A hacked PS4 is required to decrypt and dump games before releasing them to warez distribution channels. Since firmware 4.05 is the highest publicly exploitable firmware, this means the game needs to require firmware 4.05 or less in order to run and be dumped.
Even if 1) was bypassed somehow (for example by someone running a private exploit on a higher firmware) games requiring firmware 4.06 or above to run, would not run on a hacked 4.05 PS4. In this scenario, we would see releases of 5.xx games on warez sites, but practically nobody would be able to run them.
Recently, a copy of Horizon Zero Dawn has been circulating on warez sites. The first release of the package file apparently originated from Russia (the first version of the pkg file only contained Russian audio for the game, although further releases have included English audio). And this warez release has been confirmed running on hacked PS4s 4.05, while Horizon Zero Dawn actually requires firmware 4.07.
We’ve been asking around to confirm if maybe the Russian release of Horizon Zero Dawn has a lower firmware requirement (4.05) than other regions, but from the replies we’ve received so far this does not seem to be the case.
This means that an individual, or a group, somewhere, could have been using a private exploit on a higher firmware (we know some people have access to 5.xx exploits, see here and here), and in the process confirming the method shared by Barthen to reduce firmware requirements of some games.
This could be very exciting confirmation of Barthen’s theory, but there are still questions surrounding this release from my perspective. In particular, why has only this one “higher firmware” game been released so far, if the technical possibility now exists to release more?