It’s easy to fall into the trap of imagining that the best PS4 emulators are out there waiting for you. Is the dream real; do they really exist?
So many websites on the internet claim that they’ve got a working PS4 emulator and ‘the best experience to mimic the real thing’. The truth, however, is very different.
Not only do working PS4 emulators not exist for any platform in 2021, but gamers must watch out for scammers luring them into traps. Many pages ask users to donate money for the best PS4 emulators, many of which don’t and may never exist.
Scam titles like PCSX4 try to piggyback off the epic PCSX2 emulator for PS2 and appear legitimate, and more and more people are getting duped every day.
Here’s everything we know about PS4 emulators, a promising program, and a crash course into emulation for those that have no idea what we’re talking about.
We’re here to shed some light on the situation and to help you from making any mistakes further down the line. Hopefully, you’ll learn a thing or two and save yourself a lot of headaches!
Table of Contents
Investigating The Best PS4 Emulators
Before we go any further, I want to get a few things straight. I’m not having any trolls, policemen, or Sony coming knocking on my inbox, so listen up.
The PS4 might be old news to PS5 fans, but it’s still one of the most powerful consoles that we’ve ever come across, much more powerful than many PCs, laptops, or handhelds!
Emulation for next-gen consoles remains new territory, and as the PS4 is the 4th best selling console of all time, there isn’t really a need for an emulator as everyone owns one!
Secondly, I want to stress that the sharing of ROMs, downloaded or self-ripped, is 100% illegal. If you take one thing from this article, then let it be this. We can’t write articles from prison and we like good food, so keep us out of there, alright?
Thirdly, Retro Dodo doesn’t want you doing anything that could get you in trouble or your PC filed with nasty viruses. Always double check the sites you’re visiting and the legality of ROM downloading in your area.
What Are Emulators?
Sometimes it’s best to start from the beginning with these things and move on from there!
You know how Kirby sucks people up and then takes their skills? Well, an emulator is a bit like Kirby. It pretends to be something it’s not, but it does it by virtually recreating wires and chips instead of just inhaling an old SEGA Mega Drive.
In a time where everyone wants to play their games on the go and see Banjo or Solid Snake on a portable handheld, the ripping of game carts and discs is becoming increasingly more popular.
Ripped game files are called ROMs, and it’s these files that emulators play.
It’s worth mentioning that emulators work in a similar way to iTunes or QuickTime Player. On their own, they’re just a standard program. They load the ROMs and allow gamers to play their old games on the best retro handhelds and even on the best mini consoles.
That’s how the PS1 Classic works, after all!
Why Are People Excited For PS5 Emulators?
Wouldn’t you be excited about playing BioMutant of Horizon Zero Dawn on the best PS4 emulators on your PC or phone? Taking these games onto the bus or into the office is all we dream about!
And, with scalpers continually taking all the PS consoles, we might still be relying on playing PS4s for another 10 years yet!
Sadly, the best PS4 emulators aren’t going to appear next week, next month, or even next year!
Lots of people have tried to emulate the PS4 over the years, and there still isn’t anything near a stage that can actually play games yet.
Plus, a phone with that kind of processing power doesn’t exist, not unless you can travel to the future. It would have to be as big as a space station!
What Are The Obstacles Stopping PS4 Emulators?
I touched on it above, but the main reason is processing power. Laptops and PCs are advanced, but they aren’t built to run like a games console.
That’s why we have games consoles in the first place…
While the tech inside newer machines is being advanced all the time, it’s still a lot to ask for most of the devices that the average member of the public owns. We’re not all able to buy a brand new iPhone every time it comes out or a new Mac on release day, and the cost of a device that could run a PS4 emulator would be phenomenal.
Another reason is that there isn’t a dedicated team working on a solution.
Companies like Citra who are working on the best Nintendo Switch Emulator are actually getting results as they work on it day in, day out.
Currently, there’s only one PS4 emulator worth talking about, and it’s still in the production stages.
Are The Best PS4 Emulators Real?
Orbital is the only emulator that could come close to featuring as an actual program in this list of the best PS4 emulators later down the line.
At the moment, Orbital is a work-in-progress program. It’s an open-source emulator that is currently in the works for Windows and Linux, which is bad news for OSX users…
At this moment in time, the thing that Orbital can do is boot PS4 firmware. I say only; that is still very impressive, but it’s taken months and months of work to even get to this stage.
As I said, playing games on this thing isn’t going to happen any time soon, and the same goes for other emulators advertised on websites telling you ‘240K people have downloaded this program’ etc.
Who knows; in a couple of years time, Orbital may be as impressive as PCSX2 or PPSSPP, but that’s a long, long way off.
Still, there is a way to play PS4 games online, though it might not be as ‘free and easy’ as some of you were hoping from an emulation article…
The Best Way To Play PS4 Games Online
PS Now is the only surefire way of successfully streaming PS4 games on the internet. It’s a paid gaming subscription like Nintendo’s Nintendo Switch Online and allows gamers to both download PS4 games and play them on Windows devices.
Ok, so it’s not uploading ripped game files, but it’s currently the only reliable and legal way of playing games away from home or downloading PS4 games.
And to be honest with you, who wants to be bothered messing around with dodgy graphics when the best PS4 games are so fantastic, textured, and downright amazing?
Until the best PS4 emulators can perfectly recreate the main article, then you’re best off getting a second-hand PS4 and playing the games the way they were meant to be played. Nobody want’s laggy action on next-gen games, especially when they’re so freakin’ awesome!
Obviously, we’ll update this article with any news as and when information on the best PS4 emulators becomes available. For now, just find a friend with a PS4 and beg them to let you borrow it.
They’re probably in love with their PS5 anyway… if they’ve managed to get one…
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.