PlayStation 4 emulation is still in its infancy, and you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re many years off from PS4 games being completely playable on your PC. While there’s still a lot of work to be done to make that happen, PS4 emulation seems to be progressing quite nicely. A Linux-only in-development PS4 emulator called Spine has shown some amazing progress lately, and the latest builds can actually boot some games. The emulator still has many bugs, but having only been in development for a little over two years, the list of titles that make it in-game is a lot bigger than you may expect.
Spine is being developed in private and is closed source, but a flatpak package of the emulator was released back in 2019 alongside a YouTube video showing off some of the titles that ran well, such as Stardew Valley and the Megaman Legacy Collection.
In the two years since that last release, Spine has improved a lot, though a lot of bigger and more complex 3D titles still aren’t fully playable. We can see just how improved the emulator is thanks to a fresh Linux build that was recently shared online (with permission from the developer) by scene member @notzecoxao (via Wololo). The vast majority of the 1,000 games that were tested don’t work; about 45% of the games tested only get to the intro screen, and only about 35% of them will properly get you in-game.
As we just mentioned, the majority of the games that work are smaller 2D indie titles. Marvel’s Spider-Man, for instance, doesn’t work, and while some games like Persona 5 (but not Persona 5 Royal) render in-game graphics, they still perform terribly and are chock full of graphical glitches.
Still, Spine is a promising PS4 emulator despite its work-in-progress status. If you want to download Spine, you can check out the download link below, courtesy of Wololo. Keep in mind that you’ll need a hacked PS4 to pull decrypted firmware dependencies for Spine to function, and you’ll also need a hacked PS4 to dump your games as well.
As for why the emulator is Linux-only, it’s because that’s what the developer uses on their main PC. The developer plans to release the source code for the emulator in the future, but Windows support is nowhere near a guarantee in the meantime. The developer has also said that they will likely release updates more frequently from now on, so we can hopefully expect to see more news about Spine in the near future.