First MotorStorm: Arctic Edge and, yesterday, Everybody’s Tennis. Two great PSP games that have been unceremoniously removed from the PlayStation Store over their use in triggering a vulnerability that opens up the PS Vita to PSP homebrew. And, crucially, they’re gone from your download lists, which means that if you bought them, you’d better hang on to them.
Personally, I’m probably pro-homebrew, EULAs and the law aside for a second. That may surprise you, but as a coder (of sorts) I welcome the ability to be able to code in LUA for the machine, and I made two little PSP games in this way back in the day. I’m not speaking for everyone else, but it feeds my need to create, even if I barely get time to play games these days, let alone make them.
The situation is simple: with the two above games (and until Sony patch out the issue with new firmware) it’s possible to get something approaching an easy to use homebrew loader on Vita. It doesn’t open up the Vita itself to homebrew, but it does let the PSP emulator side of things run a fair chunk of apps and games that it couldn’t normally do.[drop2]Let’s be straight – I’m not talking about piracy. Whilst I’m not ignorant to think that for some it’s a natural progression, for me, personally, I’m happy just firing up an emulator and playing some classic Sinclair ZX Spectrum games on the move.
But Sony has something of a track record here, and nobody can forget about the removal of Linux which – holding my hand up – I misjudged entirely at the time. Linux wasn’t for me, so I couldn’t understand why everyone was so upset about it disappearing.
And it did disappear, regardless of what anyone said – if you wanted to keep your PS3 updated with the latest firmware, you lost OtherOS.
So, removing the two affected games from the PSN Store might halt people trying to circumvent Sony’s carefully manufactured security layers, but surely it’s only a stop gap? What’s to say that there aren’t other PSP games that can be tricked into providing an easy way into the homebrew scene for the PS Vita? Where is this all going, if the games keep vanishing?
Are users entitled to a refund for their games, if they paid for them and can no longer download them? Possibly, but it might not be easy. “Please keep in mind that as per our user agreement we don’t generally offer refunds,” says one email to a user with such a request.
“However, our network team will review your situation and make a decision accordingly. If they do offer a refund, it will be offered as a onetime courtesy,” it says. “We will not be able to offer any additional refunds in the future.” It’s that last line that really sticks – I’m assuming they mean to that particular individual, and not the wider user base there.
I’m aware that Sony need to do what they can to protect the integrity of their systems – after all, the PSP was rife with piracy towards the end of its life.
I’m also aware that the original developers might not be around to fix any issues or bugs that have caused these problems – especially with MotorStorm, as Sony closed the studio – but either the game stays off the Store for everyone, or it’s patched and put back up. The former seems incredulous, but entirely possible – but as more games suffer from this, doesn’t this all just get worse?
My brain’s ticking here, but is there a potential future for the Vita where it doesn’t include the PSP emulator software?
This is a personal blog and may not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis.