Why it matters: PlayStation 4 emulation is still in relative infancy and will likely prove a herculean task for developers, but early signs of progress have emerged. Most PS4 emulators currently struggle to boot games with any graphics, but FpPS4 is making headway on actually playing them.
The developer of the PlayStation 4 emulator FpPS4 claims it can play around 40 games, far more than other emulators. That number is a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of PS4 games available, but it's a promising early step.
The main limiting factor facing FpPS4 is that it can currently only play 2D games. Wololo.net reports that these include Sonic Mania, Super Meat Boy, Undertale, Arcade Archives VS. Castlevania, and a few others. These titles likely have noticeable glitches, but the developer considers them "playable."
Recently, FpPS4 managed to boot its first 3D game – Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival. Users can't meaningfully play the game but the test still represents a milestone for the emulator's development.
In total, 28 commercial games and 13 homebrew titles are playable in FpPS4 while another 20 can at least load some in-game graphics. A different emulator, Spine, can boot a few hundred PS4 games but only a handful are playable.
Due to the PS4's complex x86 processor and Radeon GPU, most emulators for the console are actually compatibility layers that work similarly to Wine. FpPS4 is a Windows x64 compatibility layer on Free Pascal while Spine runs exclusively on Linux. Users curious to try FpPS4 can get the latest version of the emulator and its source code from developer Red Prig's GitHub page.
Other PS4 emulation projects include Orbital, GPCS4, and Kyty. A former RPCS3 developer is performing early work on RPCS4.
PS4 emulators are clearly a long way from faithfully preserving collections of console-exclusive titles the way Super NES or Genesis emulators do. However, early achievements with projects like FpPS4 and Spine show that running more recent console platforms on PC isn't impossible.
Anyone looking into PS4 emulation should watch out for fakes like PCSX4 (not to be confused with the real PCSX and PCSX2). Some of the scams try to appear legitimate by using open-source remote play clients to stream games from real PS4s.