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PS3 vs. PS4: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 4, 2023
PS3 (PlayStation 3) is Sony's third-generation gaming console, while PS4 (PlayStation 4) is its advanced fourth-generation successor.

Key Differences

The PS3, short for PlayStation 3, was launched in 2006, representing Sony's third installment in their popular gaming console lineup. Packed with cutting-edge features of its time, the PS3 boasted a Cell Broadband Engine CPU, enabling high-definition gameplay and multimedia functionalities. The introduction of the PS3 also saw the integration of the Blu-ray disc drive, enhancing gaming graphics and doubling as a movie player.
In contrast, the PS4, standing for PlayStation 4, debuted in 2013, taking the gaming experience up a notch. Beyond the standard advancements in graphics and processing speeds, the PS4 incorporated an x86-64 AMD Jaguar processor. This upgrade from the PS3's architecture meant more fluid gaming experiences, quicker load times, and a more immersive in-game environment.
A significant difference between the PS3 and PS4 is the redesign of the controller. The PS3's DualShock 3 controller was an evolution of its predecessors. However, with the PS4 came the DualShock 4, featuring a clickable touchpad, a light bar, and enhanced ergonomics, making the gaming interaction more intuitive and diversified.
Moreover, the PS4 places a heightened emphasis on social interaction. With features such as a dedicated "Share" button on the controller, players can swiftly record gameplay, capture screenshots, and share them with their network. Conversely, while the PS3 did enable online gaming, its social and sharing functionalities weren't as streamlined or as emphasized as with the PS4.
In summary, while both the PS3 and PS4 stand as commendable feats in the gaming world, the PS4 delivers advancements in hardware, controller design, and social capabilities, setting the two consoles apart.

Comparison Chart

Launch Year



Cell Broadband Engine
X86-64 AMD Jaguar

Controller Design

DualShock 3
DualShock 4 with touchpad and light bar

Social Features

Basic online capabilities
Enhanced sharing, streaming, and networking


High-definition graphics
Advanced high-definition, improved fluidity

PS3 and PS4 Definitions


A console that uses the DualShock 3 controller.
The PS3's DualShock 3 controller felt familiar yet advanced with its motion-sensing feature.


A device with enhanced social sharing and streaming functionalities.
Using my PS4's Share button, I quickly uploaded my gameplay highlights online.


A multimedia device capable of playing games, movies, and streaming content.
I watched a Blu-ray movie on my PS3 last night.


The successor to PlayStation 3 and predecessor to PlayStation 5.
The transition from PS3 to PS4 came with a noticeable upgrade in game fluidity.


The successor to PlayStation 2 and predecessor to PlayStation 4.
After enjoying PS2 for years, I upgraded to the PS3 for enhanced graphics.


A gaming platform supporting VR (Virtual Reality) experiences.
I immersed myself in a VR game using my PS4 and the PlayStation VR headset.


A gaming system that supports online multiplayer gaming via PlayStation Network.
I competed with players worldwide in multiplayer matches on my PS3.


Sony's fourth-generation video game console.
The PS4 boasts superior graphics and a faster processor compared to its predecessors.


Sony's third-generation video game console.
The PS3 introduced gamers to high-definition gameplay and Blu-ray capabilities.


A console employing the DualShock 4 controller with a touchpad and light bar.
The PS4's DualShock 4 controller added a new dimension to gameplay with its touchpad feature.


Was online multiplayer gaming possible on the PS3?

Yes, the PS3 supported online multiplayer gaming via the PlayStation Network.

What does PS3 stand for?

PS3 stands for PlayStation 3, Sony's third-generation gaming console.

Are there exclusive games for both the PS3 and PS4?

Yes, both consoles have their set of exclusive titles.

Can I stream gameplay directly from the PS3?

Not natively. The PS4 introduced more integrated streaming capabilities.

Can I upgrade the internal hard drive of both the PS3 and PS4?

Yes, both consoles allow for internal hard drive upgrades.

Are physical games for the PS3 and PS4 compatible with each other?

No, physical games are not cross-compatible between the two consoles.

Which console introduced PlayStation Now, a cloud gaming service?

PlayStation Now was introduced during the PS4 era but is accessible on both consoles.

Are both PS3 and PS4 part of the same PlayStation family lineage?

Yes, both the PS3 and PS4 are part of Sony's PlayStation gaming console lineage.

Does the PS4 have more storage capacity than the PS3?

Typically, yes. PS4 models generally offer larger storage capacities compared to most PS3 models.

When was the PS3 released in comparison to the PS4?

The PS3 was released in 2006, while the PS4 debuted in 2013.

Do both the PS3 and PS4 support virtual reality gaming?

No, only the PS4 supports virtual reality gaming with the PlayStation VR headset.

Which system provides better integration with social media platforms?

The PS4 offers better integration with social media platforms, including a "Share" button on the controller.

Did both consoles have multiple versions or iterations released?

Yes, both the PS3 and PS4 saw multiple iterations with varying features and designs.

How does the PS4 differ from the PS3 in terms of graphics?

The PS4 offers advanced high-definition graphics with improved fluidity compared to the PS3.

Were both the PS3 and PS4 commercially successful?

Yes, both consoles achieved considerable commercial success.

Can I play my PS3 games on a PS4?

Natively, no. The PS4 doesn't support backward compatibility for PS3 discs, but some games are available digitally via PlayStation Now.

Which console introduced the touchpad controller: PS3 or PS4?

The PS4 introduced the touchpad controller known as DualShock 4.

Which console came with the ability to play Blu-ray discs?

Both the PS3 and PS4 can play Blu-ray discs.

Which controller has a light bar: DualShock 3 or DualShock 4?

The DualShock 4 for the PS4 has a light bar.

Which console features an improved user interface?

The PS4 offers an evolved and more intuitive user interface compared to the PS3.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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