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Circuit Breaker

The PS4 gets hacked for homebrew software and PS2 emulation, but there’s a catch

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It only works on firmware from 2016

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The biggest hack for Sony’s PlayStation 4 has arrived, and now enterprising owners can do things like install Linux and run their own games, via Eurogamer.

Before you dive down a rabbit hole of forum posts to turn your PS4 into the ultimate homebrew gaming machine, there’s a big catch: the hack only works on consoles running the PS4’s 4.05 firmware. The 4.05 firmware dates back to 2016 and was patched with firmware 4.06 (released in November of that year). If you have a PS4 sitting unplugged in a closet since 2016, chances are it may have just dramatically appreciated in value.

Along with the usual homebrew efforts of installing cracked copies of PS4 games, developers have cleverly reverse-engineered Sony’s existing PS2 Classics for PS4 titles, resulting in an installable wrapper that users can use to put almost any PS2 game (assuming they have an ISO file for the title). That’s led to a dramatically larger lineup of backwards compatible PS2 games on the PS4 than Sony’s official offerings on the store.

For now, given that there are so few consoles that can actually run the hack, this is more of an interesting note than an indication of a rampant wave of homebrew hacking and piracy in the PS4’s immediate future. But if a later hack is able to run on more modern firmware, it clearly shows that there’s plenty of folks out interested in circumventing Sony’s store.