The team behind RPCS3, the most popular and complete PlayStation 3 emulator available, have a surprise in the works for fans. Earlier today, a countdown was posted on the website’s homepage, hinting at some sort of reveal on December 1.
The world of video game emulation has boomed in recent years, with virtual hardware for nearly every system since the NES (and several pre-dating it) available to download for free on PC. Consoles like the Super Nintendo and original PlayStation are simple to replicate, but as the system gets more advanced, so does the emulation—and many games require individual, specific changes to the software in order to run properly.
The PS3 in particular, with its unique and experimental Cell processors, posed one of the biggest possible challenges for emulator developers. However, that didn’t stop the makers of RPCS3, who released their code in 2012 and continue to maintain the software. RPCS3 has astonishing compatibility, with almost 600 titles fully playable and 4K support for a portion of those.
As for the announcement, it’s anyone’s guess as to what this mysterious project is. User speculation includes support for the PS Vita, while others believe it could be the reveal of compatibility for a major title that’s still missing. Apparently, an in-joke within the community centers on the lack of support for The Last of Us, with a dedicated Discord channel that bears a single message: “Not Yet.”
A note on the legality of emulators: many will cry foul and call emulators “piracy,” and in essence, that isn’t too far off. However, there’s an important distinction between emulators—the hardware aspect of a console—and ROMs, which are the actual images of the games. Emulators themselves are not illegal, or considered “piracy,” as they simply replicate the hardware of a system. However, if you do find yourself in possession of a ROM, you better have a pretty good legal argument.
Emulation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, and neither does the team behind RPCS3. Look for their announcement to drop later this week.