PS Plus emulation could be improving in the most unexpected way

A D-pad in the PlayStation Plus logo
(Image credit: Sony)

We hope you kept your old PS3 controllers and peripherals, because it's possible the PlayStation 5 might support them in future.

A recently published PS5 patent shows that Sony could be planning to make older PS3 peripherals compatible with its latest flagship console. The new PS Plus includes a slew of older gen games from the original PlayStation to the PS4. Sony wasn't overly concerned with backwards compatibility last generation. But the success of Xbox Games Pass has given it a renewed focus on supporting older titles. And now it looks like it's doubling down with support for older hardware.

The patent, which can be read here, is titled "Systems and methods for converting a legacy code into an updated code." It largely focuses on methods of facilitating emulation on PS5. The most eye-catching diagram in this regard is 'Fig 14.' This diagram shows controllers and peripherals like the DualShock 3, EyeToy camera and the PSP Go. The intent seems to be creating a method by which these peripherals can connect to PS5, wirelessly or otherwise.

(Image credit: Sony)

Good news for PS3 fans?

PS3 emulation on PS Plus isn't exactly perfect. So far, the PS3 games available on the service have simply migrated from the (now non-existent) PS Now. On top of that (owing to the difficulty of emulating PS3 games), you can only stream these games via an internet connection. There's no option to download PS3 games as there is for every other generation featured on the service.

However, what this patent could suggest is an effort on Sony's part to make PS3 emulation more robust, albeit in a fairly unexpected way. Supporting such a wide variety of peripherals on PS5 will open the floodgates on the kinds of games Sony can add to PS Plus.

The EyeToy, for example, had a litany of games dedicated to its use. Then there's the DualShock 3, which was the first controller to support Sony's bespoke Sixaxis gyro aiming. Now, the PS5's DualSense controller does support gyro aiming, but official DualShock 3 support might suit those looking for a more authentic experience. That, and allow for more PS3 games with Sixaxis control options to launch on the service.

It remains to be seen if Sony will act on this patent in any tangible way. As always, patents aren't a guarantee that the features laid out will undergo development. 

However, we're glad to see Sony is at least thinking of solutions to prevent its older tech from becoming obsolete. And it's doing so in a way that would cleverly add value to its PS Plus subscription service. So if you've got some older PS3 peripherals lying around and gathering dust, don't be so quick to throw them out. Sony might just have plans for these gadgets yet.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.