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PlayStation Vita has been hacked: here’s how to do it

PlayStation Vita

It’s been possible to run homebrew software on the PlayStation Vita for a while now, but pretty much all of these hacks only grant access to the PSP sandbox/environment.

In other words, those hoping to harness the Vita’s horsepower can’t do so, as the hacks are pretty much ports of hacks for Sony’s older console. Additionally, many of these hacks require loads of steps or a purchased game to accomplish.

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Now a new hack has been released, which has jump-started the seemingly tired PlayStation Vita homebrew scene. Dubbed Henkaku, the hack simply requires you to visit the website in question from your Vita or PlayStation TV, then click the “install” button to deliver full file explorer access and more.

How is it done?

The hack requires users to be on the latest 3.60 firmware oddly enough, but you’ll also need one of those preposterously priced PlayStation Vita memory cards.

Once you’ve hacked your machine, a new bubble/app is installed on it, called “molecularShell”. You’ll need to launch this app to browse through your files.

To transfer files from PC to Vita/PSTV, you’ll need to install an FTP client on your PC (the project recommends FileZilla). Once you’ve installed the FTP client on PC, you’ll need to hit the “select” button in molecularShell to reveal the console’s IP address. This IP address needs to be typed into your PC’s FTP client to connect the computer to the PlayStation Vita/PSTV.

This PlayStation Vita homebrew allows users to play GBA, Sega Master System and NeoGo games on the handheld

From here, you should be able to copy relevant files over to the console. It’s worth noting that homebrew apps needs to be in the VPK format to work.

It’s important to note that any time you power off the console, you’ll need to reinstall the hack (via the molecularShell utility), as the installed homebrew won’t work otherwise.

What kind of homebrew?

Seeing that the hack is only a few days old, there aren’t many homebrew apps and games to install yet. Still, it’s already possible to install the whitelist hack on PSTV, allowing you to play tons of previously incompatible Vita games.

Then there are the inevitable emulators, and I can confirm that the SNES9X emulator worked well on the console. Other compatible emulators are GenesisPlusVita, HandyVita (for Atari Lynx), NeoPop (for NeoGeo Pocket), SMSPlusVita (Sega Master System) and mGBA.

The Henkaku website lists a few more compatible bits of homebrew, such as a port of Doom, Numpty Physics and an FTP app. In fact, we’ve also seen a port of Quake 1 hit the console in the days following the hack.

There’s no doubting that we’ll see plenty more apps and games come as a result. But don’t expect to see support for PS1 and PSP titles – at least not from the hack’s developers.

“The usual response from hackers is ‘not our problem’ but we believe we can do better,” the developers said on their website.

“We carefully designed Henkaku to be as permissive as possible for developers to write homebrew supporting private APIs and the option to bypass sandboxes. However, we also made sure to make it as difficult as possible to repurpose our tools to enable piracy. While piracy is always inevitable, we will not make it easy.”

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