Sony Playstation Portable and the hacking scene – 9 Years of Development
The Sony PSP (Playstation Portable) first officially launched on December 12, 2004 in Japan. It has one of the biggest console development scenes ever.
Hackers first began to discover exploits in the PSP that can be used to run unsigned code. On 15th June 2005 the hackers distributed the cracked code of the PSP on the internet. They would refuse to apply updates which would render their hacks unusable and so Sony attempted to convince users that there was an advantage to updating by including a few new features in each firmware update.
This game of cat and mouse went on till 2007, when former hacker Dark_AleX had discontinued his work on the PSP, citing perceived problems with Sony as one of the reasons for his withdrawal. Urban legends said that he was paid by Sony not to release any more custom firmware.
Here’s a picture of a PSP running unsigned content.
After Dark_AleX left, the PSP Scene almost vanished, due to the inability to crack the most recent firmwares. It was around that time that HBL was introduced. Its purpose was to allow you to run homebrews, but with no support to piracy. It served its purpose pretty well, and hackers were able to use it to once again run unsigned content. Thanks to m0skit0 and ab5000 who released an alpha version, which was initially created for the Medal of Honor Heroes exploit.
HBL was subsequently ported to several other user-mode exploits, and also served as base for other projects, like the PRO CFW project. When the Patapon 2 demo exploit was found and leaked, wololo had joined the project and began porting it to the latest firmware at that time. (6.20) And a couple months later TN, had got up his HEN (Homebrew Enabler) running using the Patapon exploit, and thus the PSP Custom firmware scene continued making its progress, with two alternate custom firmwares PRO and ME.
It’s tough to summarize 10 years of hacking, apologies for the summary above that intentionally ignores many aspects of the scene’s history. But the main point of this article is to convince users that PSP Scene still hasn’t given in as yet. Although it’s been 10 years since the console first officially launched in Japan, there are still some pretty interesting projects being worked on. This article won’t really amuse any Vita users, since it’s mainly focused on the PSP, but hey! The Vita scene is pretty much non-existent compared to the old PSP scene. That’s because all vita homebrew run in a PSP Sandbox anyway, which is called eCFW. (Emulated custom firmware)
What it basically does is that it allows to run PSP homebrews, via a psp emulator. It also emulates psp’s XMB. (Seen on TN-V) So we can say that part of the PSP still lives on within its younger brother, the PS Vita. 😛 However I’m afraid, once the vita stops depending on PSP’s emulation for running unsigned content, this might inflict the PSP Scene. As most of the projects, are being worked on using the PSP SDK, it might divert developer’s interest once the Vita makes its way on its own.
As you can already tell from reading my blog posts, yes I’m a PSP guy. (Long live #Team PSP ) I’ve always supported the PSP scene ever since I’ve got one. I’ve only had one which is a PSP Go, and I still have and use it. I’ll give you a brief insight of what’s going on in the PSP scene today.
Here are some projects that are promising enough to look forward to:
- uOFW – The Reverse Enginerring of the Low Level PSP Modules
- RetroArch – A Multi System Emulator being ported to PSP.
- PSP Module Analyzer
- Create plugins using Lua(a programming language that is much less complicated than C).
- Daedalus – An N64 Emulator.
- One Lua – A brand new Lua Interpreter, based on OSLib
- Lamecraft Mods, still being continued.
- Pokemon Jade/Obsidian.
Who knows there also might be some other interesting stuff that hasn’t been released to the public.
Oh and also, I don’t know if anyone’s interested, but I’m slowly working on a project called CyanogenMod PSP-C. I don’t think it’s that important, but my goal is to make it like something similar to iRShell. Before you ask, no, it’s not an official port and it won’t allow you to run android apps. It’s just an advanced GUI menu(Like 138 menu and py menu, seen on the vita), that’ll allow you to do everything a PSP can do, with a few extra goodies, that influences the design of CyanogenMod roms seen on Android.
Anyways I guess I’ll wrap this up here. I wanna take the time out to thank all the devs, for making the PSP scene into what it is today. You guys know who you are. I don’t mean just the developers who have worked on programming custom firmware, homebrew loaders and stuff, but also those who developed homebrews and emulators that kept the scene going. I wouldn’t have gotten one if it wasn’t for you guys. Seriously, the PSP SDK, and all these homebrews are brilliant! It’s incredible how they managed to do this from scratch. Even Sony finds it amusing, as stated by Jack Tretton:
I think that is something that is in the works. We certainly see some of the stuff that has been done via homebrew, and it’s incredibly creative. And I think we’d like to try and tap into that a little bit more.
I Hope you guys find this article interesting to read. Be sure to share your thoughts about the past or current PSP scene below.