PlayStation Portal hacked to emulate old PSP titles

The new PlayStation (PS) Portal is a limited device for streaming games remotely from a PS5 console. However, some hackers have proven that it’s capable of much more.

Cloud vulnerability researcher Andy Nguyen shared his most successful post on X, reaching 1.4 million people in just 15 hours. Together with two other engineers, he hacked the PlayStation Portal to run PPSSPP, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) emulator.

The PSP is a stand-alone handheld portable console released in 2004, which did not require a wired console to stream games from.

The achievement required “more than a month of hard work.” The tweet reveals PS Portal running Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, one of the most successful titles on the PSP.

“Turns out they had some custom code that attempted to prevent APK installation, but I could bypass it,” Nguyen shared on X.

PS Portal users should not expect to make their devices backward-compatible with the PSP any time soon. It’s unclear if their work will ever become public or if anyone will manage to replicate the achievement.

“There’s no release planned in the near future, and there's much more work to be done,” Nguyen said in another post.

Calle Svensson, a security engineer, said he had a great time collaborating on the project. He also warned that Sony might patch the exploit.

Running on Android, which is “extremely locked down,” PS Portal also has a limited onboard storage of around 6GB, which is not a lot even when measured by two-decades-old handheld standards. The original PSP loaded games from optical discs capable of holding up to 1.8 gigabytes (GB) of data, and later revisions included internal storage and memory stick compatibility.

Nguyen confirmed that the hack only included software modifications, and no hardware changes were required.

Older Nguyen posts on X hint at some of the troubles researchers had to overcome, asking their followers about ways to install APKs (APK stands for Android Package kit, file format used for applications) or how to “bypass INSTALL_FAILED_BAD_SIGNATURE on Android.”

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