PlayStation Vita

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PlayStation Vita logo SVG.svg

The PlayStation Vita (officially abbreviated PS Vita or Vita) is a handheld game console developed and released by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan on 17th December 2011, with releases in North America, Europe, and other worldwide regions starting on 22nd February 2012.

Models

PCH-1000 PCH-2000
Image First generation PS Vita (PCH-1000) Second generation PS Vita (PCH-2000)
CPU
Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore clocked at 333 MHz
with a boost frequency of 444 MHz while WiFi is deactivated[1]
Memory
512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM
Storage
Nil
1 GB flash memory
Display
5-inch (16:9) OLED, 960 × 544 qHD @ 220 ppi
5-inch (16:9) LCD, 960 × 544 qHD @ 220 ppi
Graphics
Quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4+
Connectivity
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Power
2200 mAh battery
Battery llife
approx. 3-5 hours for games
approx. 4-6 hours for games
Dimensions
83.55 mm (h) 182 mm (w) 18.6 mm (d)
85.1 mm (h) 183.6 mm (w) 15.0 mm (d)
Weight
260 grams (Wi-Fi) 279 grams (3G)
219 grams (Wi-Fi)
SKU decode
Code Meaning
PCH-1xxx 1st Generation
PCH-2xxx 2nd Generation
PCH-x0xx Wi-Fi only
PCH-x1xx Wi-Fi & 3G (1st Gen only)
PCH-xx00 Japan
PCH-xx01 North America
PCH-xx02 Australia / New Zealand
PCH-xx03 United Kingdom
PCH-xx04 Europe / India
PCH-xx05 Korea
PCH-xx06 Hong Kong / Singapore / Malaysia
PCH-xx07 Taiwan
PCH-xx08 Commonwealth of Independent States
PCH-xx09 Mainland China
PCH-xx10 Central America / South America

The best console is based on preference.

The PCH-1000 has an OLED screen; colour is much more vivid, and brightness hardly affects battery life, which lasts about 3-5 hours without charging. This is also the model with optional 3G support (that hardly anyone uses).

The PCH-2000 is a lighter and cheaper version of the original. The 3G support is removed and the OLED screen is replaced with an LCD screen. A significant change in colour and brightness affects battery life a bit more. However, that's backed up with longer battery life, about 4-6 hours. Also, this model has 1 GB system storage.

There is no difference between either version when it comes to hacking the devices.

Lighter and longer battery life versus clearer screen with vivid colours

Hacks

There are a number of options when it comes to hacks for the PS Vita. From HENkaku, which is temporary hack (removed on reboot) only available to devices on firmware 3.60, to h-encore which is a temporary hack available to device on firmware 3.65, 3.67 and 3.68, and finally HENkaku Ensō, available to devices on firmware 3.60 and 3.65, which is installed after HENkaku/h-encore to make the hack permanent


Each hack has its pro and cons but your options may be limited to the firmware version of your PS Vita.

HENkaku

HENkaku was the first ever homebrew enabler for PS Vita and PSTV. It is akin to jailbreaking an iPhone or rooting an Android device. To install HENkaku, you need a PS Vita or PSTV running system firmware 3.60. Unfortunately, it is not possible to run HENkaku on any device running a higher firmware version and it is also not possible to downgrade your system firmware.

Trivia: In Japanese HENkaku (変革) means "Revolution".

Installation

  1. Open the Browser app on the Vita and visit https://henkaku.xyz
  2. Press the 'Install' button
    HENkaku-1-1-psv.png
  3. Once the installation is complete, the browser will be closed automatically
  • Hint: If you've installed HENkaku before, you can install it again directly from molecularShell's LiveArea. Just tap the molecularShell bubble and use the orange 'Install' button on the Start screen (a Wi-Fi connection is required).
    Ms-livearea.jpg

Troubleshooting guide

HENkaku Ensō

HENkaku Ensō is the evolution of the HENkaku jailbreak that opened the PS Vita and PSTV to a new universe of customisation and user-created content. Install it once and your Vita will be permanently hacked (no need to apply it after each reboot).

Trivia: In Japanese Zen, Ensō symbolizes "Freedom".

Installation

This guide is for devices on firmware 3.60, for a guide for devices on firmware 3.65 head here.

  1. Enable HENkaku (previous section).
  2. Download the enso.vpk from here.
  3. Transfer the vpk file.
  4. Launch it using VitaShell.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  6. Delete vpk.
  7. Done. Permanently hacked (until you uninstall it).

https://enso.henkaku.xyz

https://github.com/TheOfficialFloW/VitaShell/releases

WARNING

DO NOT uninstall Ensō after updating/reinstalling firmware 3.60 otherwise YOU WILL BRICK YOUR DEVICE

Before reinstalling 3.60 or updating to another firmware version, FIRST run the Ensō uninstaller. If you already have reinstalled 3.60 or updated to another firmware version, DO NOT run the Ensō uninstaller. Read the full article here) This has been fixed in HENkaku Ensō v1.1, therefore, ensure that is the version that you install.

h-encore

h-encore, where h stands for hacks and homebrews, is the second public jailbreak for the PS Vita which supports the newest firmware 3.65, 3.67 and 3.68. It allows you to make kernel and user modifications, change the clock speed, install plugins, run homebrews and much more.

Requirements

Your device must be on firmware 3.65, 3.67 or 3.68. Any other is not supported. If you're on a lower firmware, please decide carefully to what firmware you want to update, then search for a trustable guide on r/vitahacks. Remember that on firmware 3.65 you have got the possibility to install Ensō, the permanent hack, whereas on 3.67 and 3.68 you don't. If your device is a phat OLED model, you need a Memory Card in order to install. There's no need for a Memory Card on Slim/PS TV models since they already provide an Internal Storage. Make sure you have got at least 270 MB of free space. Your device must be linked to any PSN account (it doesn't need to be activated though).

Installation

Installation instructions can be found here.

Transferring software to the Vita

VitaShell via FTP

Transferring software to the Vita (.pkg, .vpk, .suprx, .skprx, game folders, etc) can be done using VitaShell/molecularShell and a PC running an FTP client.

For the rest of this guide, VitaShell will be used to mean VitaShell/molecularShell, as molecularShell contains a branch of VitaShell.

  1. Download and install FileZilla (or your preferred FTP client).
  2. Launch VitaShell on the Vita
  3. Press START and ensure SELECT button option is on FTP, then press Circle to close.
    Vs-ftp-select.jpg
  4. Press SELECT to start the FTP connection.
    Vs-ftp-window.jpg
  5. Connect the desktop FTP client to the Vita using the displayed information (usually host 192.168.1.xx and port 1337)
    FileZilla-Connect.png
  6. Done. Transfer files to the Vita's file system.

Note: If you pressed Cross to close the FTP notification window, you will not be able to close VitaShell until you press SELECT again and Circle to cancel the FTP connection.

VitaShell via USB

Transferring software to the Vita (.pkg, .vpk, .suprx, .skprx, game folders, etc) can be done using VitaShell/molecularShell and a PC .

  1. Connect the Vita to a PC using a USB cable.
  2. Launch VitaShell on the Vita
  3. Press START and ensure 'SELECT button' option is on USB and select the required 'USB device' (ie Memory Card, sd2vita) then press Circle to close.
    Vs-usb-select.jpg
  4. Press SELECT to start the USB connection and an addition drive should be available on Windows Explorer/Finder.
    Windows-USB.PNG
  5. Done. Transfer files to the Vita's file system.

Note: Unlike FTP mode, when in USB mode the 'USB device' has to be selected. So to view the Memory Card then view sd2vita, you have to disconnect and change the 'USB device'.

Drive names

Meanings/locations

ux0: - PS Vita Memory Card (unless altered by user)

ur0: - internal PS Vita memory

uma0: - MicroSD card in Vita Game Card slot (SD2Vita) (unless altered by user)

Game IDs

A Game ID's format is as follows; 4 Letters followed by 5 numbers. Example: PCSE00453 (Game ID for US Release for Crimsonland) The first 4 letters define which region the game belongs to. The 5 numbers vary depending on the game title.

Region Game IDs
North America PCSE***** / PCSA*****
Europe PCSF***** / PCSB*****
Asia / Korea, Singapore PCSH***** / VCAS***** / VLAS*****
Japan PCSC***** / VCJS***** / PCSG***** / VLJS***** / VLJM*****

it is important that you make sure that the Update and/or DLC you are downloading matches the same with the Base Game you have in order for it to work.

Installing software

VPK

VPK files are essentially zip files with their extension changed. There are a number of ways to install them and I cover two of them below. I would recommend VitaShell for files smaller than 100 MB and VitaOrganizer for files larger than 100 MB.

VitaShell

When installing smaller .vpk files, VitaShell works very well.

  1. Transfer .vpk files.
  2. Close connection in VitaShell, navigate to .vpk file and press Cross to install.
  3. After the file has been installed, the .vpk file can be deleted.

Note: File transfers will continue even when the Vita screen goes to sleep, but installs DO NOT. This is why VitaShell isn't a good choice to install larger files.

VitaOrganizer

The easiest way I have found to install large .vpk files is with VitaOrganizer.

  1. Download and install VitaOrganizer.
  2. Launch VitaOrganizer
  3. Click 'select folder' and navigate to the folder where .vpk files are located and click 'refresh'.
  4. On Vita, launch VitaShell and press SELECT to start FTP (ensure FTP is selected in the START menu).
  5. Enter FTP IP address in the windows on the toolbar.
  6. Click the file you want to install and select 'Install HOMEBREW to PS Vita in a single step'
    Vo-retroarch-selected.png
  7. Once complete, you can exit VitaShell and find the installation in the LiveArea.

MaiDumpTool

  1. Placed the game, patch and/or DLC folder to be installed in the ux0:mai/ folder.
  2. Launch MaiDumpTool and select 'Install game from folder', 'Install patch from folder' and/or 'Install DLC from folder' (When installing a game from scracth, install the game before any patches or DLC).
    Mdt-install.jpg
  1. Installation complete. MaiDumpTool deletes any install folders on completion.

NoNpDRM

Setup

  1. Download nonpdrm.skprx.
  2. Transfer nonpdrm.skprx to folder ux0:tai/ or ur0:tai/ (if using SD2Vita) on the PS Vita using FTP/USB.
  3. Using VitalShell, edit config.txt in the same folder.
  4. Under KERNEL press right to add new line and append ux0:tai/nonpdrm.skprx or ur0:tai/nonpdrm.skprx (if using SD2Vita).
  5. Exit file with Circle and save, the press START and navigate to Reboot.
  6. Done

Usage

  1. Transfer the nonpdrm format game folders to ux0:app/ (example folder title PCSB00118)
  2. Launch VitaShell, navigate to root folder with Circle, press Triangle and Refresh LiveArea.
  3. If successful the notification will state number of items added.

SD2Vita

The SD2Vita adaptor, once configured, uses the PS Vita Game Card slot to store data on a MicroSD card (up to 256 GB)

Some example from eBay - Black version and White version - note the black version states it is for 'PSVITA 1000 ONLY'.

  1. Download and install either Win32 Disk Imager (Windows) or Etcher (Windows/MacOS).
  2. Download zzBlank.img.
  3. Download the latest version of TF Card Plugin Tool.
  4. Use Win32 Disk Imager or Etcher to write zzBlank.img to the SD Card.
  5. Format the memory card exFAT with default allocation unit size.
  6. Transfer TF.Card.Plugin/Tool.ENG.vpk to the Vita ux0: drive.
  7. Install TF Card Plugin Tool using VitaShell by navigating to the file then pressing Cross and following the instructions.
  8. Insert SD2Vita Adapter (with SD Card) in the PS Vita Game Card slot.
  9. Launch TF Card Plugin Tool and select 'SD2VITA = uma0 / MemoryCard = ux0' (first option, circle to action) then reboot the PS Vita.
  10. The SD2Vita Card should now be accessible via the uma0: drive and the TF.Card.Plugin/Tool.ENG.vpk file can be deleted.

Upgrading PS Vita Memory Card

  1. Synchronise trophies with PSN (these will not be backed up by CMA).
  2. Download and install Content Manager Assistant (Windows/MacOS).
  3. Connect Vita to PC, launch Content Manager on Vita, select 'Copy Content', under Backup Utility select 'Back Up'.
  4. Power down the Vita and replace the Memory Card with the new Memory Card.
  5. Power up the Vita then repeat step 3 this time selecting 'Restore'.

Note: You may have to re-edit the tai/config.txt file for any plugins you have installed.

Recommended software

Miscellaneous hacks

Battery percentage

  1. Download shellbat.suprx.
  2. Transfer shellbat.suprx to folder ux0:tai/ or ur0:tai/ (if using SD2Vita) on PS Vita using FTP/USB.
  3. Using VitalShell, edit config.txt in the tai folder.
  4. Under *main press right to add new line and append ux0:tai/nonpdrm.skprx or ur0:tai/nonpdrm.skprx (if using SD2Vita).
  5. Exit file with Circle and save, then press Start and navigate to Reboot.
  6. Done. Percentage will be displayed next to the battery icon.

References

  1. Derek Strickland (October 2, 2015). "Sony underclocked PS Vita's CPU frequency to 444MHz". Tweak Town.