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Playing Playstation 3 Stereoscopic 3D games on PSVR in glorious actual HMD-style Stereo 3D is POSSIBLE after all on REAL HARDWARE (not PS3 emulation on PC!)

I think I stumbled on this method today and I couldn't find anyone who had gotten this to work online. HOWEVER, feel free to call me out, if this is old news please!

What you need:

(Required) Playstation 3 console that can set the QA flag (for example via custom firmware)

(Required) Playstation 4 console with PSVR headset and processor unit + cables, Playstation Camera

(Required (I think)) Any 3D Blu ray to play on the PS4 via PSVR to get the headset into cinema mode

(Optional) HDMI Splitter/Switcher to allow both PS3 and PS4 console to hook up to the PSVR processor unit INPUT at the same time (saves hotplugging the HDMI cables) My method below uses hotplugging, as I don't have an HDMI splitter/switcher myself.

(Required) Running the PS4 and PS3 at the same time (yeah I know, it's not exactly the most environmentally friendly way of playing 3D PS3 games…)


So I've been a 3D gaming and VR fan for a long time and started out with Virtual Boy and NVIDIA 3D Vision shutter glasses all those years ago. After not using my PSVR in a long time, but reading about how good "The Puppeteer" was as a 3D enabled PS3 exclusive game, I was kind of bummed out that all those great Stereoscopic 3D titles on PS3 are mostly stuck on that platform and linked to obsolete 3D TV technology that every TV manufacturer has given up on.

Then I remembered that one of the most memorable experiences on PSVR for me was simply watching the 3D Blu ray for "James Cameron's Avatar" on the PS4 via the PSVR headset a couple of years back. Essentially the 3D Blu ray playback is simply taking the side-by-side encoded video from the disc and creating a stereo 3D image in the headset.

So I assumed that the PS3 would probably handle the output of 3D enabled games in a similar way and produce a side-by-side signal via HDMI that is normally meant to be processed by a 3D compatible TV or display. The problem is that the PS3 will never recognize a PSVR headset as a 3D compatible display, thus the signal is simply output as a 2D feed that the PSVR headset can display without issue, BUT it's simply a large virtual screen with a flat image.

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My method:

1) First of all you need to force your PS3 into ALWAYS trying to display the 3D version of a compatible game. This can be done via the debug settings, if you have a way of enabling the QA flag. The inspiration/confirmation to try this came from this video:

Setting "3D Video Output" to ON instead of AUTO in the debug menu will ensure that the PSVR headset can be correctly recognized as a 3D compatible device to the PS3.

2) The next step is to connect up PSVR as you would normally to your PS4, MAKING SURE to hook up EVERYTHING as if you wanted to play a PSVR game on PS4. Especially connecting the PS4 to the processor unit via USB and having the Playstation Camera set up and calibrated is essential.

2a) (The following steps 2a and 2b only need to be done once!) Now start up the PS4, the PSVR headset and the PS3 console. Once everything has loaded up, unplug the PS4 console's HDMI cable from the PSVR processor unit and plug in the PS3 HDMI cable. You should now be able to see the PS3's main menu on your PSVR headset (and also your regular TV, if you've connected the HDMI output from the PSVR processor unit.

2b) Go into the PS3's "Display Settings" (with your PSVR headset connected and displaying the PS3's output) and select "HDMI" and "Automatic". The screen will go black for a while and then suggest 1080p as the preferred resolution. Confirm this. BAM! Due to the changed 3D setting in the debug menu, you are suddenly asked to confirm the 3D screen size on the next screen. *Now I'm not sure if the size setting actually has any impact on how large/good/effective the 3D is displayed on the PSVR headset, but this is something to try out. (I tried both 25 inches and 150 inches and couldn't really see a difference. Confirm these settings and also run the "Set Audio Output Settings" wizard as well that automatically starts after the "Display Settings" anyway. Do the automatic configuration and the PSVR headset will be recognized as a 2ch PCM compatible screen. (It's possible other options also work, but I'm not sure the PS3 would downscale Dolby Surround or DTS correctly to the PSVR headset.)

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3) Now if you were to simply start up any Stereo 3D compatible PS3 game, you would get the "3D warning screen", however the game will simply display in 2D on the virtual screen inside the PSVR headset. Also, there is no sound! Both of these issues will be resolved, thanks to James Cameron 😉

  1. Unplug the PS3 HDMI cable and plug back the PS4 HDMI cable into the PSVR processor unit. Back on the PS4 and viewing through the PSVR headset, have a 3D Blu ray inserted and start it up. Although, before it's best to set your PSVR headset screen calibration (by holding down the "Options" button on the DS4 controller) BEFORE you start up the 3D Blu ray playback! Once you have any actual stereo 3D image show up (my version of Avatar actually has a warning screen in full 3D right at the beginning, even before the menu), PAUSE the playback of the 3D Blu ray and make sure to NOT call up the Blu ray menu or press the Playstation Button, as this will revert to 2D cinema mode (for some reason). (You could potentially also let the movie run, but in my theory pausing is more elegant, UNLESS that triggers the PS4 to stop playback after an IDLE PERIOD. Couldn't test this yet!)

  2. With the 3D Blu ray playback paused and with a full 3D still image being displayed on the PSVR headset, UNPLUG the PS4 HDMI cable from the PSVR processor unit and INSERT the PS3's HDMI cable instead. (Can't remember if the 3D compatible game had to be already running on the PS3, but I don't think so…)

  3. Voila, you are now playing any 3D compatible PS3 game in FULL STEREO 3D on the huge virtual screen of the PSVR headset 🙂 *Tested with Ridge Racer 7, Batman: Arkham City and Puppeteer (of course!)

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I couldn't believe that my theory actually worked out exactly as expected, but it did 🙂

Some caveats:

The PS4 console needs to be running and it ABSOLUTELY needs to stay connected via the USB cable to the PSVR processor unit. Also, the 3D Blu ray needs to be playing/paused on an actual stereo 3D image, as this triggers the "3D cinema mode" on the PSVR headset instead of the "2D cinema mode".

Yes, the biggest hurdle for most might be getting a PS3 console that can unlock the debug menu. Not sure if this only works on CFW enabled consoles, but I was under the impression that kiosk units, for example, have the debug menu unlocked. Also, there may be easier ways to unlock the QA flag than using a full CFW.

There may be other limitations as well, but from what I tested everything worked pretty logically and as expected.

Thanks for reading this HUGE wall of text and have fun trying this out (if you still care for PS3 3D games that is :p )


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