If you didn’t know already, RPCS3 is the best PS3 emulator around. In fact, realistically speaking, it is really the only fully working PS3 emulator, so you have made the right choice in choosing RPCS3 and this set-up guide, to help you get up and running.
We show you how to set up RPCS3, taking you through easy steps to download, install and additional basic set-up tips to get you playing your favourite PS3 games with this excellent emulator.
Before we start, it is worth noting the following requirements before you follow the guide.
- Recommended PC requirements – At least a 6 Core/12 Thread AMD/Intel CPU, Vulkan compatible GPU (Typically RX400 or GTX 900 series or higher), 8GB RAM.
- Some PS3 Games Downloaded – You’ll need games to test out in this guide!
- A Controller – If you have a controller, ensure this is connected before launching RPCS3. Whilst using the keyboard is possible, we recommend using a controller! The 8bitdo Pro 2 Bluetooth Controller is an excellent controller and can also be connected by USB.
Alternatively, why not get a more authentic feeling PlayStation replica controller? The below selection are PS3 replicas controllers which would provide a more PS3-like experience.
- Third-party controller: This game controller is not original product, it is only compatible with 3 system, you can play games on 3 system.
- 【Compatible with Ps 3 console】: It’s a Wireless Use Controller for Ps 3, made by third party company JAMSWALL Brand, not made by Sony. Discover greater precision, comfort, and control.
Download RPCS3 & Install
First of all, we will want to download RPCS3 from the official RPCS3 website.
Visit https://rpcs3.net/ and click the ‘Download’ link from the top menu, then download the version you require for your system.
Once you have downloaded RPCS3, you should create a folder on your system in which you can install/extract RPCS3.
I created a folder called RPCS3 on my external hard drive as shown in the image below. You can do the same, but in whatever location suits you best.
Now that you have created a folder for RPCS3, simply extract the file you have just downloaded into the new folder. You can use software such as WinRAR or 7Zip to do this if you do not already have anything installed to do this task.
Once you have done this, you will see a big list of files, similar to the below image.
Download PS3 Firmware & Install
RPCS3 requires the use of official PS3 firmware files, but you’ll need to download this from the official PlayStation site.
It is easy to obtain, simply visit https://www.playstation.com/en-us/support/hardware/ps3/system-software/ and follow the instructions on the screen to download the PS3 Firmware file.
Once you have downloaded the PS3UPDAT.PUP file, place this into the RPCS3 folder you created earlier.
Next, launch RPCS3 and click continue on the pop-up that appears upon launch.
You will then need to go to the menu ‘File -> Install Firmware’ and then select the PS3UPDAT.PUP firmware file you downloaded.
RPCS3 will then proceed to install the firmware into the emulator, you should then see a successfully installed message appear once this is complete.
RPCS3 Controller Set Up
Ensure that your controller is already connected prior to launching RPCS3 (If not, just simply close and restart after you have connected it).
Next, select the ‘Pads’ icon found in the menu ribbon in the upper part of RPCS3. This will then show the controller settings screen.
RPCS3 is compatible with a number of controller types out of the box, so for example in the Handlers section, you can select Keyboard, Dualshock 3 & 4 controllers, as well as a PS5 DualSense.
If you are using something like an Xbox controller or XInput compatible controller, select ‘XInput’.
This will then auto configure the button mappings and set them up for you. Click save to save the controller settings.
Add Games To RPCS3
Adding your PS3 games library is easy, simply go to the menu ‘File -> Add Games’, then navigate to your PS3 games folder, then click ‘select folder’.
Your games will then be imported and appear in the RPCS3 window.
RPCS3 Graphics Settings
Select the ‘Config’ icon along the top ribbon bar, this is where you can access all the emulator settings, but most specifically, the resolution scale settings found under the ‘GPU’ tab.
This can be changed to scale up the resolution of games to your requirement. It’s worth testing different settings though as PS3 emulation is quite demanding on your system.
I recommend setting the upscale bar to 150% (1920×1080) to begin with, then increasing/decreasing based on the performance of your system.
Game Specific Settings & Configuration
Since PS3 emulation and RPCS3 are still relatively new, you will find that game performance varies widely.
To help with getting things optimised, it is worth taking a look at the RPCS3 Wiki pages – https://wiki.rpcs3.net/ – Here you will find details on game compatibility as well as optimal settings.
If your desired game has specific config recommendations, then you can set these up by going to your game list in RPCS3 and right-clicking the game, then selecting ‘Create Custom Configuration’, and then making the required changes as recommended in the RPCS3 Wiki pages.
You can also check the game compatibility database here – https://rpcs3.net/compatibility This is a quick reference to easily check game compatibility status before getting stuck trying to improve things yourself.
RPCS3 Game Patches
Go to the menu and select ‘Manage -> Game Patches’ and tick ‘Only Show Owned Games’, then click ‘Download Latest Patches’.
RPCS3 will return a list of patches, if available, for any games you have added to your library.
To apply any patches, expand the rows by clicking the down arrow icon and tick the box of any patches you wish to utilise, then click ‘Save’.
Boot A Game
To boot a game, simply go to your game list and double-click the game you wish to boot.
You will then have a short wait whilst things compile ready to boot up the game.
To play your game in full-screen mode, simply press ‘Alt + Enter’ to switch between full-screen and windowed modes.
As mentioned earlier, RPCS3 and PS3 emulation, in general, is still very young so performance between games does vary a great deal.
But in the meantime, enjoy whatever you can and the excitement that PS3 emulation is finally here and perfectly usable!
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of experience in the field, so producing retro orientated content for How To Retro comes is second nature to him. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).