3 Ways to Play PS2 Games on a PS3

Whether you’re feeling nostalgic or just curious about gaming history, playing PlayStation 2 (PS2) games is an enjoyable throwback experience. The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is a more advanced console with upgraded features, and you might wonder if it can play games from its predecessor. Fortunately, there are ways to bridge the gap between the two console generations. Here’s how you can dive back into your PS2 classics using your PS3 system.

3 ways to play ps2 games on a ps3

Compatible PS3 Models

Some PS3 consoles are backwards compatible, meaning they can play PS2 games directly. However, this ability is limited to certain models of the PS3.

Backwards compatibility for PS2 games is a feature that’s exclusive to the earlier models of the PS3 – specifically, the original 60GB model and the early 20GB models without Wi-Fi. Later on, a subset of the 80GB model also had this feature. If you own one of these models, you’re in luck!

Detailed Steps:

  1. Identify Your PS3 Model: Look for the serial number on your PS3 and check if it corresponds with those known for backward compatibility (CECHA01, CECHB01, CECHE01).
  2. Update Your PS3’s Firmware: Before playing, ensure your PS3’s system software is updated to the latest version through the settings menu.
  3. Insert the PS2 Disc: Simply put the PS2 game disc into your PS3 just like you would with a PS3 game.
  4. Play the Game: Navigate to the game menu and select the PS2 game icon – your game should start just as it would on a PS2 console.


This method is the most straightforward way to play PS2 games on a PS3, offering an experience very close to the original. The downside is the limited availability of compatible PS3 models, as they have been out of production for years and can be challenging to find.

PlayStation Store

The PlayStation Store offers a variety of classic PS2 games that have been digitally re-released to play on the PS3.

Sony released many PS2 classics via the PlayStation Store, which is accessible on a PS3 system. These games have been digitally remastered and are available for purchase and download.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Access the PlayStation Store: On your PS3’s main menu, go to the PlayStation Store app.
  2. Browse or Search for PS2 Classics: Look for a section in the store dedicated to PS2 games, or use the search function to find a specific title.
  3. Purchase and Download: Once you find your chosen game, select it and proceed through the purchasing steps. After purchasing, download the game onto your PS3.
  4. Find the Game on Your PS3 Menu: After downloading, you’ll find the game listed under the ‘Game’ section.
  5. Play the Game: Select the game to start playing your downloaded PS2 classic!


The PlayStation Store option is convenient, does not require a physical disc, and works on all PS3 models. However, the selection of available PS2 titles is limited, and there is the additional cost of purchasing games you may already own on disc.

Using PS2 Classics Placeholder and Multiman

For those with more technical prowess, ‘jailbreaking’ your PS3 allows for downloading and playing PS2 games via third-party managers like Multiman.

“Jailbreaking” refers to the act of modifying a console’s firmware to remove manufacturer restrictions. By doing this, you can install unauthorized software, such as game managers like Multiman, which enable you to play backed-up or downloaded PS2 games. This method requires a soft-modded PS3 and can involve risks.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Mod Your PS3: Modify your PS3 firmware by installing a custom firmware (CFW). Many guides are available online, but proceed with caution and know that this can void your warranty.
  2. Install Multiman and PS2 Classics Placeholder: Download these software pieces from trusted sources and follow instructions to install them on your PS3.
  3. Convert PS2 Games to Suitable Format: You’ll need to convert your PS2 game disc images to a compatible format (*ISO files typically) with software tools on your PC.
  4. Transfer Games to PS3: Use a USB drive or network transfer to move the game files to your PS3.
  5. Launch Multiman: From your PS3, open Multiman to browse and select your PS2 ISO file.
  6. Play the Game: Once selected, Multiman works in tandem with PS2 Classics Placeholder to start the game on your PS3.


This method enables playing a vast range of PS2 games and is ideal for enthusiasts who are comfortable with the technical steps involved. However, jailbreaking a console can be complex for newcomers, can void warranties, and may pose legal and security risks.

How to Find and Check PS3 Model

Identifying your PS3 model is crucial to know what options you have. Here’s how you find and check your PS3 model number.

Before you can decide which method to use for playing PS2 games on your PS3, you need to figure out whether your PS3 is one of the models that supports backwards compatibility. The model number (located on the back or the bottom of the system, depending on the design) will tell you.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Locate the Serial Number: Find the sticker on your PS3 console that includes barcodes and several pieces of information.
  2. Look for Model Numbers Starting With ‘CECH’: Next to or under the barcode, there should be a model number starting with ‘CECH’, followed by several characters.
  3. Compare the Model Number: Use the internet or a guide to compare your model number with known backwards compatible PS3 models.


This step is a quick and simple way to assess your options for playing PS2 games. It’s the first step you should take and it has no downsides other than taking a few moments to locate and note the model number.

Firmware Updates

Keeping your PS3 firmware up to date is vital to ensure compatibility and security. Here’s how you can check and update your PS3 system software.

Updating your PS3’s system software to the latest version is not only beneficial for system stability and compatibility but also sometimes necessary when using official channels to play PS2 games on your PS3.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Check Current Firmware Version: Navigate to the ‘Settings’ menu, select ‘System Settings’, and then ‘System Information’.
  2. Connect to the Internet: Ensure your PS3 is connected to a stable internet connection.
  3. System Update: Go back to the ‘Settings’ menu, choose ‘System Update’, and select ‘Update via Internet’ to download the latest version.
  4. Follow On-Screen Prompts: Follow the on-screen prompts to download and install any available updates.


Firmware updates are straightforward and keep your PS3 running smoothly, enhancing its ability to play PS2 games either natively, through re-released classics, or when jailbroken. The downside could be a slow update process depending on your internet connection.

Disk Maintenance

Taking care of your PS2 game discs is essential for them to be recognized and played on a compatible PS3 or converted for a modded system. Here’s how to maintain your discs.

For both original PS2 discs and PS3 consoles that support backwards compatibility, and for modded PS3 systems utilizing disc images, it’s imperative that your game discs are clean and undamaged.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Handling: Always handle discs by the edges, without touching the surfaces.
  2. Cleaning: Gently wipe the disc with a soft, lint-free cloth from the center outward.
  3. Repairing Scratches: For minor scratches, disc repair products are available. However, they might not fix deep damage.
  4. Proper Storage: Store discs in cases when not in use to prevent dust accumulation and scratching.


Disc maintenance is a low-tech solution that preserves the integrity of your PS2 games for playback on compatible or modded PS3s. The downside is that it cannot reverse severe damage to discs and has limitations in repair effectiveness.

Digital Game Management

Handling your digital PS2 game library on your PS3 involves organization and some maintenance. Learn how to manage your digital PS2 titles for optimal gaming.

When you purchase PS2 classics from the PlayStation Store, managing your downloaded titles and storage space is necessary. This ensures that your PS3 system can accommodate all your gaming needs without running out of space.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Organizing: You can create folders in the ‘Game’ section of the XMB to organize your PS2 and PS3 titles separately.
  2. Checking Storage: Regularly check your system’s storage capacity by going to the ‘System Settings’ menu and selecting ‘System Information’.
  3. Deleting and Reinstalling Games: If needed, you can delete games to free up space. Purchased games can be redownloaded from the store at no extra cost.


Digital game management is a relatively simple practice to maintain a clean and organized PS3 system for an optimal gaming experience. The downside might be limited storage space, requiring you to cycle games in and out of your system’s memory.

Understanding PS2 Game Compatibility

Not all PS2 games will work on a PS3, even on backwards compatible models or with digital classics. Here’s how to check game compatibility.

There are resources available online, like databases and forums, to help you understand which PS2 games are compatible with PS3 systems. This knowledge can prevent disappointment and ensure you can enjoy your favorite titles.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Research: Use the internet to find databases that list PS2 game compatibility with PS3 models.
  2. Official Lists: Check official resources, such as PlayStation’s support site for information on compatible titles.
  3. Community Feedback: Look through forums and community posts to find out about other players’ experiences with specific games.


Understanding game compatibility saves time and effort by ensuring you choose games that will work with your system setup. The downside is that not all titles will be compatible, which can be limiting for players looking to revisit specific PS2 classics.

Playing PS2 Discs on Non-Compatible PS3 Systems

If you have a non-compatible PS3 model, you might think it’s impossible to play PS2 discs. However, there are methods such as using software emulation that might work for you, albeit with limitations and technical steps involved.

This method is a bit of a gray area and involves using software to emulate PS2 hardware on non-compatible PS3 systems. It’s not officially supported by Sony and involves complex steps.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Research Software Options: Several homebrew programs claim to enable PS2 emulation on non-compatible PS3s.
  2. Consider Soft-Modding: If you decide to proceed, you’ll need to soft-mod your PS3 to install the emulation software.
  3. Follow Online Guides: Because of the complex and unofficial nature of this process, follow detailed guides meticulously to avoid damaging your system.


Playing PS2 discs on non-compatible PS3 systems is not recommended because of the technical challenges and risks involved. It’s an option for tech-savvy users who are willing to experiment and possibly face system instability or legal concerns.

Purchase Considerations

When looking to play PS2 games on a PS3, be aware of costs. Whether you need to buy a backwards compatible PS3 model, repurchase digital games, or invest in equipment for modding, there are different costs to consider.

Playing your favorite PS2 games on a PS3 system can incur various costs, depending on the method you choose. Assessing these costs can help you decide the best way to revisit these classics.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Research PS3 Model Prices: Compare prices for backwards compatible PS3 models.
  2. Digital Titles Costs: Check the PlayStation Store for the cost of the PS2 games you wish to purchase.
  3. Modding Equipment: If going the jailbreak route, take into account any necessary equipment or software you might need.


Understanding the different purchase considerations helps you manage your gaming budget. It enables you to choose a method within your financial means but can also present a financial barrier, especially if higher costs are involved.

Community Support and Learning

Engaging with an online community can be a valuable resource for playing PS2 games on your PS3. Learn from others who have shared their experiences and solutions.

Online communities can offer support, advice, and shared knowledge that’s particularly useful for more technical methods such as using backwards compatible consoles or jailbreaking.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Find Online Forums: Search for forums that focus on PlayStation gaming.
  2. Read and Participate in Threads: Look for threads about playing PS2 games on PS3 and contribute your own questions or experiences.
  3. Learn From Tutorials: Some community members create tutorials that can be extremely helpful.


Leveraging community support can greatly aid in your endeavor to play PS2 games on a PS3, offering real-world advice and troubleshooting tips. However, remember that not all advice may be reliable, and always double-check information with multiple sources.

Safety and Legality

While exploring ways to play PS2 games on your PS3, it’s important to consider the safety of your console and the legality of the methods you choose.

Safety and legal matters are important when it comes to modifying consoles or downloading software. It is crucial to stay informed and cautious to protect your console from harm and yourself from legal repercussions.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Understand the Risks: Learn about the risks associated with jailbreaking, including bricking your console and voiding warranties.
  2. Legal Implications: Understand the legal stance on downloading and using game files.
  3. Use Trusted Sources: Always use trusted sources if downloading software to mitigate the risk of introducing malware to your system.


Considering safety and legality ensures that you maintain your PS3’s operational integrity and stay on the right side of the law. This is a critical consideration, especially when it involves modified firmware or downloaded games. The downside is that staying within legal boundaries may limit your options.


Reviving the iconic PS2 gaming experience on a PS3 console can be a journey filled with nostalgia and enjoyment. Whether through compatible models, the PlayStation Store, or more adventurous technical methods, there are paths for everyone to explore their treasured PS2 memories. Just be sure to weigh the benefits against the potential risks and costs involved, and your gaming adventure can transcend generations.


Q: Can all PS3 models play PS2 games?
A: No, only certain early models of the PS3 are backwards compatible with PS2 games. Most later models cannot natively play PS2 discs.

Q: Is it legal to jailbreak my PS3?
A: The legality of jailbreaking a console varies by country and can have legal ramifications regarding the circumvention of copyright protection. Additionally, doing so will typically void your warranty. It’s important to look into your local laws before proceeding.

Q: Can I play my physical PS2 games on a non-compatible PS3?
A: No, non-compatible PS3 models cannot play physical PS2 discs. However, some PS2 games may be available as digital re-releases in the PlayStation Store, which can then be played on any PS3 model.

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