March 29, 2022
$120 a year for classic games and still no native PS3 pic.twitter.com/eaClgyVbBNMarch 29, 2022
PlayStation tinkerer and well-known Dark Souls sleuth Lance McDonald argued (opens in new tab) that PS Plus Premium delivers needlessly restricted forms of emulation where it offers anything at all, with the retro PlayStation games you may already own notably unavailable without a new purchase.
John Linneman of Digital Foundry pointed out (opens in new tab) that, in addition to the lasers needed to read older discs, the PS5 faces performance bottlenecks (opens in new tab) which preclude the standard versions of popular PS3 emulators like RPCS3, but acknowledged that a workable solution is at least “feasible.” Of course, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Sony will pursue or integrate full-fat PS3 emulation in its plans for the PlayStation ecosystem, much to the dismay of legacy fans and game preservationists.
It’s worth remembering that Sony previously planned to shut down the PS3 and PS Vita stores in the not-so-distant future but reversed course following considerable blowback. For now though, check your cupboards for the most valuable PS3 games.