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The 10 Best PS3 Emulators

Fans have been awaiting the ability to play emulated PlayStation 3 games for a long time now, but it looks like there has finally been a breakthrough in the technology.

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The Best PS3 Emulators

What are the best PS3 Emulators?

The PlayStation 3 was first released in 2006 and competed primarily against the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.

While it had a long run, it was discontinued in 2016 in North America and replaced by the PS4, though fans still hold the console in high regard today.

Fortunately, thanks to emulators, fans of this console can still play their favorite games on a wide variety of platforms, and you’ll find all of the details you need to know listed below.

 

The 10 Best PS3 Emulators

We chose each of these PS3 emulators for their performance and for the variety of games they can run, and we’ll provide all the details you need to know about each. This way, you can easily pick the one that is right for you!

Here’s our list of the 10 best PS3 emulators:

 

10. SNES9x

This Super Nintendo Entertainment emulator was the first to run PS3 games in Windows 7, and it is one of the best PS3 emulators for PC if you are using an older model and running an older operating system.

While this emulator can only play a limited number of PlayStation games and lacks customization options that other emulators on our list can provide, it shouldn’t be written off.

The games that it does support run very well and its simple interface makes it easy for anyone to install and use.

The SNES9x is available for Windows PCs and macOS-X completely free of charge, so there is no risk in downloading it and trying it out for yourself.

 

9. BizHawk

Along with being one of the best Sega Saturn emulators, Bizhawk is also one of the best PS3 emulators you can download.

This multi-system emulator is designed to support smooth gameplay and comes with tools to assist speedrunners.

Bizhawk has a lot of customization features, including Hotkey mapping, game recording, slow-down features, full-screen support, and more.

It also supports a huge number of consoles, including the Nintendo 64, NES, SNES, PS1, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, Neo Geo, and more.

The simple user interface also makes it easy to use, even if you have never used an emulator before and are unfamiliar with how they work.

For everything it offers, Bizhawk is a great PS3 emulator for both beginners and pros who want to get a solid gaming experience with a lot of extra customization features.

 

8. New PS3 Emulator

The New PS3 Emulator may have one of the most boring names on our list, but don’t let that fool you.

This emulator can run more than 90% of all PS3 games with good quality sound and speed on any of your Android devices.

It even has a split-screen mode, so you can play with friends.

Moreover, it doesn’t just play games for the PS3, but it can also emulate PSX and PSOne games.

However, you will need to have the latest version of Android installed on your device, meaning you won’t be able to use older models to run this emulator.

You will also need to download the app manually since it isn’t available on the Google Play Store.

While this is an extra step, the process isn’t difficult and it is worth it for all of the features this emulator provides, such as gamepad support, save states, virtual keypads, and more.

 

7. PPSSPP

The PPSSPP is another PS3 emulator for Android devices, and it also plays PS2 and PSP games as well.

Optimized for mobile devices, this emulator provides very smooth gameplay with very minimal lag.

This emulator also comes with several great features like anisotropic filtering, texture scaling, HD resolutions, on-screen touch controls, and external controller support.

You can even take your save games from your console and import them to this emulator to pick up right where you left off!

Additionally, the PPSSPP can be downloaded right from the Google Play Store, so you can easily download it without having to side-load it from a third-party site.

It is also being frequently updated and maintained, so you won’t have to worry about it falling behind other emulators, since it only stands to receive more beneficial updates in the future.

Although it was designed primarily as a PSP emulator and stands out as one of the best PSP emulators of all time, the PPSSPP runs PS3 games beautifully and is a great choice for Android smartphones and other devices.

For gamers who want to play not just PS3 games, but most PlayStation games spanning the different consoles, this is one emulator to seriously consider downloading.

 

6. PSeMu3

 The PSeMu3 is widely known to gamers who frequently use emulators, and it is regularly considered to be one of the best for Windows PC.

With this emulator, you can play games with remarkably high quality, even the best PS1 games ever created, and some of the best PS2 titles.

What makes this PS3 emulator stand out so much is its incredible ease of use which requires users to simply drag and drop the game they want to play into the program. PSeMu3 automatically detects disk images in ISO format and starts them automatically.

If you have a Blu-Ray compatible PC, you can even put the game in manually and select the drive to open the file.

Gamers don’t have to have a lot of technical knowledge to make this emulator work, and downloading is just as simple as getting a game started.

Plus, this emulator is incredibly stable and completely free, so you have nothing to lose by downloading it and giving it a try for yourself.

 

5. ESX PS3

Unlike many of these other emulators that run PS3 games along with games from other consoles, the ESX PS3 was designed specifically for PlayStation 3 games.

Because of this, it has become a favorite for many gamers who want to play their favorite PS3 games with native graphics and seamless gameplay.

That said, it will require a moderately powerful PC in order to use, with at least Windows 7 and an AMD 8-core or NVIDIA GTX 660 processor or greater. Users should also have at least 2GB of RAM to ensure smooth gameplay.

If you have a PC that meets these system requirements, you can download this emulator for free and take advantage of its intuitive user interface and the huge number of compatible games.

Best of all, this PS3 emulator is being updated often, so you can expect any bugs to be patched and for even more new features to be released in the future to make your console games run even better.

To give you an idea of how many PS3 games this emulator can run, you can check out the ESX compatibility list that shows which games are playable and which have known bugs.

If you want an all-around solid emulator specifically designed to run PS3 games with native graphics the way they were meant, the ESX PS3 is one of the best you can find today.

 

4. PlayStation Now

If you’re familiar with PlayStation Now, you’re probably wondering why it made our list, since it is not exactly an emulator as most people think of them.

However, it is one of the best ways to play PS3 games on your computer.

While it doesn’t work with many operating systems, such as the Mac or Linux operating systems, for Windows users who don’t mind a subscription, it is definitely worth considering.

The way PlayStation Now works is by giving subscribers access to hundreds of PS4, PS3, and PS2 games to either download or stream to their computers.

You can easily save your progress and switch between your consoles and computer to play games seamlessly, and online multiplayer is included as well.

New games are added every month to keep things fresh, and it helps remove the struggle of trying to find legal ROMS that can sometimes make traditional emulators difficult to use.

That said, PlayStation now is similar to the Xbox Game Pass, in that users have to pay a monthly subscription price of $9.99, though there are other bundle options such as a three-month package for $24.99.

This can be a turn-off for some gamers, but it is worth knowing about if you want to play great PS3 games and have access to some of the best PS4 games to play right now both on your consoles and computer.

 

3. Mednafen

Kicking off our top three is one of the most popular PS3 emulators on the market, despite only being released in 2018.

With a stable, sleek build and extremely accurate emulation, Mednafen is both easy to use and amazing for gameplay.

This PS3 emulator also doesn’t require a lot of memory and it can be customized to play even demanding games on many operating systems without needing high-end system requirements.

In addition to being a great PS3 emulator, Mednafen is also one of the best Neo Geo emulators, which is a boon for gamers who also like to play retro games.

Along with its fantastic emulation capabilities, Mednafen also has a lot of customization options like save states, custom button mapping, screen capture, and network play.

All of these features, coupled with Mednafen’s amazing emulation make it one of the best you can download for the PC.

 

2. RetroArch

RetroArch is one of the best PS2 emulators of all time, but it also works as an amazing PS3 emulator.

This emulator has been a staple in the emulation community since it was released in 2010 with a focus on the SNES. However, it soon moved on to adding other consoles, the PS3 included, and it is still being updated and maintained today.

Along with being able to run games from all different consoles, RetroArch is also available on almost every platform you can think of, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android, and iOS.

In terms of customization, users can create their own themes and personalize the interface to be exactly what they need.

Playing games is also really easy, as all you need to do is download the ‘core’ for the console you want to run and select the folder of the ROM you want to play.

RetroArch will automatically detect the core needed to run it, and so long as the proper core is installed, your game will launch!

Furthermore, this emulator also has numerous other amazing features, such as auto-controller detection, custom shaders, cheats, net play, recording, streaming, and more.

There is a lot to take in when you download this emulator, but fortunately, there is no shortage of how-to guides for RetroArch, to help you understand everything you need to know.

 

1. RPCS3

Taking our number one spot is the RPCS3, the most trusted and reliable Ps3 emulator you can download.

While it is technically still labeled as a work in progress, it aims to replicate the experience of playing PS3 games flawlessly, and so far it does exactly that.

Because this is an open-source emulator, it is being continuously updated and supported by the community, and with so many people working on it, updates and bug fixes come much faster.

If that wasn’t enough, this emulator is also supported on Patreon, and two full-time developers are continuously working on making it better and better.

Even most of the best Nintendo Switch emulators don’t have this level of support, which helps to make the RPCS3 even more impressive.

Additionally, the entire emulator is completely free, despite having professional-level development and support that makes it seem like an official Sony product.

Although this open-source emulator is only available for Windows and macOS, it is the best for replicating the PS3 experience and we highly recommend giving it a try!

 

Summary

If you love PS3 games as much as we do, we hope this list has helped you to find the best emulator for you!

Although all of these emulators have their own pros and cons, some may work better than others for specific gaming needs, but you really can’t go wrong trying them all!

Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best PS3 emulators:

  1. RPCS3
  2. RetroArch
  3. Mednafen
  4. PlayStation Now
  5. ESX PS3
  6. PSeMu3
  7. PPSSPP
  8. New PS3 Emulator
  9. BizHawk
  10. SNES9x

What’s the best PS3 emulator, in your opinion? Leave a comment below. 

Shawna Schofield is a professional freelance writer and part-time YouTuber. When not writing or recording she spends her time playing Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Dragon Age.

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