All You Need to Know About Hacking Your PS Vita: VHBL, TN-V, Exploits, Emulators Explained

Alvaro Bernedo

PS Vita Hacked Main

If you own a PS Vita, you have certainly heard at least mentions of users able to ‘hack’ it. Perhaps you are even wondering what all this hacking talk is about and if you could do it yourself. Well, you’re in luck – read along to find out everything you need to know about the PS Vita hacking scene, including common terms, how Vita hacking works, and more.

Important Note: If you have a PS Vita, don’t forget to check out our various entries about it, including some killer PS Vita tips, how to transfer media to your Vita wirelessly and more.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Can the PS Vita Be Hacked in the First Place?

Well, this entry would not exist if it couldn’t, right? The thing is, since the PSP was able to be hacked on a native level, Sony learned its lesson and made the Vita a lot more secure.

The bad news about this is that native-level Vita hacks are not possible (yet). That is, you can’t actually run Vita ROMs (digital game copies) or install native Vita apps that take advantage of the full power that the system has to offer.

Not everything is lost though. In fact, while the PS Vita can’t be hacked on a native level, the PSP emulator (that the PS Vita uses to run PSP games) can indeed be tinkered with, and some smart developers have managed to crack the PSP emulator to run just about everything that an original hacked PSP could. That means that a fully ‘hacked’ PS Vita can run NES, SNES, SEGA, Gameboy and other emulators, as well as PSP and PSone games.

PS Vita Various Emulators

So, If I Can Only Hack the PSP Side Of the PS Vita, Is It Still Worth It?

Well, this is a matter of preference, but the PS Vita definitely has some advantages over the PSP that simply makes it a better device for playing games.

Here are some of them:

  • Better screen: If you happen to have a first generation PS Vita, this model carries an OLED screen, which offers amazingly vivid colors and better blacks. Overall, games just look better on it. On top of that, the screen is larger than on any PSP model, so that’s a nice bonus.
  • Second analog stick: The advantages of this are obvious. Any PSP game that runs in 3D and has a controllable camera suffered a lot on the PSP, since the camera most of the time was mapped to the D-pad. With the latest Vita hacks, any PSP game you run automatically maps the D-pad to the right analog stick, making it instantly more intuitive and a lot easier to play.
  • Suspend and resume: This is a great feature of the PS Vita and it works great most of the time with the PSP or other emulation stuff.

PS Vita Suspend Emulation

How Do You Hack a PS Vita?

We’ll go into the detailed process on how to hack your PS Vita in another entry, but in a nutshell, the PS Vita runs its own operating system or OFW (Official Firmware). Each version of this software suffers from certain vulnerabilities that some games can exploit.

These games are revealed every now and then, and if you happen to have on your Vita the firmware version they require, then you will be able to hack it once a set of required hacking files are released by the hacking community.

However, Sony is always on the look for these ‘exploitable’ games, and once they are revealed, it usually takes no more than 24 – 48 hours for these to be pulled from the PSN Store. Then shortly after that Sony releases a new OFW that patches the previous one’s vulnerabilities, rendering past exploitable games useless.

The process goes something like this:

– Sony releases a new OFW (let’s say, for example, version 1.0)
– A game is discovered that exploits a vulnerability in the current OFW, allowing users who have that game to hack their Vitas.
– The game is revealed by the hacking community for users to buy and download.
– Sony removes the game from the PSN Store after a few hours or days of being revealed.
– Sony releases a new OFW (let’s say, version 1.1) that fixes the previous one’s vulnerabilities.

Latest Vita Exploit Games

Just to be clear: Sony doesn’t fix games, they fix the Vita’s OFW via an update, so if you manage to have the game downloaded to your PS Vita and it is running the required software version, then you’ll have no problems hacking it, even if there is a new OFW version or if the game has been pulled from the store.

Can Any PS Vita Be Hacked?

Currently only Vitas running OFW version 3.18 or lower can be hacked. Usually, one or two exploitable games were revealed once every few months. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances in the hacking scene that led to a ton of exploitable games being revealed, it is believed that it will take a long while for other exploitable games to show up (more than one or two years).

So if you want to hack your PS Vita, make sure to not update and to keep it on OFW 3.18 or lower for now.

PS Vita OFW

Ok, now that we’ve cleared the basics, let’s dive into some hacking terms you should be familiar with before hacking your Vita.

What Is VHBL?

VHBL is a user mode hack for the Vita that also runs inside of the Vita’s PSP emulator that can run some PSP homebrew (custom) apps on your Vita. For example, it can run most emulators, including SNES, Gameboy, and others. However, it will not run PSP ISOs, PSone games or Vita backups.

VHBL

What is TN-V?

TN-V is Custom Emulator Firmware that brings the full PSP experience to a hacked PS Vita. It can run anything that VHBL can and on top of that allows PS Vita users to run all kinds of PSP and PSone games as well. Other features include letting you customize the interface using themes and such.

PS Vita Running TN V

This is the real deal, and the reason so many PS Vita users look forward to hacking their system. It can virtually turn your PS Vita into several systems in one, all available in portable form. However, in order to run TN-V, a special kind of exploit game is needed, and these are revealed rarely, which is why if you want to hack your PS Vita, you always have to keep an eye on the hacking scene to know about the latest game and exploit releases.

There you go. If after reading this entry you feel hacking your PS Vita is worth it for you, then check back on this site to find out how to do it and how to take advantage of this process.

Also See
#hacking #psvita

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Alvaro Bernedo

Written By

Alvaro Bernedo

Contributor at Guiding Tech