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How to Play PS3 Games on PC with RPCS3

Emulating the PS3 on a PC was once thought to be impossible, due to the console’s complicated architecture. But thanks to RPCS3, you can easily play PS3 games on your PC.

System Requirements

Before you start, you’ll need to make sure your PC is up to the task of running RPCS3.

Although you can run RPCS3 with the bare minimum hardware requirements, users should run it within the development team’s recommended requirements for the best experience. (See table below.)

Device Type Operating System CPU Graphics Card RAM Storage
Windows Desktop Windows 10 22H2 or later, Windows 11 22H2 or later AMD – 6 cores and 12 threads or more,
AMD Zen 2 architecture or newer
Intel – 6 cores and 12 threads, 8 cores or more,
Intel Skylake architecture or newer
AMD Vulkan compatible with active driver support,
AMD Polaris architecture, RX 400 series or newer,
NVIDIA Vulkan compatible with active driver support,
NVIDIA Maxwell architecture GTX 900 series or newer
8 GB of dual-channel RAM or more SSD storage for emulator data, SSD or HDD storage for games
Mac Desktop macOS 12.6+, 13.0+, 14.3+ or later 8 cores or greater Radeon dGPU with 2GB of VRAM or greater and Vulkan compatibility (Intel CPU Macs only) 16GB of RAM/Unified RAM or greater SSD storage for emulator data, SSD or HDD storage for games
Linux Desktop Linux 6.5, 6.1 (LTS) or later See Windows Desktop See Windows Desktop See Windows Desktop SSD storage for emulator data, SSD or HDD storage for games
Intel Laptop Windows 10 22H2 or later, Windows 11 22H2 or later AMD – 6 cores and 12 threads or more,
AMD Zen 2 architecture or newer
Intel – 6 cores and 12 threads, 8 cores or more
Intel Skylake architecture or newer
Dedicated graphics card with Vulkan compatibility and 4GB of VRAM or greater 16GB RAM or greater SSD storage for emulator data, SSD or HDD storage for games
AMD Laptop Windows 10 22H2 or later, Windows 11 22H2 or later 8 cores and 16 threads or greater See Intel Laptop See Intel Laptop SSD storage for emulator data, SSD or HDD storage for games
Handhelds See Windows, Linux 8 cores and 16 threads or greater APU/SOC GPU with Vulkan compatibility 16GB of RAM or greater SSD storage for emulator data, SSD or HDD storage for games

Download and Install RPCS3

Visit RPCS3’s official site, and download the emulator for your operating system. This guide shows how to set up RPCS3 in Windows, but the process is similar for all supported operating systems.

The Windows version is available as a ZIP archive. Extract the downloaded archive, and run the rpcs3.exe file.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Run Executable

Download the PlayStation 3 Firmware

RPCS3 emulates the PlayStation 3’s hardware, but you will need to download Sony’s official PS3 firmware from the official PlayStation site to run games or apps.

Rpcs3 Support

On the Sony PlayStation homepage, click on Support, then select the Support button from the drop-down menu.

Rpcs3 Ps Support

On the PlayStation support page, click the Hardware & Repairs button.

Rpcs3 Hardware Repairs

Click the PlayStation 3 button.

Rpcs3 System Software Update

Click on System software update -> PS3 System update.

Rpcs3 System Software Update 2

Right-click the Download PS3 Update button, and select Save As.

Rpcs3 System Update 489

In the dialog box, choose the location for the PS3 system update file download. Return to the RPCS3 emulator. Click on File in the menu bar at the top, and select Install Firmware.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Install Firmware

Point RPCS3 to the PlayStation 3 firmware file you downloaded for the necessary files to be downloaded.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Wait For Firmware Installation

RPCS3 will inform you when the process is done.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Successful Firmware Installation

RPCS3 will pre-compile modules to help your games load faster.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Compiling Ppu Modules

Now that RPCS3 is properly configured, you’re ready to start playing games.

How to Get PS3 Games

RPCS3 supports digitally-downloaded games in PKG files and disc-based games in either ISO or uncompressed folder format. The easiest and arguably only legal way to get your hands on PlayStation 3 games to run within RPCS3 is to dump (rip) PS3 games you own with your PlayStation 3 console or your PC.

Dumping a PS3 Game via a PS3 Console

Using a PlayStation 3 console is considered the best way to dump disc-based games and the only way to dump digitally-downloaded games. However, your PS3 console will need to run custom firmware, which will violate the user terms outlined by Sony.

To dump disc-based games, you’ll need to use multiMAN homebrew software. Transfer the dumped files over to a PC via an external drive or FTP connection between your PlayStation 3 and your computer.

Dumping a PS3 Game via PC

You can also dump PlayStation 3 discs using a Blu-ray drive. However, not all Blu-ray drives will recognize a PS3 disc. Thankfully, the RPCS3 website has a list of compatible Blu-ray drives that can read PS3 discs.

Rpcs3 Bluray

A piece of software called Disc Dumper is the easiest way to decrypt your PS3 game disc, as it automates the process. However, you can also use the Linux command line or manually dump your discs. Find more detailed instructions in the RPCS3 Quickstart Guide.

Game Compatibility

Not every PS3 game will work, but you can review a comprehensive list of compatible PS3 software. Currently, the list features 3,694 games and apps, with about 69% (2,555) playable. This list is updated all the time, so be sure to check back regularly.

Rpcs3 Compatibility List

Booting PS3 Games

Once you have some games, you’ll need to show the RPCS3 where it can find them. To do so, you’ll need to install the game by selecting File -> install.pkg, then launch it with a double-click.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Boot Disc Based Game

Alternatively, boot disc-based games directly by selecting Boot Game, then choosing its ISO or folder. Disc-based games may also need installation through the emulated PlayStation 3’s interface.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Select Game Folder

Note that when booting a game for the first time, RPCS3 will compile more files it needs to run. RPCS3 only needs to do this once, so be patient.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Compiling More Ppu Modules

Configure the Controls

Now that you’re ready to play a game, you will need to configure the controls. Fortunately, RPCS3 supports a wide variety of control options, including keyboard and mouse. You can even opt for a console-specific controller to scratch your nostalgia itch. To get everything set up with your personal preferences, click on Pads in the menu bar at the top of the RPCS3 screen.

Use an actual PlayStation controller connected to your PC by choosing DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 from the Handlers pull-down menu in the top left. Furthermore, Xbox and other Xinput controllers are also supported.

Verify that the controller is detected by moving the analog sticks while watching their input live in the two circles at the bottom right of the window. Feel free to remap any buttons.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Joypad Mapping

Additional Configurations

While RPCS3 is an impressive technological feat, it’s still a work in progress, meaning you’ll likely run into a problem or two. Thankfully, the RCPS3 emulator has the ability to apply custom tweaks to individual games. These configurations can help with graphical issues, audio problems and more. For example, in our case, Demon’s Souls was displaying its graphics as shadows.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Messed Up Graphics

Use custom configurations by right-clicking on a title in the game list and choosing Create Custom Configuration. Thankfully, RPCS3 maintains a database of recommended configurations for individual games. This takes the guesswork out of tweaking a game’s settings for optimal performance.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Create Custom Config

With your custom configuration applied, relaunch RPCS3, and boot up your game. If the custom configuration is compatible, you shouldn’t experience any further hiccups.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Game Running


The PS3 was a performance beast, but today’s PCs are much more powerful. Therefore, you can enable Anisotropic Filtering and Anti-Aliasing in RPCS3’s GPU settings. This can smooth graphics and increase detail. Even better, you can bump up the Resolution Scale to upscale the emulated game’s graphics.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Improved Settings

Note that some games may “break” when the emulator’s settings are pushed beyond the abilities of the PlayStation 3’s original hardware, so taper your expectations.

Upgrade Games With Patches

RPCS3 allows you to download patches for games. These patches tweak the game’s code for a variety of benefits. Patches can help to increase compatibility and take advantage of a PCs’ increased horsepower. Some patches even fix annoyances, such as allowing you to skip previously unskippable videos.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Game Patches Option

To apply these patches, launch RPCS3, and open the patch management window from Manage -> Game Patches. Finding patches available for your games is detailed on the RPCS3 Wiki.

Ps3 On The Pc With Rpcs3 Patch Selection

RPCS3 has passed the phase of trying to emulate most of the actual hardware, and now its team is squashing bugs, increasing its compatibility, and optimizing its performance, with new releases almost every month. Therefore, even if a game doesn’t work today, it’s worth trying it out again when newer versions of RPCS3 are released. If the PlayStation 2 was more your jam, and you own a Mac, you’re in luck. If you want to experience retro gaming on the go, be sure to check out the best Game Boy Advance emulators for Android.

Image credit: Unsplash. Screenshots by Ryan Lynch.

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Ryan Lynch

Ryan is an English & Film Studies teacher. He splits his time between Australia and the United States. He passes the time on long haul flights by playing retro video games from his youth.

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