It’s been a busy and somewhat confusing weekend after the release of a groundbreaking hack for the PS Vita 3.60. The hack, nicknamed HENkaku, opened the door to native homebrews and customization of the PS Vita, as well as re-opening access to PSP homebrew. These things were possible before on lower firmwares through other hacks such as Rejuvenate, the email trick, or various ePSP exploits, but HENkaku made the whole process dead simple.
Combined with the fact that many tools such as VHBL now exist on the PS vita to unlock things pretty easily, it can be confusing what one and cannot do with HENkaku. Tinkerers and devs are still processing a lot of info here and over the weekend we’ve seen almost a release or important announce every hour. Here’s a summary of what you can or cannot do, currently, with your newly hacked PS Vita 3.60:
(as a reminder, HENkaku can be installed on your 3.60 PS Vita by simply visiting the official site henkaku.me on your PS Vita’s browser and clicking on the “Install” button)
Native PS Vita Homebrews on Vita 3.60 with HENkaku
The main goal of HENkaku is to enable native PS vita homebrews. There was some early confusion as we believed existing Rejuvenate homebrews from the 3.5x era would work. Technically they could, but the format is slightly different: HENkaku needs vpk files, while Rejuvenate used velf files (technically a vpk file is a zip file containing the velf file + some metadata, but Yifanlu gave the precision that most velf homebrews from Rejuvenate will not work out of the box without some recompilation).
To clear the confusion, there exist several lists of available Vita homebrews for the HENkaku 3.60 hack:
I’m proud to see that Half Byte Loader is still heavily used on the scene, more than 6 years after its initial release. (oh, and here’s to the naysayers who say every hack enables piracy: HBL/VHBL was never used to run PSP isos in its 6 years of existence).
Installing VHBL on your HENkaku enabled 3.60 PS Vita will let you run a wide collection of PSP homebrews, including a bunch of emulators.
Get PSP Homebrews here and here. Note: the process to prepare and install PSP homebrews from within VHBL is convoluted. Thankfully you should now be able to simply install your PSP Homebrews directly in /ux0:/pspemu/PSP/GAMES from the FTP in HENkaku’s shell. (People have confirmed this works)
Wagic, PSP homebrew running on the PS TV
PS Vita 3.60 Customization: PS TV Whitelist, Custom Themes, & more
Native access to the Vita system gives us ways to customize several aspects of the PS Vita. This includes improving game compatibility of the PS TV, installing custom themes, and more.
HENkaku gives you access to a lot of folders and files on the PS Vita. Besides PS TV whitelisting and Custom Themes, there are lots of things you can tinker with, but proceed carefully…
Beyond HENkaku: Access to more files, Save Decryption/Encryption, Game dumping, …PSP/Vita backups?
Scene Veteran SMOKE recently released a mod of the HENkaku Shell (molecular shell), giving access to more folders beyond the original app0, ur0, and ux0. With SMOKE’s mod, the shell gives you access to tm0, vd0, vs0,… Molecular shell can also be updated to enabled full read/write on a series of folders.
Note that you don’t need a mod, the folders are actually available from any FTP client through molecularshell, they’re just not visible. for example, going to folder gro0: in your FTP client should give you access to the current Vita cartridge. Technically this lets you dump the content of the Vita cartridge, as discussed here. This does not mean games can be pirated (the dump would be encrypted) but gives some hope to the people looking for piracy on the platform (Molecule team have stated they’ve taken steps to reduce the risk of piracy through their platform, while admitting that piracy cannot be prevented forever once the platform is open).
In parallel, popular hacker MrGas demonstrated he is able to decrypt/encrypt PS Vita Save Data. This is potentially a major breakthrough. It could enable, among other things, the search for future exploits in video games, which could become new entry points to exploits such as HENkaku.
PS Vita save decrypted
On the PSP front, a PSP kernel exploit would be required to run advanced PSP homebrews, plugins, and PSP backups. Nobody has stepped forward to announce such a release at this point. The Zett stated that VHBL will be redundant in the coming weeks, which seems to imply a bigger release could be out soon for the ePSP and HENkaku. Maybe a new PSP kernel exploit? (I do not have the details and will have to defer to The Zett on this one).
We’ll be following the developers very closely in the weeks to come, to keep you updated on all those fronts.