Okay, the Title says it all. But before you leave, let's face the truth. Since the developers were able to achieve several Kernel Exploits on different System Firmwares, their goal was to give you a "platform" where you can develop and/or enjoy your Homebrew Applications running on your own PS4. But instead of making your PS4 a "useful Gaming Machine" - to get out more of your PS4 with several new Features even Sony can't deliver - the side effect is that many people doesn't care about Homebrew and that Piracy is the only thing which counts on all "hacked" PS4's, which is very sad. I know for myself that this Thread here can't give you a solution for this problem and I know as well that this discussion isn't new and that there was already some Threads about that on both this Forum and on Twitter. But I would like to analyze and discuss this with you and maybe someone has some ideas what could be done better in the future.
Puh, where I should start this. Well, I think it is important to say as a Disclaimer that this is just my point of view. But as explained in the preview above, everyone is welcome down below to discuss this matter with your own meanings and point of views. But to analyze this huge problematic, I would like to compare this with previous consoles released by Sony. And this comparison will analyze several Topics, which they are:
- Why there is no Homebrew in General for the PS4?
- I installed Linux on my PS4, but what should I do with it?
- Where is my Media Center Homebrew for my PS4 (Part 1 & Part 2)?
- File Manager, FTP Server, Toolbox Settings, my PS4 has none of them!
- The PSVita gets new Homebrew Releases nearly everyday, why not the PS4?
- My PS3 is still useful for several Homebrew Tasks, I don't need my PS4!
- Homebrew in General
- Linux on PS4
- Media Center Homebrew (Part 1)
- Media Center Homebrew (Part 2)
- Other Useful Homebrews
- PSVita has Homebrew
- PS3 has Homebrew as well
Why there is no Homebrew in General for the PS4?
Well, the answer is simple: "There is no need to have any Homebrew on the PS4 today!" But what I mean with this argument? Let me explain.
Back in the PS3 era, when the first hacks and Custom Firmwares appeared in the wild, there was still the majority who cared about Piracy only, no question. But while Sony tried from the beginning to market their PS3 as a "supercomputer" instead of a Gaming Console only, a lot of Developers recognized that the PS3 can do a lot of stuff, but it wasn't perfect for their tasks they needed (especially not after Sony removed several Features like installing "OtherOS" from System Firmware 3.21 and above). So the Developer's goal was both to add even more useful features for your PS3 and to bring back older features on newer System Firmwares which Sony removed before. I will explain the details on the other points to keep this point short but as a summary, you have to imagine that when the first hack appeared on the PS3, we were at the time around 2009 / 2010 (I let you decide when we speak about the first hack). So we used our PS3's in a different way Sony imagined. And in that era, not everyone had a super fast Internet Connection where everyone can download huge Games in a few minutes or where everyone streams their movies through Netflix or Amazon Prime Video instead of going to a video rental store or actually buying a movie (yeah that's still a possibility in 2018). In spite of that, Developers needed to find "loopholes" in the System Firmware in a different way as they do today for the PS4 to get your "Backups" running. While for the PS3, a lot of Games were running from the Disc and a Installation on the Harddrive was only additional and not always forced, today's Games for the PS4 needs to be copied completely to your Harddrive even when you obtain them legally and when you are on the newest System Firmware. So instead of having Features like "Peek&Poke" to get more access on your PS3, you do most things on your PC to get your Backups running on your PS4 since you need to create a single .pkg-File to get the Game fully installed on your PS4's Harddrive. Even Sony needs to do this and every Game Disc contains the full Game in a single .pkg-File only which get's installed on-the-fly.
I installed Linux on my PS4, but what should I do with it?
Well, actually you can't do much. I know this sounds harsh but let's being honest.
The PS3's OtherOS-Feature was already limited, even when you activated the RSX to get full GPU support while running a Linux distribution. But even the official solution from Sony was complicated to install and to get running. So the "experience" for running a "full-fledged computer" wasn't perfect. Interestingly enough the PS4 is way easier compared to the PS3 to get Linux fully running and even to do something useful. But even here we have the bad side-effect of Piracy when Developers tries to get SteamOS running on your PS4 through Emulation. Sure it's interesting to see that this is getting supported by the PS4 but it is as well against the "Terms and Conditions" when you are running Games on a platform which aren't developed for this device. It's the same as when you run older Games from the 80s through Emulation. But why there is no interest to develop and to run any Homebrew even on a PS4 with Linux installed? The PS3 had even a few releases for OtherOS, why the PS4 haven't? Actually the reason is simple to explain as well. Back in PS3 era, having a device running with a Linux Distribution was only interesting for those People who didn't wanted to go "mainstream" and who was really needed for their job for example to run Linux instead of Windows. Compared to 2018, the market share didn't changed much and Windows is still used by over 90% of all users world wide. But the huge difference is that today, getting a Device running with Linux is way more easier to obtain and the best thing is, it's extremely cheap. Maybe you are already recognizing what I'm talking about. Yes, it is way more easier to obtain those "small single-board computers" like the very-known Raspberry Pi for example. Even when installing Linux on the PS4 is easier compared to the PS3, a Raspberry Pi is still "handier" and probably even more powerful compared to Linux running on PS4. And with getting "pre-installed Kits" for those "small computers", there is actually no need to run Linux on your PS4.
Where is my Media Center Homebrew for my PS4?
You got it, same as above. There is really no need to have a Media Center on your PS4.
The PS3 was - I mean still is - a strong console with huge possibilities. This was also one of Sony's goals to mark the PS3 not only as a Gaming Console, but also as they called it, a "Super Computer". And still in it's 12th year since the release, you can still do a lot of things with your PS3. You can view your Photo Albums from your last vacation, listen to your own music collection or even to online radio stations and you can use your PS3 as a Video Player for both offline and online, the latter with many Online Services which are still up to date and used by millions of users worldwide. But same as mentioned above for the Games, back in 2009 / 2010 - or even earlier during the release of the PS3 itself - not everyone had a high speed Internet Connection. And due to convenience, a lot of those people (including me) wanted to enjoy their backups of their movies saved at one device only, which was the Harddrive from the PS3 or using a USB-Device to get the best quality in 1080p High Definition while staying offline. And with having bigger and bigger Filesizes for High Definitiion Content, a neat feature was to save your movies with a strong compression method but keeping the quality on a high level. Saving your movies with the .mkv-Extension was such a neat future, where the Playback for this File Format was supported by many devices, but not for the PS3. This is mainly one of the reasons why such a great Homebrew like "Showtime Media Player" - or as it called later "Movian" - was developed. A moment later, you was able to enjoy your .mkv-Files "like a charm" on your PS3, even when Sony didn't supported it officially. I can speak from myself that our PS3's were more often used for enjoying movies through Showtime instead of playing Video Games. This is what I meant in the beginning that Homebrew Developers brings you better and more useful solutions for your consoles compared to Sony.
Main Menu from "Movian" (formely "Showtime Media Center")
But the PS4 has even two problems. First, Sony recognized and learned about this behavior from those users how they enjoy their movies offline. So they decided to add the .mkv-Fileformat to the PS4's Operating System from the beginning of the PS4's Lifecycle and it's already supporting the Codecs to enjoy your movies. But this isn't the only Problem.
Let's be honest, when you visited a cinema the last time or when you rented a video at a rental store for the last time? Quite tricky to answer right? The same applies for me and I actually can't remember when it was the last time I did such things. Again due to such conveniences and better/faster Online Connections, it is way more easier today to "stream a movie" through several movie content providers compared to the PS3 era. Sure, the PS3 supports them as well today but back in 2009 / 2010, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the other vendors weren't available for everyone, either due to slower Online Connections or due to License limitations for several Countries. During that time, Netflix was only available in the US until September 2010 before they started their expansion to other countries. Especially the expansion in Europe was very slow and I live in Germany, where Netflix wasn't started before September 2014. So you can imagine how difficult it was to stream a movie even when you had a good Online Connection and why such a Homebrew Application was really necessary back in the PS3 era. But time has changed and today, nearly everyone in the world can enjoy such "Online Movie Vendors" for a good price. This is why buying a physical copy of a movie on DVD/Blu-ray gets more rare in the future. Even Microsoft saw this and plans to offer a service kinda like Netflix, but for Video Games, where you can enjoy many Games as you want for a fixed price. And when I look into my living room, I recognize that I can stream movies from 8 Devices in total. This is also a problem for Sony that not only the PS3/PS4 supports Netflix. My TV is enough to enjoy the content and to "Netflix and Chill." And when the day comes that even my washing machine supports Netflix, then you shouldn't wonder anymore why there is no need for a Media Center Homebrew on PS4.
File Manager, FTP Server, Toolbox Settings, my PS4 has none of them!
Now we have to talk and to compare about the technical specifications, not only from the PS3/PS4 itself, but also their methods how their "hacks and exploits" works.
Yes, both Consoles shares the same that Piracy is a thing when they gets hacked and most users want to enjoy their Games for free. But how each of those both consoles achieves this. First let us look for the PS3. I know the following comparison is "quite a stretch" but while Apple uses a "closed system" with iOS as a Operating System for their iPhones, you have way more freedom when you use a Smartphone running Google's Android platform. From a "hacking perspective", you could compare that the PS3 is way more "closer" compared to the PS4. How do I mean this? Well, to get any Homebrew running on the PS3, you had to break down a lot of barriers. You needed the right keys to obtain several Features like "Peek&Poke" and with those Features and Keys, you needed to create a new Custom Firmware. Then you needed to install it or maybe even downgrading from a higher Firmware and so on. You see this wasn't such easy. What I mean is, you was able to develop a File Manager or a FTP Server for example but due to the Hypervisor and a lot of other security features, you was forced to add additional features behind the Operating System itself, so your Homebrew is even possible to use. Best Example: Without "Peek&Poke", your Backup Manager was useless when you wanted to copy Games from the Game Disc onto your Harddrive. But the PS4 is easier, which is Sony's own fault. As I described in the beginning, Piracy is way more easier to obtain for the PS4. Today you need to search for "Kernel Exploits" or as you maybe heard of it, "Kexploits". And with such a "Kexploit" found, there is no need anymore to have "full access" to the System since you do most of the preparation on your PC. Since the PS4 needs all Files from a Game installed on the internal Harddrive anyway, there is no need for such Homebrew Applications like a File Manager or a FTP Server. You dump a Game, making a new .pkg-File where the full Game is included and where the PS4 doesn't ask for any license, then you install it on your PS4 and et voilà. There is no need to copy any Game Files on the PS4 itself. Just dump and install and you have Piracy. And since there is no need for any "Peek&Poke" to play your Backups, the question for a "Toolbox" where you can switch several setting inside the Operating System itself is getting obsolete. Quite Sad isn't it?
The PSVita gets new Homebrew Releases nearly everyday, why not the PS4?
But wait Roxanne, how you can tell all this when my PSVita is getting new Homebrew Released daily?
Hold on, the reason for that is very simple as well. "The PSVita has no Games!"
"What are you talking about?" - you might thought. But yes, the PSVita was technically a failure for the "Western market" and a lot of Game Developers are afraid to develop any single byte for that platform. The sales numbers speaks for themselves. So what you can do with a PSVita today? You can do Homebrew! Piracy is still a thing on the PSVita as well but since there aren't much AAA titles available for that platform, the users automatically asks for Homebrew such as Emulators for older Video Game platforms. But the PSVita had also another huge advantage compared to the PS4. Since Sony wanted that you can enjoy your older PSP Games as well on your PSVita, they needed to ensure that PSP Games will run as well through Emulation. And when PSP Games runs fine on the PSVita, it's a question of time when older PSP Homebrew will run as well. This is was also happened at the beginning of hacking the PSVita. From a simple "Hello World" Application into several Emulators build originally for the PSP, the PSVita runs it as well. But Sony's PS4 is extremely successfull as you probably already know and there is even a high chance that it will be the most successfull console for them ever made. This means that you had a lot of Game Titles to play so you even don't have any time for any Homebrew. Besides the fact that Portable Consoles had always a high demand of getting Homebrew as fast as possible - especially when we talk about Emulation of older Video Games, there is actually no suprise that the PSVita has a lot of them. The same applies for the Nintendo Switch as well and it's even newer than the PS4. Sad that the PS4 doesn't support emulating PS3 Games.
My PS3 is still useful for several Homebrew Tasks, I don't need my PS4!
Yes, that's a reason as well why the PS4 has no Homebrew. There are actually two reasons.
First is that with the newest achievements in hacking the PS3 by finding a Kernel Exploit as well, the PS3 was pushed to the foreground for a little bit of the time. This year showed that the newest System Firmware is vulnerable and the funny thing is, it seems that Sony doesn't care anymore about fixing it. Since the newest Exploits for the PS3, the System Firmware 4.82 is still the actual one and there was no new update from Sony to avoid such exploits. With that result, you have the best of both worlds. It is possible to downgrade your PS3 to a lower Firmware without using any additional Hardware like those Hardware Flashers for example. Compared to the older hacks, this is again very simple when there is only software used like for the PS4. But this is what the PS3 was always tried to achieve. And since this new method is so simple and since a lot of people was still interested in downgrading their PS3, there is no surprise that the PS3 got such highlights in the past months. And with getting best of both worlds, now you can enjoy your backups and using your Homebrew on the newest System Firmware together. That and the fact that this 12 year old console still supports useful Features like Video Streaming through Netflix or Amazon Prime Video - as explained before - is again a reason why your PS3 is still enough for you to have Homebrew. In fact, a lot of from those Applications gets re-written for Homebrew users to use them with their legal accounts but without being forced to stay connected to the PlayStation Network. Maybe you saw this already with those "NoPSN" releases from official Sony Applications.
"multiMAN" was also a very popular "Backup Manager" for the PS3
Let's sum up. Both the time and our user behaviors have changed through the years which explains why the PS4 has such a difficult burden when we talk about Homebrew. Piracy is getting easier compared to it's predecessors but getting Homebrew is more difficult. Maybe one reason is that Sony made is easier for us to have Piracy on the PS4 as explained above but this can't be used as a excuse. It is the fact that today's users lost the interest in getting some Homebrew for their consoles due to comfort reasons that they have everything to enjoy whatever they want outside of Gaming. Listen to music and/or watching Pictures and Movies is easier compared to five years ago where even your "toaster" can stream your favorite radio stations all day long. And when other manufacturers gives you an platform, where you can run free pre-installed Operating Systems with "Open Software" in a kind of a "modular concept", then there is technically no chance for any future home consoles to get any useful Homebrew. Even Sony recognized this, which is probably one of their reasons why they concentrated more about Gaming for the PS4 compared to the Development of the PS3. But the end result of the day is, when their Console allows Gaming only, then there is only Piracy available which has to be achieved for many users and which will make Piracy getting stronger. That is very sad. It is Sony's task to avoid this and only the future will see how they plan to avoid this. But with our user behavior, it is our own fault that the PS4 has practically no Homebrew, which is a true fact! What makes it even more sad that there are enough platforms available for developing Homebrew for the PS4, such as open SDK's or "The Mira Project" looks promising. But so long the end user has no interest to get any Homebrew, there won't be any in the future.
So what went wrong not to have any Homebrew for the PS4? Was it really only the fact that both the time and our user behaviors have changed? You are welcome to discuss this with the community down below. Maybe some Developers feels addressed as well and can discuss this with the end-users together.
Thanks for reading - Roxanne.
PS News Why there is no Homebrew for the PS4 (and why they won't be any in the future)?
By Roxanne on Aug 19, 2018 at 3:56 PM
Developer @TheoryWrong talks about "OrbisSWU" - An interesting approach for Downgrading your PS4 ???Remember back in the old days when instead of installing an Kernel/Web-Exploit like nowadays, you asked "how I can install an Custom Firmware (CFW)" or something like "how I can Downgrade my Console"? Of course, todays attempts aren't that bad since you get a similar functionality in terms of running Homebrew for instance, but not quite for 100% compared to the old days. Especially not when we talk about the possibilities of modifying a PlayStation 3 compared to the PlayStation 4 today. In fact, there was a time where everyone wanted to "Downgrade" his/her PS3 from an higher System Firmware (OFW) to bring the functionality of Homebrew back to their PS3. Or can you remember when your Blu-ray Drive wasn't working anymore due to its age or because of an failed Downgrade process so everytime when you wanted to install a newer, higher CFW, it failed with displaying an error message and you had to install those "noBD" CFWs? While the latter one was already achieved for older Firmwares below <4.75 in the past, it will be still interesting to achieve both a Downgrading possibility and a "noBD" support for higher Firmwares on a PS4 as well. The good thing is, well-known Developer @TheoryWrong asked the same question to himself. And it gets even better; he is ready to show his progress so far So lets have a look at it. Continue reading
RetroArch (PS2 - v1.8.8) - Utilizing New PS2 SDK / Toolchain adds performance upgradesThere has been some great work being done in the PS2 community, First off i would like to give two PS2 developer a big shoutout and some recognition (I failed in doing so in my previous coverage back in April, thanks to @TnA for pointing that out ) with work done on the PS2 SDK / Toolchain as PS2 developer's @uyjulian and @Maximus32 have been working and progressing the toolchain and SDK for sometime as you can read about some of that progress and follow some of the development in this thread.
Developer @fjtrujy has also put in some great work to the project and has utilized and adopted the improved toolchain for the RetroArch PS2 port and can be seen with the release of RetroArch v1.8.8 and its been a good descion for the homebrew (multi-system emulator) as it has been getting significant performance increases, right now we only have one new core and its a classic from the 80's (theodore libretro core), but the existing cores have an incredible performance boost for instance the QuickNESContinue reading
The latest with RetroArch (PS4-Unofficial): PSP emulation in next update along with OOSDK conversionSince the release of unofficial version of RetroArch (PS4-R3) from developer @OsirisX and subsequently the source code release that came along with it, we surprisingly have not seen or heard much in regards to an official team adopting this release to make it official. We can however more then likely gather some clues and "connect some dots" from the OG port that started it all on the PS3 and has since been pulled in recent and replace with the still in development Psl1ght (Open Source) SDK port rather then the previous versions that used the official sony sdk. With the Open Orbis SDK (OoSDK) release recently for the PS4, this seems to be the approach for the PS4 to become official as well,
Recently developer OsirisX has stated that he wants to convert the project's to OoSDK before another release is made, but the developer has already made some progress and teases a bit of that progress in the video below showing a new core being supported in PPSSPP. When asked about potential PSP or PS2 Support the developer stated the plan is to include PSP support (via PPSSPP core) in the next release. The teaser video show's GTA Vice City Stories being quite playable (video shows FPS counter) so if this game looks this well, many others should play very well also. There is still alot of great development going on with this port by developer OsirisX. .Continue reading
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