The future of HENkaku: what’s next for PS Vita hacks?
HENkaku was released a bit more than 2 months ago and resuscitated the PS Vita scene. After weeks of frenzy and several releases, we’re now entering a bit quieter phase. Still a steady amount of cool releases, but the initial passion is now leaving room for what I hope is going to be long lasting love.
So what can we expect for PS Vita hacks in the mid to long term future?
The PS vita impressed us with a collection of emulators running almost out of the box as soon as Henkaku was released. We’ve been seeing steady improvements on these emulators (Retroarch started adding dynarec support recently, meaning more speed improvements), and we should expect them to easily top what was doable on the PSP.
Emulators on the PS Vita dramatically extend the library of games on the device, and I would expect this to keep being one of the main targets for people hacking their PS Vita.
There’s also the expectation to see more and more emulated systems supported, in particular through Retroarch.
We’re driving the GekiHEN contest with a few other sites of the Vita scene. It runs through January, so you still have lots of time to work on your homebrew and submit your entry.
My personal motivation as a sponsor of this event is to give people motivation to write more homebrews and keep the scene alive. The cash prizes are a forcing factor to ensure we’ll see cool homebrew show up, and avoid people “calling it a day” once we only have emulators.
I’m looking forward to seeing cool utilities, homebrews, ports, and maybe more!
Do we need a “custom firmware” on the PS Vita? I’d say that this would be the next cool thing to explore: an all-in-one solution to add features to HENkaku. Maybe better integrated support of custom themes, support for plugins in every mode of the Vita, better music or video players, a cool integrated options menu that would include all of the registry hacks and more… Most of that could be made available through homebrew, but I think a fully integrated solution would be pretty cool.
Cheaper Memory Cards?
There’s been ongoing hardware work to try and reverse engineer the PS Vita memory cards. The sony proprietary cards are overpriced, and everyone’s looking forward to the possibility to use nano SD cards instead of the Vita memory sticks.
Although that work is not directly related to software hacks such as HENkaku, there’s a possibility that having access to the OS through HENkaku could help making progress on these. There might after all be ways to hack the firmware at runtime in order to accept some different (less “secure”) memory cards?
PS vita Emulator
Work on a PS Vita emulator would be to me the next big step in the Vita Hacking process. With full access to the system, it is my understanding that there should now be possibilities to fully reverse engineer the system, which typically is done by the people trying to write an emulator.
I’m honestly surprised to not have seen several teams working on this by now, although I have to assume this is happening but most serious teams are probably keeping their work under wraps until they have something useful. It might take years, as console systems are becoming way more complex than they used to be. There’s also the grey legal are in which such projects evolve, which might be impacting the enthusiasm of some hackers.
Last but not least, for those of you expecting a Vita hack for Firmware 3.61 or above, I’ve answered that question in details here: Should you expect a hack for Vita firmware 3.61? Spoiler alert: your best bet is to buy a 3.60 PS Vita.
Where do you think the Vita scene is headed next?