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PlayStation 3 vs. PlayStation 4 — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Published on February 10, 2024
PlayStation 3 (PS3) is Sony's third-generation console with multimedia capabilities, while PlayStation 4 (PS4) is the fourth, offering enhanced graphics, speed, and social features.
PlayStation 3 vs. PlayStation 4 — What's the Difference?

Difference Between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4


Key Differences

The PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 represent two significant epochs in the gaming industry, each with its unique features and technological advancements. The PlayStation 3 was a groundbreaking console at its release, offering high-definition graphics, a built-in Blu-ray player, and the introduction of the PlayStation Network. In contrast, the PlayStation 4 built upon this foundation with a more powerful processor, improved graphics, and a focus on social gaming, providing a richer and more immersive gaming experience.
One of the key differences between the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 is their hardware capabilities. The PlayStation 3 utilized the unique Cell processor, which was advanced for its time but complex for developers to work with. The PlayStation 4 moved to a more developer-friendly x86-64 architecture, which not only enhanced performance but also simplified game development, leading to a broader and more diverse game library.
The PlayStation 3 was known for its multimedia functionality, including the ability to play Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and CDs, along with a variety of other digital content. The PlayStation 4 retained these multimedia capabilities but placed a greater emphasis on gaming performance and social features, such as sharing gameplay videos and streaming live gameplay, which appealed to a modern audience of gamers.
Another significant difference is the online ecosystem. The PlayStation 4's PlayStation Network is more robust and user-friendly, with features like PlayStation Plus offering free monthly games and online multiplayer capabilities. The PlayStation 3 also had PlayStation Network support, but the PlayStation 4's system is more integrated and offers a more seamless online experience.
In terms of controllers, the PlayStation 3 came with the DualShock 3, which was an evolution of the PlayStation 2's controller, adding motion sensing capabilities. The PlayStation 4 introduced the DualShock 4, which includes a touchpad, a light bar for motion tracking, and improved ergonomics, enhancing the overall gameplay experience.

Comparison Chart

Release Year



Cell Broadband Engine
Single-chip x86 AMD "Jaguar" processor, 8 cores


NVIDIA RSX "Reality Synthesizer"
AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next engine


Up to 500GB HDD
Up to 1TB HDD, some models with SSD

Key Features

Blu-ray player, PlayStation Network, multimedia capabilities
Improved social features, PlayStation Plus, Share Play, touchpad on controller

Compare with Definitions

PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3's unique Cell processor was designed for high performance in gaming and multimedia tasks.
The Cell processor in my PlayStation 3 delivers impressive graphics for its time.

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 is Sony's fourth-generation console, emphasizing high-definition graphics and social gaming.
The graphics on my PlayStation 4 make every game look stunning.

PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3 controllers feature motion sensing technology.
Playing racing games is fun with the motion-sensing controller of my PlayStation 3.

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4's architecture is designed to attract a broader range of developers.
The diverse game library on PlayStation 4 is thanks to its developer-friendly architecture.

PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3 is Sony's third-generation home video game console with multimedia capabilities.
I watched Blu-ray movies and played games on my PlayStation 3 last weekend.

PlayStation 4

It features a user-friendly interface and integrated social features like Share Play and live streaming.
Sharing my gameplay on social media through my PlayStation 4 is seamless.

PlayStation 3

The console is compatible with Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and has a vast library of games.
My PlayStation 3 serves as both my game console and Blu-ray player.

PlayStation 4

The DualShock 4 controller includes innovative features like a touchpad and light bar.
The DualShock 4 controller enhances my gaming experience on the PlayStation 4.

PlayStation 3

It introduced the PlayStation Network for online gaming and digital content distribution.
I downloaded new games from the PlayStation Network on my PlayStation 3.

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 Pro offers enhanced performance and graphics for 4K gaming.
Playing games in 4K on my PlayStation 4 Pro is an incredible experience.

Common Curiosities

What's unique about PlayStation 3's processor?

PlayStation 3's Cell processor is unique for its time, providing high performance for gaming and multimedia tasks.

What are the key features of PlayStation 4?

Key features of PlayStation 4 include improved graphics, a user-friendly interface, social gaming features, and a broad game library.

Is online gaming available on both consoles?

Yes, both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 support online gaming through the PlayStation Network.

How does the PlayStation 4 controller differ from PlayStation 3's?

The PlayStation 4's DualShock 4 controller includes a touchpad, light bar, and improved ergonomics, unlike the DualShock 3.

What is PlayStation 4?

PlayStation 4 is Sony's fourth-generation console, offering enhanced graphics, a more user-friendly interface, and improved social gaming features.

What is PlayStation 3?

PlayStation 3 is Sony's third-generation gaming console, known for its multimedia capabilities and the introduction of the PlayStation Network.

Can PlayStation 4 play PlayStation 3 games?

Generally, PlayStation 4 does not natively support PlayStation 3 games, but some are available through the PlayStation Now streaming service.

How do storage options compare between the two?

PlayStation 3 offers up to 500GB HDD, while PlayStation 4 models range up to 1TB HDD, with some versions offering SSDs for faster performance.

Can I watch Blu-ray movies on both consoles?

Yes, both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 support Blu-ray and DVD playback.

What is PlayStation Plus?

PlayStation Plus is a subscription service on PlayStation 4 that offers free monthly games, online multiplayer, and other benefits.

Is 4K gaming available on both consoles?

4K gaming is primarily a feature of the PlayStation 4 Pro, a more powerful version of the PlayStation 4.

What is Share Play on PlayStation 4?

Share Play on PlayStation 4 allows players to invite a friend to join their game session remotely, even if the friend does not own the game.

Do both consoles support digital game downloads?

Yes, both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 allow for digital game purchases and downloads via the PlayStation Store.

Can I use PlayStation 3 accessories with PlayStation 4?

Most PlayStation 3 accessories are not compatible with PlayStation 4 due to differences in hardware and design.

How does the PlayStation 3's online ecosystem compare to PlayStation 4's?

The PlayStation 4's online ecosystem is more robust and integrated, with enhanced social features and a more seamless user experience.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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