When Sony launched its PlayStation TV in the US last year, the device debuted to mixed recommendations and a puzzling lack of compatibility. While it’s fundamentally based on the same hardware as the PlayStation Vita, the PSTV can’t play many games that the Vita runs quite handily.
In some cases, this makes sense — the Vita has a microphone, camera, and gyroscope, all of which the PS TV lacks. In many other cases, however, there’s been no intrinsic reason why the Vita could play a game that the TV couldn’t. Both systems are based on an ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core, both have 512MB of RAM and 128MB VRAM, and both use a PowerVR SGX543MP4+ graphics card. Now, a modder has found a way to unlock a number of games for the PlayStation TV, removing some of these roadblocks.
The hack, provided by Hackinformer poster Mr.Gas, shows how it’s possible to exploit a loophole in the Vita’s email client to load a modified whitelist into the client and open up an entirely new set of games. Full step-by-step instructions are available on HackInformer, but the list of games that can be played successfully is likely to skyrocket with this new method — at least, until Sony updates the firmware and breaks this method of compatibility.
What’s less clear is why users are having to resort to this kind of method for loading games in the first place. Anyone who buys a PlayStation TV has either purchased game cartridges (which are compatible with either the PS TV or Vita) or has downloaded games over PlayStation Now. There’s no “lost sale,” here, in other words, and by keeping games off the platform Sony is only harming those who prefer to play Vita titles on the big screen, or who want some of the additional set-top functionality that the Vita TV offers, like Netflix support.
It’s entirely possible that the whitelist approach was implemented to mollify Sony’s mobile team, which doesn’t want to acknowledge that the PlayStation Vita is moribund. VGChartz shows that the 3DS regularly outsells the Vita by 4x or more per month — and while an install base of 12 million devices isn’t terrible, it’s nowhere near Nintendo’s 50 million 3DS sales.
VitaReviews has published an exhaustive list of every current title now known to run on the PS TV, but some caveats are attached. Games that require motion controls won’t work. Games that require touch may or may not be emulated. Some games still don’t work, even with this exploit installed. You can’t connect to the PSN network, and it’s not clear if rebooting the device also requires you to apply the patch again.
With all of that said, a full 30 additional titles have been now confirmed to work with PS TV — and that’s a huge gain for very little work.
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