How to Tell If Your PS3 Can Play PS2 Games

By James Holloway
Boy holding a remote control joystick for a PlayStation.

If you're like many gamers, you've got a library of classic PlayStation 2 games you occasionally feel like revisiting. If you have the right model of PlayStation 3, you can play them on that console. If not, however, you'll have to dust off your old machine.

Identifying Your Model Number

Only a limited number of early PS3s can play PS2 discs. These early models have four USB ports and numbers beginning with CECHE01, CECHA01 or CECHB01. To check your console's model number, look for the barcode sticker on its rear or underside. Beneath the barcode itself will be an 11-digit serial number; the model number is immediately after this. Even PS3s with these serial numbers will not play all PS2 games perfectly; quality of performance depends on the game.

Checking the Packaging

If you still have your PS3's original box, you can check to see whether it will play earlier titles. On the rear of the box, underneath the list of features, you should see a text box headed "Compatible software/media." This will tell you if your console plays PS2 titles or not.

Digital Downloads

The above guidelines refer only to original PS2 discs. If you want to play older games on your PS3 but don't have the original discs, you may be able to buy digital copies of PS2 or PS1 games in the PlayStation Store. These will run on your PS3 without difficulty.

About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.