Our good friends The Z and npt were at Gamescom this week, and found out that the Vita they tried had a 1.69.1 Debug firmware.
In the video below, they are showing us some of the interesting features of the Vita debug firmware.
The Debug firmware is clearly aimed at developers who work on the Vita, and offers features to efficiently test games and apps. According to the video, these features include a Package Installer (this apparently needs to run through CMA in order to copy packages), which, as the name implies, allows to install (unsigned?) packages. The firmware also apparently offers a way to download content to the console without having to go through CMA, a feature that, honestly, even retail units should be offering.
The debug firmware also lets you choose which server to download Updates from, an option to fake a 3g network from wifi (to test 3g functionality), a possibility to fake lots of parameters (such as free disk space, etc…), options to change key bindings (in particular X and O can apparently be exchanged), a feature to change your region settings, and, did I spot a way to switch user accounts easily?
For people who are eager to actually “test” this, it is interesting to note that the Vita debug firmware seems to ship with an interesting security feature: It requires to be activated with a new key every 90 days. This is probably to mitigate the impact of a potential leak of such a firmware, as Sony most likely don’t want to see a new “convert your console into a debug unit and play games for free” situation anytime soon! It is assumed that if you fail to re-activate the console within 90 days, it will refuse to boot or to run anything.
Another interesting feature of the debug firmware is the possibility to investigate the Ram in case of a crash, with the possibility to retrieve core dumps. This is clearly aimed at game developers, but it something I’m sure lots of hackers would like to see too 🙂
So, there you go. Lots of interesting features, on a firmware that, even if leaked, will most likely refuse to run on your devices. Nevertheless, cool info in my opinion 🙂