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Despite having two successors as of 2022, the PlayStation 3 still remains a solid console from Sony’s line of home entertainment systems. When the company released the device as part of the seventh generation of gaming consoles throughout the industry, it entered into competition with major consoles like the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and Nintendo’s Wii. Although its initial reception among gamers was mixed, it has maintained a fond following even among those in the community who might already own some of the later consoles.
With that said, some gamers notice that games can look a bit blurry when they are playing on this console. We will try to get at the heart of why this might occur in today’s article. Additionally, we can talk about some of the things that you might be able to do in order to improve the quality of the graphics on a PS3 system.
To get further into this, we will also address the typical native resolutions at which most PS3 games display their images, why your games might not display themselves in higher resolutions, and whether it might be worth it to try to play any games on a television that displays things in 4K.
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Before we get into why PS3 games might look blurry, we need to point out that the console can seem a bit dated by today’s gaming standards.
Technology like this tends to improve at a relatively rapid pace, and it doesn’t take many years before companies release new versions with better hardware that can do more things. All of this is something that developers do quickly in order to increase immersion levels in gaming, but it doesn’t mean that older consoles, and particularly games that developers made with that hardware in mind, are completely obsolete.
However, these things do mean that gamers might need to manage their expectations with how older games running on past hardware might look, even if they have new displays to see the graphics. As we touched on, some of the things here have to do with the limitations of the games in question, and others might depend on the specific settings you can change for the console or the TV.
If you are noticing blurriness on some of your PS3 titles, this might mean that you are playing the games on a display that is much more modern than the technology the developers of these games had at the time. This does not make the games unplayable, but it does mean accepting some limitations of the software.
Mostly, you will find that PS3 games tend to look blurry due to upscaling. Some gamers may refer to this concept as image scaling, too. When you hook up your PS3 to a more modern output device that is supposed to display graphics at higher resolutions, it may need to upscale things in order to work properly.
Upscaling involves magnifying the original image to better fit the size and resolution of a bigger, more modern display. There are other things involved, but this is the main thing to take away from PS3 consoles mixed with newer display hardware.
When the magnification occurs, it warps some of the image, and it can make textures that developers designed for lower resolutions appear blurry as a result. In fact, because of the native capabilities of PS3 consoles and titles that developers created for these devices at the time, upscaling can even occur more than once if the television is modern enough. This would mean that you are increasing the likelihood that a game that is for the PS3 is going to look blurry or otherwise subpar when you try to run it.
To address this question properly, we will mostly focus on what you might be able to tweak in order to make a game look less blurry. This is true if you are using more modern output devices.
Consoles tend not to be very modular. Along with this, we need to point out that there is only so much you can do with older hardware that runs older games. You may be able to make spot improvements here and there, but you do have limitations based on what the developers intended for the display of their games at the time.
For the displays themselves, there might be a couple of things you can do in order to make the graphics on PS3 games look a bit better:
1. Some HDTVs come with high sharpness settings. Although sharper images are better, it is possible that turning this setting down on your output device might improve the quality of the graphics. The hardware of the TV itself might be trying to improve the image too much, or it may expect the graphics to be of a base quality that the game does not support. Turning some settings down might help the output to look more like how the game should.
2. Similarly, you might alter the aspect ratio in which the television displays the imagery. Making a smaller aspect ratio might help to reduce the blurriness and other negative effects you might see from older games. Part of this may have to do with upscaling.
Stretching the image blurs the pixels that make up the textures in the game. Forcing a smaller aspect ratio will mean that the display cuts out much of the physical space in which it could otherwise put the textures. However, this can also result in tighter textures that look how they should for the PS3.
3. Should your TV have a special game or low-latency mode, you can try enabling either of these. Some modern televisions have entire suites of settings that developers design in order to help them run older hardware and display it in as native a way as possible.
Most PS3 titles should run at or near 720p. You may find some titles that are supposed to run at a maximum of 1080p.
For the most part, these are probably going to be digital titles that you will find on the PlayStation Network. There are a few games that might not output even up to 720p.
There are a few reasons why this could be, but we should go back to the previous topic briefly. Remember that most titles are for 720p resolutions. Unless a particular game has 1080p capabilities, you will be dealing with upscaling when you do display a title at this resolution.
In this way, you could say that you aren’t necessarily missing anything when you play a game in 720p, and this is how the developers meant for you to enjoy their work. Having said that, many gamers do want to upscale to 1080p. If this is you, there are a few things you can try:
1. Check the back of the box, if you already have a physical copy of the game. If you do not, you can search for valid information about the title of your choice online.
In either case, you should be able to find information on all the resolutions that the game will support. While most output to 720p natively, some of them can at least support higher resolutions. Check the back of the box or online info to see which ones your games can support. This would help you to know which ones to bother changing at all.
2. There could be a problem with the specific HDMI cable you are using. The HDMI communication standard helps to make sure that the resolution between the console and the output device is at the highest or best settings that you prefer.
This cable tells the output device which resolutions are even possible. Therefore, if it is bad, it may not be able to send this information correctly. Try changing the cable to see if the results improve.
3. Alternatively, you may have a glitch in your television’s firmware that is preventing the proper display of 1080p. If so, you can try either updating or rolling back this firmware to see if that changes anything.
4. If it is the console that might be the issue, you can try putting it back to its default settings to see if that clears things up for your games.
Yes, you can play these titles on a 4K television. The results of this can vary based on the settings that the television can activate for your games. On one hand, it will certainly need to upscale the graphics of the game in order to fill the screen of a 4K TV.
This may cause some stretching or noticeable effects that some gamers might perceive as negative. However, many 4K TVs also have good post-processing effects that you can use.
Post-processing will usually clean up an image in various ways. This ability means that some 4K TVs can still improve a lot of PS3 textures to look even better than they do on other resolutions or displays.
PS3 graphics might look bad to some gamers, but much of this problem is the result of limitations on the hardware you are using. Because consoles are not things you upgrade, the graphics have limitations that the processor places on them.
Some of the more modern TVs have settings that can improve these graphics at the output stage, and this is thanks to good post-processing settings. If you cannot see any differences, use some of our tips to see if there is a problem with the console, TV settings, or cables that you are using.