can ps4 play ps3 games

Can PS4 play PS3 games? Does PS4 play PS3 games? That’s the question many people have been asking for a while now, and guess what, we have the answer for you here.  

One of the main features of a gaming console is the backwards compatibility (when a console lets you play games from consoles in a previous generation).

If a console supports this then, it can let you combine your consoles, and save a lot of time instead of going back and forth to play certain games.

The PS2 did this for the PS1 games, and early versions of the PS3 were backwards compatible for PS2. But unfortunately, the PS4 does not have this feature for any PS3 games.

However, there are some ways you can play certain PS3 games on your PS4 and the best way is by using a service called PlayStation Now.

What is PlayStation Now?

It is a game-streaming service that lets you play PS3 games on PS4 over a Wi-Fi connection. It is a game subscription service that gives you access to over 700 games.

PlayStation Now is like the Netflix of gaming where you can play any game within the PlayStation Now library if you have speedy Wi-Fi.

The main advantage of this is that you won’t have to wait for the PS3 games to install or update as all the PlayStation Now games are stored in the online cloud.

You just need to download the PlayStation Now app from the PlayStation Network Store and ensure you have at least a 5Mbps or higher internet connection or better still, sign up for PlayStation Now.

How to sign up for PlayStation Now

It will make sense if you start with a free 7-day PlayStation Now trial and if you don’t cancel, it will then segue into a monthly plan. So ensure to cancel if you don’t like the experience, or go for the savings of the annual plan if you love it.

Visit the PlayStation Store HERE to start the trial but just make sure you have the right hardware before purchasing i.e. either a PS4 console itself or a PC that meets the following requirements:

  • Windows 7 (SP1), 8.1 or 10
  • Core i3 2.0 GHz
  • 300 MB memory
  • Sound Card
  • USB port

You will also need a Sony account to sign up for PlayStation Now.

How to Play PS3 games on your PS4

can PS3 play PS4 games

As earlier mentioned, the only way you can play PS3 games on your PS4 is via a Sony service known as PlayStation Now. A service that lets you download hundreds of games. It is also called a cloud gaming service.

With a PlayStation Now, you can download a game and then play directly from servers using an actual PS3 console and the game footage is streamed to your console as a video.

A subscription fee is required to use the PlayStation Now service. The PlayStation Now offers three subscription plans i.e. $19.99 per month, $44.99 every three months, and $99.99 per year. So, choose the plan that fits your budget.   

There are lots of PS3 games available on PlayStation Now as well as PS2 games to download. However, since it is a streaming service, games may get rotated out.

You can also buy games from the PlayStation store to download and play on your PS4. Sony has remastered lots of PS3 titles so that you can play them on the PS4.

Why Can’t PS3 Discs be played on PS4?

 PS3 discs cannot be played on PS4 because the PS4’s system architecture is greatly different from the PS3’s thus making the PlayStation 4 backwards compatibility nearly impossible. It does not have the hardware to run the games the way they are programmed.

Because of this, the only way a PlayStation 4 could play PlayStation 3 games is if they were emulated or if the system would have a program that could imitate how the PlayStation 3 runs, in order to play its games.

Sony chose a much easier route by remaking individual PS3 games like Skyrim, Dark Souls, BioShock, etc, so they could be played on a new console.

What PS3 games are available to play on PS4?

Now that you know the different ways you can play PS3 games on PS4, you need to know what PS3 games are available. Below is a compiled list of games you can either stream or have been remastered for the PlayStation 4 itself.

1. Dark Souls

can PS3 play PS4 games

A remastered version of the PS3 game Dark Souls was released in 2018. This version completely updates the graphics and frame-rate of the original, giving it a 1080p resolution at 60 fps, and the PS4 Pro version also allows for 4K gameplay.

Dark Souls became a classic on PlayStation 3, even though the PS4 is not backward compatible, you can still play this game updated for the PS4.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

can ps4 play ps3 games

Skyrim has become an extremely popular game since its release and it is hard to find a console that doesn’t have it. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition was released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2016.

On PlayStation 4, it completely updates the PlayStation 3 version of the game with a graphical upgrade and also includes all three of the original DLCs released. It lets you mod the game directly from the console.

3. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

can ps4 play ps3 games

Another game series that was popular on the PS3 was the uncharted trilogy. These games were full of action and a memorable storytelling. Fortunately, all three games were remastered for the PlayStation 4 so that you can enjoy the trilogy in its entirety with next-gen updates.

Uncharted trilogy has been redesigned to run at 1080p and at 60fps, and several other graphics upgrades.

Whether you’ve already played these games in their PS3 release or want to try them out for the first time, the remastered PS4 release will be satisfactory.

4. The Last of Us

can ps4 play ps3 games

When this game was released, it instantly became a hit on the PS3. With its stunning visuals, emotional story, and engaging gameplay, The Last of Us is definitely a game people would want to play on an updated console.  

The Last of Us remastered version for the PS4 was released in 2014 and includes graphics updates, faster frame-rates, and also let those with a PS4 pro play it in 4K.

Other PS3 games you can play on PS4 are:

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Arkham Origins
  • Sonic Generations
  • F.E.A.R
  • BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite
  • The Lego Movie Videogame
  • Lost Planet 2
  • inFamous
  • God of War Ascension
  • Borderlands, Borderlands 2
  • Killzone 2, Killzone 3
  • Dead Island, Dead Island Riptide
  • NBA 2K14
  • Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition
  • Saints Row 2, Saints Row The Third, Saints Row 4
  • Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, Ratchet & Clank Nexus


Certainly, the question “can PS4 play PS3 games” have been answered in this post. I’m sure you now know that the only way you can play PS3 games on PS4 is via the Sony service known as PlayStation Now since the PS4 does not have the backward compatibility feature.

All you’ll need to access games on PlayStation Now is a PlayStation Now Network account with registered payment details, a DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller, an active PlayStation Now Subscription, or a seven-day free trial, and an active broadband connection of at least 5mbps or higher.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is PlayStation Now Available?

PS Now is currently available in 19 countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the USA.

Can I play the PlayStation Now games on multiple devices?

Yes, and you can do that by signing in to PlayStation Now with your PlayStation Now account on a different console or PC – This will give you access to your PlayStation Now games as well as your saved game progress from games you have streamed.

Will I earn trophies from PlayStation Now games?

Yes, you will earn trophies from PlayStation Now games. PlayStation Now games have the same Trophy support as if the games were played from disc or download. The trophies will unlock as you play and will sync to your PlayStation Now account as well as will appear in your activity feed to be seen by other players on the PS4 dashboard.

What kind of controller do I need to play PlayStation Now games on PC?

You can use any DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller with PS Now on PC, connected through a USB cable.

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