A major PlayStation Vita development has occurred. But, it wasn’t due to anything Sony did. Rather, it is thanks to a group known as Team Molecule. This hacking group busted the Vita wide open. HENkaku is a jailbreak that permanently unlocks the handheld. This means access to a whole new world for Vita owners, one that makes the console relevant.
It’s something we’ve seen with Sony handhelds before. Sony tries to keep up and support a system like the PlayStation Portable or PlayStation Vita. It falters and fails. Support essentially ends, outside of third party games. It is then that ordinary fans step in. With their know-how, they make the systems relevant again. It’s a fantastic way of showing how people’s love for systems can make them appealing again.
Take the PSP. There are plenty of groups that support the handheld with custom firmware, even now. Team PRO is one of them, with its Pro custom firmware. Another is Team M33, which put together the M33 CFW. In fact, Mathieulh, a member of Team M33, released its source back in May as part of the CFW’s tools’ tenth anniversary. These people went above and beyond to make tools and firmware people could use to run homebrew, emulators, and do incredible things with their PSPs.
This opened up the console. While some people of course would use such a thing to pirate games, others used it for more creative pursuits. Silveredge, Wagic: The Homebrew, and PSP Revolution were all original games people made and shared. Super Mini Mario was a Super Mario clone with level editor. Lamecraft was a take on Minecraft. There were file managers for people to use, as well as web browsers, ebook readers, programs to play music, and applications that back up games’ save files. And, thanks to how easy it was to mod the system, anyone could start using custom firmware.
Now, we’re on the precipice of that happening for the Vita. It’s all because of HENkaku. With the release of what could be a permanent unlock, we could see people getting the chance to open up this the same way they did with their PSPs. Custom firmwares, original games, and helpful applications could be on the way. People could create and share new things and, with more people having a chance to work with it, the hardware could see a resurgence in popularity and relevance.
After all, Team Molecule already has a showcase up for different apps that can run with HENkaku’s help. There’s a Vita-8 Chip-8 emulator, which would allow people to program and run games and applications. There are emulators, test programs, and ports of some iconic games. Already, there is potential there and interest. The knowledge that the exploit won’t be easily shutdown only encourages more activity.
It is reassuring to know there is hope when companies let us down. Skilled fans came through for the PSP, and now they are doing the same for the Vita. While Sony may have faltered when it came to keeping their handhelds in the spotlight, others are stepping up. Custom firmware and the homebrew scene helped make the PSP relevant again. Now that HENhaku is here, it seems like the same could happen for the Vita. It could rise again, thanks to the people who love and appreciate it.