Can You Play PS2 Games On PS3? (What You Need To Know)

Playing ps2 games on a ps3

Can You Play PS2 Games On PS3?

The term “backward compatibility” refers to new technology that can still run games that were made for older technology. Companies design new tech to be backward compatible so that their loyal customers don’t have to buy all new games every time they buy a new console, which is plenty of money by itself.

However, if companies made every new piece of tech backward compatible with every old game, they would make a lot less money. In order to compromise between insuring their cash flow and allowing their customers to continue to enjoy older games without having to rebuy them, they impose limits to the backward compatibility of their consoles.       

So, can you play PS2 games on PS3? Some PS2 games are available to be played on PS3, but not all of them. Different factors such as what model of PS3 you have will come into play when determining whether or not you’ll be able to play PS2 games on a PS3.             

Let’s look at these different factors to help determine whether or not your PS3 will be able to play some of your favorite titles from the PS2 era.

How To Tell Which PS2 Games You Can Play on Your PS3

There are a few different versions of the PS3 console. Some are backward compatible, some are not, and the backward compatibility of some depends on how recently updates may have been installed.

1. Is Your PS3 a PlayStation 3 Slim Model?

The PS3 Slim was a more recent version of the console, so it is not backward compatible with PS2 games. You can confirm that you have a PS3 Slim model if:

  • Your PlayStation is skinnier than a typical PS3
  • There is a flat matte black finish (not shiny)
  • The PS3 logo is present on the console rather than the words “PlayStation 3”

If your console is a PlayStation 3 Slim, then it is not backward compatible with PS2 games.

2. Is Your PS3 a 20GB PlayStation 3?

The 20GB PS3 was only available at the launch of the PlayStation 3, which means that it is an older PS3 model. 20GB PS3s are backward compatible with PS2 games. You can confirm that you have a 20GB PS3 if:

  • Your PlayStation is wide like a normal PS3
  • The finish is black and shiny or glossy, not flat matte
  • The words “PlayStation 3” are displayed rather than the PS3 logo
  • There are 4 USB ports
  • The panel where the disk is inserted is black rather than silver
  • There is no SD card port on the front

Since these do not work on wifi, they have not been able to receive updates that would have put a stop to their backward compatibility. So if you have a 20GB PS3, you’ll be able to play PS2 games on it.

3. Is Your PS3 a More Advanced Model?

If you have a 60GB PS3, an 80GB PS3, or a Metal Gear Solid PS3, then it depends on whether the device has been updated since it came out of the box. You can confirm that you have one of these models if:

  • Everything is the same as the 20GB PlayStation 3 except:
  • The panel where the disk is inserted is silver rather than black

These models all have wifi capabilities, which means that they could have received updates from PlayStation online over time. Because the company makes more money when people buy new products rather than continuing to use old ones, they will tend to remove the backward compatibility of their newer devices over time.

So if your console has had internet access, it has likely received updates that would have removed the backward compatibility, preventing you from playing PS2 games on this device. 

However, if you have a device that has never been out of the box or has somehow never received an update, you will be able to play PS2 games thanks to the backward compatibility that the console originally came with.

If you’ve determined that your PS3 is a non-backward compatible version, do not fear. There are other options for you to explore for playing PS2 games on your PS3.

PS2 on PS3

Purchase Classic PS2 Games for PS3

If your PS3 isn’t backward compatible, you can still play PS2 games on it if you buy them again through the PlayStation store.

To do this, visit and click on the “Games” section. Then select “Classics” from the side menu. Check “PS2 Classics” and scroll through the listings to find the games you’d like to purchase to play on PS3.

Modify Your PS3

You can modify your PS3 to allow you to play PS2 games on it. But, while this isn’t technically illegal, Sony obviously stands to lose money by allowing people to jailbreak their PlayStations rather than having them buy new consoles and new games. So, it is against their policy and will void your warranty.

This means that if anything goes wrong with your PS3, you won’t be able to return or exchange it. More concerning though is that if you get caught, Sony has the right to ban you from the PlayStation store and even to disable your account, causing you to lose all your previous games and gaming histories.

If, knowing these risks, you still wish to jailbreak your PS3 in order to play PS2 games on it, read this article on how to do so. We’ve only mentioned that this is a possible option in order to be thorough and accurate, but do not endorse or encourage console modifying.

I wish you the best of luck in choosing the best route for playing PS2 games on your PS3, and hope that you have a lot of fun with it! 


Hello there! My name is Collin. I’ve spent hours studying game design via podcasts, articles, and videos. This is where I share the helpful information I’ve learned about creating and marketing great games.

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