Everyone remembers that the PSP was more or less a hacker’s dream. A strong, mobile device that could emulate game systems better portably than any other hardware at the time, and allowed for great homebrew? It’s no wonder that the system was and is so popular as a portable emulation/DOOM machine. For as popular as the PSP was for homebrew, however, the Vita has stayed mostly uncompromised.
Throughout the years there have been numerous hacks dealing with the system’s built-in PSP emulator, but native Vita hacks have been hard to come by. There have been a few releases, including brief access to the system’s package installer and the more recent PlayStation Mobile Dev Assistant-fueled “Rejuvenate” hacks, but even then – native homebrew has never been easy. That is, until today.
Yifan Lu, a longtime member of both the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS hacking scenes has released his webkit-flavored “Henkaku” native PlayStation Vita hack. Working on the system’s latest firmware, users can go to the hack’s website on their Vita to install the hack + an FTP client that can be used to transfer files and homebrew directly to the Vita’s operating system, completely bypassing the system’s previous file management restrictions. Following the communities SDK that was developed for use with Yifan Lu’s own previous “Rejuvenate” hack, players can install Homebrew such as emulators on the device, taking full advantage of the system’s power.
Although this isn’t a “kernel” hack – meaning hackers don’t have access to piracy quite yet – today’s hack is still very impressive. Users now have access to almost all of the system’s features, allowing Homebrew developers to develop games using features that aren’t even available in the official Sony SDK. Among other things, today’s hack allows for the PSTV “whitelist” to be installed on the latest system firmware – allowing players to play ANY PlayStation Vita title on the miniature home console. The only downside to the hack is that it must be installed every time the system is turned on.
It should be interesting seeing exactly what sort of Homebrew comes out for the system in the future; the PSP had a wide variety of emulators that to this day stand up well to their mobile counterparts. It’s very likely that we’ll be seeing emulators that the PSP couldn’t handle come to the Vita in the future alongside the inevitable DOOM port.