Consoul's Blog Consoul Games: PSP Hacked Already

Friday, May 06, 2005

PSP Hacked Already

It has begun. Less than six months after its japanese debut, the PSP has been hacked. A guy going by the name of nem has posted the first homebrew PSP binary over at Nem's HelloWorld program proves that it is possible to boot unsigned code from the PSP's memory stick duo. It's worth noting that the code was reportedly written entirely from scratch (ie. legally - without the use of Sony's SDK).

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This marks the start of the PSP's homebrew scene, which I anticipate will take off rather quickly. Given the PSP's similarity to the PS2, and the highly evolved nature of the PS2 dev scene, I suspect we'll be seeing unofficial movie player software (that allows movies on memory stick to play at PSP's full native resolution) and emulators like MAME on PSP in the not too distant future.

There is a catch of course. For now, homebrew code can only be run on PSP's with the original version 1.00 firmware. Only the original Japanese PSP's were shipped with this firmware and many of these have already been updated to v1.50 via the Network Update function. The US PSPs all shipped with v1.50 and the new Japanese PSPs now on sale come with v1.50 installed. There is no way to downgrade an updated PSP back to version 1.00. As such, most PSPs in circulation right now (and all PSPs sold in future) will be unable to run homebrew code via the current method. It's likely that Sony will make firmware updates mandatory in future game releases to try to stamp this out. Homebrew code in-and-of-itself doesn't really pose a major threat to Sony, but some of the possible implications of running unsigned code on PSP are going to be causing a few sleepless nights at SCE right now.

Most notably, legendary cracking group Paradox have cracked the UMD format, allowing them to dump the contents of UMD games to ISO files. They have released several ISOs of launch games already, but currently have no means of making them playable. You don't have to be a genius to work out that making these ISOs playable off memory stick duo is going to be a high priority in the underground dev scene.

Interesting times ahead.


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