The PlayStation Portable launched in 2004 as a handheld alternative to the PS2, allowing gamers to enjoy the PS experience on the go. Seven years later, Sony launched the Vita which performed a similar role- but for the PS3. Since both consoles are made by Sony and the PS3 is the powerful full-size model, some people think games are interchangeable between the two.
So, can you play PS Vita games on PS3? No, you can’t because there are zero hardware or software similarities between the two consoles. Games for Vita are written very differently from games for PS3, and the two use totally different distribution formats- discs vs cartridges.
Even if you purchase a Vita game on your PS3 via the online store, it won’t play on the PS3. Until last year, you could download games to your PS3’s HDD, then transfer it to the Vita with a USB cable or Wi-Fi (Sony has stopped this service). There are crossplay games that allow multiplayer between Vita and PS3, you can view a list of such games here.
Can You Play PS Vita Games On PS3?
The PlayStation 3 and Vita are two entirely different platforms with very little in terms of shared features. Sure, they are both Sony consoles and co-existed during the same time period. The OS core for both of these consoles is derived from FreeBSD and NetBSD (even though the UI is totally different).
But that’s where the similarities end. While the PS3 uses an IBM PowerPC-based CPU, the Vita features an ARM Cortex-A9 processor. The PS3 rocks an NVIDIA GPU, while the Vita uses a PowerVR GPU integrated into its SoC.
Graphics APIs are also different- PS3 uses PSGL, while Vita uses LibGXM. The SDKs for developing games are also unique to each console, and porting a game from one to the other is very hard. First off, the Vita is much weaker in terms of processing power.
Secondly, the PS3 uses Blu-Ray discs while the Vita uses cartridges. You can’t insert a Vita cartridge into a PS3, as there is no slot for it. Even digital downloads of Vita games won’t run on your PS3.
Until recently, you could purchase a Vita game on your PS3 and transfer it to your Vita. This service was shut down in May of 2022. Probably due to aging server infrastructure and a lack of financial incentive to support software development for two discontinued consoles.
How Do I Put PS Vita Games On My PS3?
PS Vita games could be purchased on the PS3’s online store until Sony stopped the service. It happened last year, and anyone who visited the PS3 store would understand why. It was a clunky mess, with poorly organized sections and lagging UI (the console is over 15 years old at this point).
Back in the day, you could download PS Vita games to your PS3’s HDD and then use a USB cable or Wi-Fi to transfer them to your Vita. Of course, your Vita would also need to have a memory card with enough free space for this transfer.
Can You Play PS3 Games On A Hacked PS Vita?
You can’t because there is no way to make a PS3 emulator run on a Vita. To emulate a system, your host must be more powerful than what it’s trying to emulate. The opposite is true in this case, with the Vita being a slower console than its full-size counterpart.
However, a hacker figured out a way to stream games from PS3 to Vita. This is similar to how you stream games from your PC to your phone using the Wi-Fi network.
Modern NVIDIA and AMD GPUs come with some kind of remote play functionality. But it’s cool to see the homebrew community developing something similar for these ancient Sony consoles.
Is There Any GTA Game For PS Vita?
The PlayStation Portable got a few GTA games developed specifically for a handheld console. And these are quite good. Even today, Liberty City Stories and Chinatown Wars deliver a fun experience.
However, the PS Vita never received exclusives like these. There is no new GTA game developed for the Vita. However, you can modify your Vita to emulate Android ports of GTA games like Chinatown wars.
And here’s the best part- you can actually play the Android version of San Andreas on a modded Vita. With some tweaks, you can almost make it look like the PS2 version.
Can You Play PS Vita Games On PS4?
Much like the PS3, the PS4’s hardware is very different from that of a Vita. And while there are hacked PS4s out there running emulators, these are in the early stages of development. It won’t be until the next 4 or 5 years that we see a PS4 running proper emulation for old consoles.
But you can stream games from your PS4 to your Vita. And you don’t need any mods for it, since it’s an officially supported feature called Remote Play. To set it up, follow this guide and make sure both consoles are connected to the home Wi-Fi.
Why Did The PS Vita Fail?
The Vita’s commercial failure can be attributed to two things- poor design choices, and unfortunate timing. While Nintendo’s 3DS was a focused game console that did one thing very well, the Vita was a confused amalgamation of features. You could play games, browse the internet, watch movies, take photos, etc.
But you could also do all of that using a phone. After all, this was 2012. And the Vita used an ARM Cortex-A9 processor, like Android smartphones of that time (with a UI that looked like what you’d find on a phone).
Sony even made a push for mobile game developers to release their titles on the Vita. There was a 3G version of the Vita that could accept SIM cards. To gamers, the Vita was a console trying to cosplay as a smartphone.
And to smartphone users, the Vita was an oversized chunk of plastic with poor battery life. Coupled with the fact that mobile gaming really took off in the early 2000s, the Vita never managed to make a case for itself. Nintendo had exclusives that took advantage of its unique hardware features, Sony had nothing of the sort.
The PS Vita is an interesting console. For a while, it acted as a companion console to the PS3. Later, it got Remote Play so you could stream your PS4 games.
Too many features and poor timing contributed to its downfall. However, gamers recognize that the Vita was a revolutionary machine. Today’s handheld gaming PCs use many of the concepts introduced by Vita.
Portrait layout, dual analogs, the ability to play multimedia and browse the internet- all of these were done by the Vita a decade ago. It even had an OLED display, with an extremely well-built chassis that featured metal and other premium materials. There is a reason Vita’s are selling at high prices in the used market these days