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Sony Hardware Hacking Portables (Games)

PSP Hacks and the Mainstream 251

pasm writes "The BBC is running article about how "DIY software and hardware experts have been quick to embrace Sony's PlayStation Portable console." Today I have witnessed some colleagues playing a wireless racing game with imported ones in the office. It seems that this will be the gadget of the year for both gamers and programmers with a neat idea and time on their hands."
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PSP Hacks and the Mainstream

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  • by wlan0 ( 871397 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:33PM (#12167023)
    I don't they ever will, since many people are too afraid that they will break them. I know some computer savvy people who are, even after having built several computers.
  • by crypto55 ( 864220 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:35PM (#12167036)
    I know that there are a bunch of handheld devices available that can scan for wifi networks, but they cost ~$40 for a reasonable model that can detect network security settings. Has anyone heard of using a PSP for this task?
  • by havaloc ( 50551 ) * on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:36PM (#12167044) Homepage
    ...if the PSP was even more open. They could open up development, allowing downloads to memory stick permitting 3rd party games to be developed (think Palm) . I think this constant tendency of Sony shoving down our throats things like Memory Stick and ATRAC have really hurt them, instead of enhancing their bottom line like they think it would.

    Before you say that allowing anyone to develop for the platform would hurt sales, I say to you that people still buy commercial games in droves.
  • Programming SDK...? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:37PM (#12167057)
    So is Sony going to release a programming SDK to the general public? And which programming languages are supported?

    If Sony wants to make a deep impact against Nintendo, they should open up the PSP as wide as possible to "non-traditional" programmers. Especially considering how much the ding-dang-thing cost.
  • by Stone316 ( 629009 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:42PM (#12167114) Journal
    Personally, I think Sony hit the nail on the head with the PSP allowing it to do other things like watch movies, etc.

    Personally, while I think they are cool, i'm not going to buy one unless they open it up more. If i can record TV shows on my PC and then burn them on a UMD disc to watch later on the PSP (say i'm at the doctor, or waiting for the wife shopping, etc) then i'd definately pick on up. But i'm not going to go out and buy a ton of proprietary memory sticks and constantly have to be reformating it to watch a show.

    There is a huge potential for the PSP but I don't think sony will take advantage of it. They have already said that their business practices have hurt them in the past... we can always hope they come around.

  • another source (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drunken dash ( 804404 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:44PM (#12167135) Homepage
    Looks like Wired almost copied this article here:,2101,67151, ml?tw=wn_tophead_8 []
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:46PM (#12167157) Homepage
    When it came down to the choice between getting a DS or a PSP now, the choice became the PSP. Granted, I'll get a DS later for other games that I'm interested in and the rumored Palm Pilot module - but it was the usefulness of the PSP *now* that interested me.

    I've been using it to watch movies on planes and trains, which is more convienient than even watching it on my 12" powerbook. But I can see where more can be done.

    With 512 MB RAM, there's plenty of space for both my saved games, little videos (2 hours of video is about 300 MB or so), and other apps. Where's a *real* web browser that could be hacked from Mozilla, or a mail reader program so I can check up on the go?

    Evidently, you can have "games" that run off the memory stick directly (or so it tells me when I'm in the Game menu section an it looks at either the disk or the memory stick), so why not just make those applications?

    I know, I could get a blackberry for some specific tags, but if Sony *really* wants the PSP to take off, they should release some sort of light development kit (either free or say $50). Let developers see what a portible wi-fi system with a good screen can run. Could Skype run on it? Maybe, maybe not - but let developers give it a shot.

    With a large developer market that's not constrained with having to worry about having a large development start up (like those for the official PSP games), the PSP could become a choice machine for all sorts of things, which would drive attachment sales and, via a sort of "halo" effect, to PSP games. It would be a win-win for everyone.

    But - Sony probably won't do it. Fear evidently keeps the managers in line - fear of this station. In this case, it's this gigantic Death Star circling around called "loss of control". Of all the things Sony fears, it's that Loss of Control. After all, if *they* can't control which applications get made for the system, what if someone makes money on Sony's device without Sony getting a cut. What if someone comes out with an iTunes client that can play protected AAC files and potentially take away money from Sony's ATRAC based store? What if monkeys come flying out of the asses of developers that Sony can't make money on! The horror!

    Sony *could* make the PSP the device of choice that way. Right now, I like the basic hacks that have come out for it, but if the DS gets that Palm Pilot add-on (with extensible memory via a MMC chip or something), then it might swing me to the dual screened little player, since there are a lot of Palm apps out there I could potentially run (like my eBook reader) and a video client could probably run on the DS pretty well. It wouldn't look as good as on my DS, but if it's "good enough" for my train to/from work needs, then it will be an easy buy.

    Sony has a chance here to break out. But I'm going to bet they won't take it because of their own fear.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.
  • by PxM ( 855264 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:51PM (#12167217)
    Other "hacks" include ... playing multiplayer games with only one copy of the game.
    That hack involves creating the WiFi game (I've done this with Tony Hawk) on one PSP, moving the UMD into another PSP, having that other person join that WiFi game, switching the UMD back to the original PSP as the original player starts the session (it asks you if you want to quit when you take out the UMD) and then the second player starts the session. It's not as good of a trick as the DS's single game/ multiplayer setup, but it gets the job done if you want to spend the time.

    Want a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox. [] (you only need 4 referrals)
    Wired article as proof []
  • Difference from PC? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @02:01PM (#12167319) Homepage Journal

    First, the reputation of a console can be seriously tarnished if it has a market glut of crappy games.

    Has the glut of Win32 compatible games tarnished the reputation of the console called "PC running Windows XP"?

    Sony makes a boatload of money off their developers right now

    Even if I could start a development house, Sony still wouldn't sell me a license and a development kit. In general, console makers don't even want to talk to startups.

  • by ptcheezer ( 677747 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @02:05PM (#12167353)
    The Gamepark 32 [] is already a fantastic little portable gaming device and you don't have to worry about unauthorized uses of SDKs and whatnot -it's all open!
  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @02:06PM (#12167362) Homepage
    But i'm not going to go out and buy a ton of proprietary memory sticks

    You have to buy exactly one memory stick. Which is not proprietary as the readers, devices and cards are manufactured by more than one company, just like (say) SecureDigital. It's just less popular, and right now, a bit more expensive.

    MS is much better for ripped content than UMD, for one thing the battery life is better. For another, there are no plans for writable UMDs, and even if there were, the drives would certainly cost more than a MS.
  • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @02:40PM (#12167906) Homepage
    For another, there are no plans for writable UMDs, and even if there were, the drives would certainly cost more than a MS.

    The DRIVES would, but the MEDIA would not.

    There probably isn't any more than $2 worth of materials and workmanship going into a single UMD. Blanks would probably be about that price.

    I'd pay $500 for a UMD writer WAY before I'd pay for $500 worth of memory sticks.

    And for your information, the Memory Stick format IS proprietary, Sony controls the format, and the third party manufactured Memory Sticks have been less popular (as you pointed out) for exactly that reason. Even though 3rd parties (reluctantly) make Memory Sticks, they do so under strict conditions set out by Sony.

    The Memory Stick and it's relatives are not at all industry accepted standards. I would have much rather liked to have seen any of the other existing memory formats used.

    I think the biggest reason Sony has always loved to force Memory Stick down people's throat is because it can be used to employ some kind of DRM, but I believe many of the other formats can as well, so once again this is just Sony being their usual prick selves.
  • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @03:20PM (#12168478) Homepage
    Viewing media on a Memory Stick isn't worth $250 to anyone with half a brain...

    I must have something more or less than half a brain, then, because I enjoyed watching a rip of my "Todd McFarlane's Spawn" DVD on a 2 1/2 hour airline flight last night, which when converted to Memory Stick video format at 15 fps is totally watchable and squeezes onto a 512Mb stick with about 18Mb to spare.

    I need a 1Gb stick to store "The Matrix" or "Blade Runner" which come in at 527Mb and 489Mb, respectively. The biggest downside to movies on the PSP memory stick is the time it takes to rip and transcode. It's not a grab-and-go proposition, you have to plan ahead. But eventually I will have a library of PSP videos, and no doubt there will be torrents available soon, too.

    So. Explain to me how this idea is a good thing for Sony?

    It makes the Nintendo DS ("Do Something!") seem like a cheap toy in comparison.

    For the same reason it was a good thing for Microsoft/Intel.
  • by RobDogAlpha ( 739240 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @03:54PM (#12168926)
    This press and the hacks are great for the future of handheld gaming, but I wish the Nintendo DS was getting this play, too. Web browsing on the PSP is cool, but how much cooler would the hacks be if you could use the DS's touch screen for keyboard emulation? How are you supposed to IRC with 6 buttons and a joystick?
  • by John Pfeiffer ( 454131 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @03:55PM (#12168930) Homepage someone figure out how to replicate Namco Museum's multiplayer functionality, and use it to run apps designed for the PSP over your wifi.

    Namco Museum, which has such classics as Pac Man on it, can be played multiplayer, with just one UMD, because it beams the software over to another unit via the wifi connection. Like the GBA games that you can play multiplayer with just one cartridge. (And infact, in the GBA's case, people did reverse engineer that functionality to load games and software into memory over the link cable.) It'd be cool to see neat utility software being loaded into the PSP, like advanced media players and stuff.

    As it is, I'm in the process of assessing just how little food I need to survive, in an effort to save for a PSP :P Armored Core Formula Front is crack... :o *runs off to play the PS2 version*
  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @04:54PM (#12169583)
    Hacks gone Mainstream?

    They haven't, but what interests me is that Sony is in a unique position to make hacks (or independent development) go mainstream and capitalize on it to become the market leader in this area, or if it doesn't work out, just write it off as a failed experiment.

    After all, they've produced hundreds of thousands of different consumer devices, many of which have undersold their projected targets and hence are failed products in a business sense, and this mega giant just goes from there on to the next idea. Pocket change.

    Like many have said, Sony is probably paralized from creating an open device by business dogma that would make it akin to consorting with the devil. However, at some level it definitely sees open source in a favourable light of some kind otherwise it wouldn't have released those Linuxes for some of its consoles.

    Maybe there is hope in this direction yet. I certainly don't see any such hope from the smaller console developers owing to issues of scale and significance of possible losses, nor from Microsoft for obvious reasons, but Sony just might be able to pull this one off, if it ever wanted to.
  • by ksaville00 ( 833015 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @06:11PM (#12170339) Homepage
    I am just in the beginning stages and am trying to gain an audience, if you come come maybe post something in the forums it would be great. Also I am looking for help with it, so if you are intrested check the site and email me if you are still intrested., if you wanna help
  • Re:PC joypads, etc. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @06:17PM (#12170381) Homepage Journal

    He said he wanted a good controller.

    It depends on what you mean by "good" controller. If you mean a requirement of analog control, the EMS USB2 can also handle a Dual Shock. If you mean console fanboyism, there exist USB adapters for N64, GameCube, and Xbox controllers as well.

  • by tokabola ( 771071 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @07:53PM (#12171231) Homepage
    I live in northern Wisconsin, real backwoods chill-billy territory. Yet this morning the local classic rock station (based in Ashland, on the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior) carried the story of PSP hacking. The DJ gave fairly accurate and complete information - then admitted he had no idea what he just said!

    If they're talking about it here, it's everywhere because this is the last place to catch a clue about something new. As far as I can tell, there's only one other Linux user within 50 miles of me. Haven't met him, just heard about him from the guy who sells D-Wav (the linux user lives out in the woods somewhere so D-Wav is his only hope for any kind of bandwidth).

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie