What Can A Jailbroken PS3 Do?

Original PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles are highly sought after today thanks to their backward compatibility with both PS2 and PS1 games. And with the ability to jailbreak these consoles (the term “jailbreak” is also commonly referred to as “hack” or “mod”), the PS3 is even more useful today thanks to a variety of new features.

What can a jailbroken PS3 do? Jailbroken PS3 consoles allow for dozens of new and improved features, including but not limited to:

This is not an exhaustive list of features that come with modding a PS3 console, but rather a brief overview of some of the more popular ones. Homebrew applications and games are continuously being developed to further push jailbroken hardware well past their perceived boundaries. (And if any of these additional features don’t quite make sense to you at the moment, don’t worry as we cover each one in more detail just below.)

Note: This is by no means a guide to jailbreaking PS3 hardware. Doing so incorrectly could cause irreparable damage to the console or even get players banned from the PlayStation Network. This is merely an educational walkthrough of some of the different features that are available to those who decide to install custom firmware onto their PS3 consoles.

Playing Emulators/ROMs

PlayStation 3 Slim
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As a quick disclaimer, we don’t condone the use of pirated software, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention this feature as it is one of the leading reasons gamers decide to hack their consoles in the first place.

In addition to playing its own library of games and backward-compatible titles, the PS3 can gain access to generations of retro classics through emulation. Performance may vary from emulator to emulator and even game to game, but expect titles from most consoles prior to the Nintendo 64 generation to run quite smoothly. Additionally, Game Boy Advance and PSP game emulators are quite good on the PS3.

Running Game Backups From A Hard Drive

While physical discs have (and probably always will have) their defenders, there is no denying that digital game libraries help keep collections from getting scratched, scuffed, and worn down. Wear and tear on Blu-ray discs can really add up over time and make games unplayable after extensive use. Not to mention, disc drives on consoles are usually one of the first components to start malfunctioning.

On top of all that, digital libraries mean swapping discs less. It's only a minor inconvenience, sure, but why go through the hassle and risk scratching your favorite games?

Playing PS2 Games On PS3 Slim

While all PS3 consoles play PS1 games, only the original PS3 consoles (often referred to as “fat” PS3s) are backward compatible with PS2 games – and even then, some of the later iterations of the fat hardware don't support backward compatibility with PS2 software.

That said, even the slim and super slim, redesigned PS3s (as well as the newer fat PS3 consoles) can play PS2 games when running custom firmware. Luckily, jailbreaking PS3 hardware is a pretty easy process, so this workaround is definitely worth it for those who want the complete backward compatible experience.

To see more about which PS3 consoles are backward compatible with PS2 (and PS1) games, please check out our article, Which PS3 Models Are Backwards Compatible With The PS2 (And PS1)?

Playing Region-Locked PS1 And PS2 Games

PS2 Slim & PS One
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While PS3 games aren't region-locked, PS1 and PS2 games are. In general, the term “region-lock” refers to consoles that are incompatible with games from other areas of the world. For example, some games that were only released in Asia or Europe won’t be playable in North America and vice versa. In other words, it’s a software block that prevents games from being imported and played in other parts of the world.

Luckily, modded PS3 consoles can play PlayStation games from both of the previous generations (as well as its own) with no issues. This means, imported special edition consoles from other regions will play local PS2 and PS1 games with custom firmware too. And with certain fan-made translation patches, even language might not be a barrier thanks to console hacking.

Watching Region-Locked Blu-rays And DVDs

Again, while PS3 games aren't region-locked, Blu-ray movies and DVDs are. As with the PS1 and PS2 titles, however, PS3 consoles running custom firmware are able to read Blu-rays and DVDs from any region.

Installing Different Media Apps

PlayStation 3 Menu
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The media players on the stock PS3 are all relatively solid, but for those looking for more options or something a bit more customizable, console modding is definitely the way to go.

Playing Patched/Modded Games

Game mods and user-created patches need to be sought out online, but some can be absolute game-changers. As stated earlier, some region-exclusive games would otherwise be unplayable without fan-translation patches. Other patches can improve performance, and mods can add all sorts of new content.

Downloading And Installing Cheats

Downloading and installing cheats is pretty self-explanatory. By using certain plugins that only work with custom firmware (or modded titles), gamers can experience cheats from a ton of popular video games right on the Wii U.

Installing Linux (And Other Operating Systems)

Why would anyone want to install Linux on their PS3? Well, because they can. Nostalgic for Windows 95? Well, that operating system will also run on the console, apparently.

Connecting A Mouse And Keyboard

Are you more of a mouse and keyboard gamer? Well, jailbroken PS3 consoles can be operated with a wide variety of different controllers (mouse and keyboard obviously included). For those who are fans of the Xbox 360 controller, don't worry, as that can also work on the PS3 as well.

Changing The Startup Screen And Sound

Customization available to console hackers even extends to the startup screen and sound effects. Suffice it to say, if there is something you don't like about the PS3's user experience, there is probably a way to change it.

Playing Homebrew Games

Homebrew games can range from original, amateur-developed titles to mods of popular titles. Either way, there are a ton of homebrew games to check out – all of which range in scope and quality. A couple of famous examples of homebrew games include indie darling Cave Story and mobile hit Flappy Bird. These games have since become available to the masses in various forms, but they both started as homebrew titles.