HENkaku: are you at risk of a ban?
PS Vita 3.60 hack HENkaku was released only a couple days ago, and it seems the main concern people are having about this hack is the risk of a ban from Sony. although in the past Sony has not banned PS vita users for using hacks on their PS Vita, this time the risk is real.
To the best of my knowledge, nobody had been banned for using PS Vita related hacks in the past 5 years, since the console was launched. Past PS vita hacks were minor, and in general did not interact much with the vita system itself: ePSP hacks were constrained to PSP homebrews and piracy, a battle that Sony had lost a very long time ago and probably didn’t care about. The Rejuvenate hack, which came later for firmwares 3.5x, was limited to homebrews and got quickly patched by Sony. It was also impractical to install and use (the hack required the PS Vita to be connected to a computer to launch every single homebrew), so the lack of ban here can most likely be attributed to the small reach of the hack.
Email based tricks that surfaced later on allowed to whitelist more games on the PS TV, install custom themes, install apps such as Netflix in restricted areas, etc… the usage was interesting but still fairly limited. Nobody has been banned for using these tricks as far as I know.
Today however, HENkaku enables widespread access to PS vita hack, on the latest firmware, and in a very convenient way. Despite the hack developers’ intent to not enable piracy on the device, there are already ongoing talks about how doable this might be.
Piracy’s not there yet, but we’re already seeing the possibility of Savegame hacks, which could lead to cheats. Offline cheats are one things, but if people start using hacks on the PS Vita to trick trophies or, worse, online gaming, you can expect Sony’s banhammer to hit hard. We’re not there yet, as officially no piracy or savegame hack is available for the PS vita yet on the latest firmware.
A bigger concern however is that the bubbles created through HENkaku show up in your gaming feed. If you thought Sony didn’t know, well now they know. (let it gooo…)
— ounaf fanou (@OunafFanou) July 31, 2016
Being banned from the PSN in 2010 on your PSP was not a big deal. Having your main account banned on the PS Vita or PS4 can be a significant blow. This could mean loss of your PS+ games, all of your digital library, your trophies, and a lot more.
One specific user on Twitter told me they got banned from using HENkaku. Apparently the ban was either temporary or a fluke, as that user got back online within a few hours. If Sony were totake action on HENkaku, I’m convinced they wouldn’t act that fast anyway, so that one can probably be dismissed. Then again, be careful.
— 84NK5Y (@rolleragresivo) July 30, 2016
@frwololo i reinstall official firmware from recovery via usb and format 5 times.
Now i can play online Killzone whiout ban
— 84NK5Y (@rolleragresivo) July 30, 2016
It seems it would make sense at this point to not use your main PS Vita account to use anything related to HENkaku. Even if you’re not doing anything fundamentally wrong, Sony could massively ban the entire list of users, independently of what people are actually doing (or not with the hack).
Additionally, if you’re using HENkaku, it’s a good idea to sign-out of your PSN account (in settings > Playstation Network). also make sure to disable automatic system updates (Settings > System > Auto start settings)
Other people recommend to delete your playlog (ur0:user/xx/shell/playlog) and reboot the vita after being done playing with HENkaku. There is no confirmation that such a trick actually hides any of your activity from Sony, but you can join that conversation here.
Update: Several people have called me out on this article (including Yifanlu), stating that VHBL bubbles have shown in people’s feeds since a long time ago, and nobody’s ever been banned for that. But I stand by what I wrote: With the popularity of HENkaku, way, way higher than VHBL hacks have been so far, the risk of ban is now real. With that being said, I need to give the precision again that nobody has ever been banned for using a PS Vita hack so far, and that includes HENkaku for now.
@frwololo this is a scare piece. VHBL bubbles also show up in activities. That tweet seems fake (Sony does not give such msgs).
— Yifan (@yifanlu) July 31, 2016
Are you using your actual PSN account to use HENkaku?