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Can Your PS3 Play PS2 Games? The Lowdown on Backwards Compatibility

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Showgoers try out games at the PlayStation 3 exhibit at the 2009 E3 Expo on June 3, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images
While all current PlayStation 3's (PS3) can play original PlayStation Games (PSone discs and downloadable classics) not all are PS2 compatible.

To make matters short, the 60GB and 20GB launch PS3's are backwards compatible with PS2 games because they have PS2 chips in them. Other models, most notably the 80GB Metal Gear Solid PS3 used to be backwards compatible (using emulation software) but now they aren't.

So, here are some steps to help you identify a PS2 backwards compatible 60GB or 20GB PS3.

There are many reasons why Sony could have cancelled backwards compatibility, but none are verified.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 3 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Look to see if the PS3 is a PlayStation 3 Slim Model. You can tell a if a PS3 is a slim model if it has a lower profile, a matte black finish (not shiny), and has the "PS3" logo on the top instead of the word "PlayStation 3" written in the "Spiderman" font.

    If it's a PS3 Slim, it isn't PS2 backwards compatible, though you can still enjoy PS3 and PSone games on it.

  2. Look to see if the PS3 is a 20GB PlayStation 3. These were available at launch only. They do not have Wi-Fi nor a flash card reader, but do have four USB ports and are backwards compatible. The model number is usually "CECHBxx."

    If the PS3 has four USB ports, and the panel where you insert the disc is black and not silver, and it doesn't have a spot on the front for SD cards and other flash memory, you have a 20GB PS3 and it is hardware backwards compatible with PS2 games, congrats. These are also bigger than the PS3 Slim, have a shiny finish, and the word "PlayStation 3" written on top.

  3. Look to see if the PS3 is a 60GB PlayStation 3. There also were only available at launch. They have Wi-Fi, a flash card reader, and have four USB ports (which is the quick way to find a 20 or 60GB PS3).

    If it has 4 USB ports, is shiny, has the word "PlayStation 3" on top, and the face where you insert the disc is silver then you have a PS2 backwards compatible 60GB Playstation 3.

  4. If you have an 80GB PlayStation 3, or a Metal Gear Solid PS3, and it hasn't been updated since it came out of the box, it may still be backwards compatible through software emulation. Though this is unlikely to still work. If you have or can use any PS3 online services (the PlayStation store or online gaming) then you have updated your PS3 and have lost the PS2 software emulation backwards compatibility.

Tips:

  1. In short, you need either a 20BG PS3, a 60GB PS3, or (more unlikely) an original 80GB PS3 that hasn't been updated in order to play PlayStation 2 (PS2) games on your PS3.
  2. You can find a used 20GB or 60GB PS3 out there, but now most are used and cost more than a new PS3 Slim.

What You Need

  • PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game console
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  5. Playstation 3 Backwards Compatibility (PS2 Playable)

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