Complete Ps Vita Hacking Introduction, What Can A Hacked Ps Vita Do

The PS Vita has been out of production for several years now, but there is certainly still a market for this underrated handheld console. And thanks to hacking (also sometimes referred to as jailbreaking or modding), the Vita is perhaps more worthy of a purchase today than it was at launch.

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What can a hacked PS Vita do? Well, hacked PS Vita consoles allow for dozens of new and improved features, including but not limited to:

Playing emulators/ROMsPlaying all PSP gamesPlaying all PS1 gamesRunning backups of Vita titles from a memory cardUsing a microSD as a memory cardTuring the Vita into an all-in-one media playerReading patched copies of gamesdownloading and installing cheatsCustomizing the home screenOverclocking the VitaCreating save statesStreaming from a PCAltering various quality-of-life settingsPlaying homebrew games

This is simply a brief overview of some of the most notable features that come with hacking a PS Vita, but there are a ton of fantastic homebrew apps that continue to push the system beyond its perceived limits. (And if any of these additional features don’t quite make sense to you at the moment, don’t worry as we cover each in more detail just below.)

Note: This is by no means a guide to hacking the PS Vita. Doing so incorrectly could cause irreparable damage to the console. This is merely an educational walkthrough of some of the different features that are available to those who decide to install custom firmware onto their Vita.

Playing Emulators/ROMs


As a quick disclaimer, we don’t condone the use of pirated software, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention this feature as it is one of the leading reasons gamers decide to hack their consoles in the first place.

Sony’s original portable, the PSP, may still be the easier console to hack (however, neither is particularly difficult if following a good tutorial), but the Vita is the technically superior model. Like the PSP, the Vita isn’t the best platform for emulating Nintendo 64 games, but games from most consoles older than that – along with the Game Boy Advance – run with relative ease.

Playing All PSP Games

The PS Vita is technically backward compatible with the PSP, but the process of gaining access to all of your favorite previous generation titles isn’t exactly straight forward. The easiest way to play PSP games is through the Vita’s PlayStation Store. And this is fine if you don’t already own the game and if the game you want is actually on the store. Thankfully, the online store has a great selection of hundreds of PSP games, but there are still plenty of titles that are missing.

It’s also difficult to play PSP games you already own hard copies of on the Vita. Since the PS Vita doesn’t have the capabilities to read the PSP’s UMD discs, inserting these games into the console is out of the question. You can these games digitally from your old PSP, but you also need a PS3 in order to do so.

As you can see, there is no truly elegant solution to making the PS Vita fully backward compatible with the PSP library, but hacking the console does grant gamers the ability to backups of the original PSP games onto the Vita. Generally, digital copies of PSP games are preferable, as the drive on the PSP hardware is pretty noisy when reading discs.

Playing All PS1 Games


The Vita’s version of the PlayStation Store also has access to a ton of classic PS1 games. But the only way to gain access to the entire library of original PlayStation titles is by hacking the Vita. Like the PSP library, there are a ton of great PS1 classics available on the online store for the Vita, but there are plenty of fantastic titles still missing. And luckily, original PlayStation games look and play just as well (if not better depending on patches and overclocking) on the Vita as they do on the original hardware.

Running Backups Of Vita Titles From A Memory Card

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with playing the hard copies of PlayStation Vita titles. Unlike the PSP, the Vita uses cartridges, meaning the system is a lot quieter when running games, and there isn’t any annoying lag or glitching if the console gets jostled a bit.

That being said, it’s nice to be able to keep multiple games on a memory card for the sake of convenience. Playing backups of Vita games doesn’t solve any major issue with the console, but it is definitely a cool feature to have – especially when traveling.

Using A microSD As A Memory Card

The one knock against storing a ton of games on the Vita is that memory cards for the console are expensive. The cards themselves are proprietary and the resale market for these can get a bit ridiculous. Luckily, hacking the Vita allows gamers the ability to use a microSD card instead of the pricey, used memory cards.

This requires a PS Vita Memory Card Adaptor, but even when combined with the price of a sizable microSD card, gamers are looking at double the storage (or triple or more even) for a fraction of the price. Unfortunately, the original PS Vita model doesn’t come with any internal storage, so the purchase of at least the smallest memory card the console has to offer is necessary in order to hack the console. PS Vita Slim models do not have to worry about this issue as the console comes with 1GB built-in memory.

In order to see more differences between the two models, make sure to check out our full guide: PS Vita 1000 vs 2000: Differences Between PS Vita And Slim.

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Turing The Vita Into An All-In-One Media Player


Unlike with the PSP, Sony didn’t rely on the all-in-one media player aspect of the console in its marketing for the Vita. In fact, YouTube has trouble running on a stock Vita. With hacking, however, the Vita really shines as a capable portable device that can play movies, music… and oh yeah, it can stream YouTube videos as well.

With a hacked Vita, gamers are able to check out any do.w.n.lo.aded videos music, books, and even comics – provided they’re in the correct format – all from a memory card. Sure, phones these days have already become the portable, all-in-one media devices, but there is something about hopping from Uncharted: Golden Abyss into a great movie or TV series while traveling (or even while just laying in bed).

Reading Patched Copies Of Games

Being able to play patched games on the Vita is actually a big deal. Some games have technical patches that make them run more smoothly, other titles have translation patches in order to play games that may have never been officially translated to other languages, and some PSP games have even gained access to the Vita’s second analog stick.

These are generally user-developed patches that need to be sought out online, but these unofficial updates can be absolute game-changers – especially for titles that never saw a release outside of Japan. And with plenty of dedicated fans out there, many games – from all sorts of PlayStation consoles – have received unofficial translations, making them accessible for a wider audience.

downloading And Installing Cheats

downloading and installing cheats is pretty self-explanatory. By using certain plugins that only work with custom firmware, gamers can experience cheats from a ton of popular video games on the Vita (as well as backward compatible titles).

Customizing The Home Screen

For those wanting a completely different background on the PS Vita, hacking is definitely the way to go. With just a few easy steps, there are plenty of themes out on the internet available to be do.w.n.lo.aded and installed on any Vita with custom firmware.

Overclocking The Vita

Overclocking the Vita opens up the console for even better framerate performance for games across the board. This may result in games running more smoothly on the hardware, especially when it comes to emulation.

Creating Save States

As opposed to normal save features which may limit when and where you can save games, save states are a helpful feature that allow gamers the ability to jump in and out of games at any point. This may sound like a small feature, but it is definitely an extremely useful addition, especially for extremely difficult retro titles.

Streaming From A PC

Through various apps, Vita owners can stream games directly from their PC. Some apps work better than others, and the software is still improving, but it’s definitely a cool feature nevertheless.

Altering Various Quality-Of-Life Settings


This is a relatively minor feature, but there are several settings on the Vita that can only be changed if the console is hacked. For example, the battery icon on the screen doesn’t indicate what percentage of the battery is left. There is a little icon that essentially does the same thing, but it doesn’t offer a specific number. Luckily, there is a homebrew app that adds a percentage next to the icon, making it easier to tell how much battery power remains.

Other than that, gamers are able to make changes like disabling the automatic sleep feature and even edit text and fonts. With tons of homebrew apps available to, there are likely way more settings to tweak. But they are only accessible on custom firmware.

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Playing Homebrew Games

The term ‘homebrew games’ typically refers to titles developed by amateur creators. A few famous examples of homebrew games are Cave Story and Flappy Bird. These titles have since become available to the masses in various forms, but they both started as homebrew titles. There are also a ton of video game hacks from classic franchises that are definitely worth trying out for those who are curious.

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