PS Vita graphic art

Handheld consoles have been around for many years, dating back to the early 1990s. Bringing the power of gaming into the palm of our hands, the PS Vita is Sony’s second venture into the handheld sub-market (after PlayStation Portable, PSP), and it has had a respectable following during its life cycle between 2011 and 2019.

To this very day, there are still many gamers who are interested in replaying PS Vita games, either for nostalgia or due to not owning one before (like me). With that in mind, can we play PS Vita games on our PCs, taking advantage of the latest gaming hardware?

Yes, we can play PS Vita games on our PCs via third-party emulators. However, it is strongly reminded that doing so comes with its risks, such as incompatibility issues or, worse, hidden malware.

For those committed to enjoying PS Vita games on the computer, though, here’s Gamer No 1’s test showcasing 30 Vita games being playable on his PC:

Almost every game can be played on the PC, including handheld ones. This gives the PC a slight edge over its fierce console rivals, especially PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

Even Nintendo, the company that has never developed any PC game throughout its history, is powerless to stop gamers from creating emulators that can run Nintendo Switch games on computers (unless specific laws and regulations are directly violated, culminating in lawsuits).

For now, gaming on PCs is arguably the best option to play other video game titles from various platforms, similar to how we can play Xbox games on PC without owning an Xbox console at all. The only argument that we might hear is that investing in a gaming PC can be quite costly, but if we know how to customize our rig correctly, even that is just another moot point to be considered.

How Do I Play PS Vita Games on PC?

Now that we know it’s possible to play PS Vita games using emulators on PC, how do we do that, exactly?

Well, to keep things straight, here’s how we can set up a PS Vita emulator on our computers via the most stable software available today, Vita3K:

  1. Visit the Vita3K website.
  2. Affirm that the PC meets the system requirements shared.
  3. Click on the ‘Download’ tab, and then download the ‘Windows Nightlies’ version (for PC).
  4. Extract the downloaded compressed file onto the computer.
  5. Launch Vita3K (click on Vita3K.exe).
  6. Follow through with the first-time installation process (including downloading PS Vita’s firmware updates), and then we’re good to go.

When it comes to running Vita games using Vita3K, we can either:

  • Download the corresponding Vita game ROMS from the Internet
  • ‘Dumping’ the Vita games by ourselves after purchasing the original copies, creating our ROMs

REMINDER: Creating ROMs by ‘dumping’ our Vita games is legal as long as we’ve purchased the original game copies beforehand. On the other hand, sharing/ distributing the ROMs to others is illegal, and is liable to be taken action against them.

Vita3K supports a few different ROM formats, but NoNpDrm and FAGDec are the most compatible with Vita3K so far, with their respective ‘dumping’ methods detailed on the Vita3K website accordingly.

For a better rundown, here’s ETA PRIME’s explanation of how to properly set up Vita3K on PC:

For better file management, we can always create a small folder to house all our Vita game ROMs in one place; putting them inside the same installation directory as other PC games too if necessary.

Is it Safe to Emulate PS Vita on PC?

Now that we know there is a working PS Vita emulator for PC, is it safe for us to install it?

Yes, Vita3K is a safe PS Vita emulator for PC. The program’s website has a 100% trust score on ScamAdviser, meaning people have been satisfied by its proven services and have not reported any malicious activities related to the software.

Nevertheless, the same can’t be said for ROMs that are downloaded from the Internet. Unless we ‘dump’ our own Vita games into ROMs, there is a 50/50 chance that game files acquired from the web might be infected with dangerous malware and viruses.

Besides that, not every Vita game is fully compatible with the software, and there is already a compatibility list being updated regularly on its website, for users to check. Just like how some PC games can suffer from bad visuals or glitchy graphics, the same can also happen to Vita games that aren’t completely supported by the program yet. 

Hence, it might be better for us to purchase the handheld console and buy its games from legitimate stores instead. Then again, I’m guilty of installing emulators on my computer as well, so who am I to judge?

Can PC Games be played on PS Vita?

Since we can now play PS Vita games on PC using emulators, can PC games be run on PS Vita too?

Yes, PC games can be played on PS Vita via remote play using third-party software. The most popular program many people use for this is Moonlight, allowing the PS Vita to ‘stream’ video games that are being played on the computer.

CAUTION: Playing PC games on PS Vita using external software requires the installation of custom firmware (CFW), ’jailbreaking’ the console as a result.

Setting up remote play on a PS Vita isn’t quite as easy as downloading an emulator, though. The whole process can be rather confusing and time-consuming for common users. Just look at how Robles Junior does it:

Still, when done correctly, we can play our favorite PC games, like the latest Resident Evil 4 Remake, using a PS Vita anywhere at home, even on the couch. By investing our finances into building a good gaming PC, we can even take advantage of cloud gaming features too, adopting a similar concept that’s applied to the PS Vita here.

With everything going digital these days, the gap between PC and consoles – including handheld ones – is slowly being reduced every day. For PS Vita owners, this can only be a good thing, moving forward.

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