PS2 emulator PCSX2 adds Vulkan support

PCSX2 now supports Vulkan, and it "should make a couple of harder to run games much easier to play"

PlayStation 2 classic Ratchet & Clank rendered in Vulkan on PCSX2

While old games may be locked in the time they were developed, ways to play those old games are being improved all the time. A major update for the popular PlayStation 2 emulator PCSX2 has implemented support for the Vulkan API, offering an alternative to DirectX or OpenGL rendering that could bring better performance in many games.

“A lot of people were asking for a Vulkan renderer and courtesy of Stenzek it is finally here,” the PCSX2 devs say in a tweet. “It performs better than OpenGL in a lot of cases on similar blending levels so it should make a couple of harder to run games much easier to play.”

Stenzek is best known as the developer behind PlayStation 1 emulator DuckStation, and says the new Vulkan option should be more efficient, future-proof, and faster (“Vulkan can handle high blending loads where even Nvidia’s GL driver struggles,” Stenzek says) than the existing DirectX or OpenGL rendering.

Whether Vulkan is better in all instances remains to be seen – given the often fiddly nature of emulation as an end user, that’s unlikely for now – but it should offer better performance in quite a few cases.

Development on PlayStation emulators is hitting several new milestones in 2022. PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 now has support for the XMB, and while that support is still limited and experimental, it’s exciting to see such a core part of the PS3 experience replicated on modern hardware.