September 19, 2014

Homebrews and CFW

If any of you reading have a psVita and you've ever wanted to carry around your old games now is the time to get a custom firmware (CFW) after this last weeks huge exploit release all be it poorly timed if you were looking forward to the new official firmware (OFW) update anyway.

What is this nonsense? basically a CFW is a custom shell to a given system and can be used to do things the developers of a given console probably don't want you doing or simply aren't allowed to let you do from a legal standpoint. In this case on the vita it has a natively built in psp emulator to play psp titles which we can manipulate to give us access to the whole psp system with some work. We can then modify it to do things the psp was never meant to do such as emulate and play older titles from older consoles. In my case I love my old SNES and the zelda game I have for it and link to the past works amazing as a portable game it's like it was meant for a handheld. So I put my SNES collection on my vita so I can play it wherever I go and put away the old console because now if I get the itch it's quick and easy to just get into it and play. No dealing with setup and finding everything and whether or not the cartridge is going to work without some effort.

As a consumer I much prefer being able to play everything from a single device, part of why I've always loved my pc gaming is I didn't need to have a dozen different pieces of hardware floating around to play different games. If the day ever came I could repurchase any of these games on my vita I'd do it in a heartbeat. Hell I've known since back in the ps1 days that ps1 discs are pc rom format so I can just put them on the pc and run most of them without even needing an emulator they just work natively (FF7, MGS) and most ps3 users apparently didn't realize that either that they'll work fine on a ps3 regardless of ps2 compatability. I have yet to check on my ps4 so I'll have to get back to everyone on that but I'll be sure to mention it at some point. Supposedly they're working on it and in the mean time there's psNow and rumor has it some discs already work while officially they're not supported so I'll just need to do it myself and see. In spite of knowing though about these discs when I saw FF7 and 8 on steam I didn't even wait for a sale or price drop I jumped on it. When halo comes out I'll be all over that as well. If suddenly steam added a retro market to play all the old titles I'd be all over it. It's a damn shame how much money publishers are missing out on as well as developers simply because of focusing on the now and ignoring nostalgia.

Though as a dev I understand that there's all kinds of licensing issues as well as how the markets are competing with each other and thus don't want pc players forgoing a console by making these titles available. I've said before though that I see the day we all sit down on a unified hardware structure with swappable OS' in a virtualized system allowing us to play whatever we want however we want without worrying about hardware and paying more for extra consoles. Though it'll be a far way off considering profit margins on consoles in the long run. That's part of what makes everyone angry about CFW's as well is because they know they're effectively losing money regardless of if it was money they never would've gotten anyway, though their main concern is losing money on active titles they could still earn through legitimate means. That is to say a CFW on a vita sadly can be used for piracy of psp titles which they still make money on if you buy the game like you should. They're less concerned with the homebrew I imagine and only slightly concerned with emulators for older consoles because these are things they wouldn't make money on anyway. While its true a homebrew has earning potential from sales and distribution on the platform the titles tend not to meet their so called quality standards and thus wouldn't make much money even if they were officially released titles.

What do you think? Do you have a CFW and some emulators, if you did what kinds of games would you have stocked on it?

1 comment:

  1. I can't say that I utilize emulators...I've always liked supporting developers and, while it's annoying to have multiple devices, I'd rather have them then mod my systems. *shrug*