In what has seemingly become an inevitable eventuality in the life of any gaming platform, Sony has announced that they are dropping support for a downloadable PSP title due to concerns that it contains an exploit that allows pirates to hack the Playstation Vita. This is the first news to emerge regarding potential hacks and cracks for the Vita.
Sony announced today that they are taking quick and decisive action by pulling Everybody’s Tennis from the Vita’s download marketplace due to concerns that it has weaknesses that hackers can exploit to essentially hack the Vita and potentially circumvent core features of the device. While the extent of these potential exploits is not fully known at this time, these loopholes could allow for the running of unlicensed and pirated software as well as code that could pose security and privacy concerns for Vita users. While the reason was not officially confirmed, Sony pulled Motorstorm: Arctic Edge from the Vita marketplace in March and some speculate that this was due to similar concerns.
These early hacking and cracking concerns come as little surprise considering the numerous piracy issues that Sony experienced with the PSP. In an April 2009 interview with Gamasutra, Peter Dille, then senior vice president of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America, called the piracy plague of the PSP “frankly sickening” and he went further to comment that “piracy has taken out a big chunk of our software sales on PSP”. Whether or not the Vita will be affected to the same degree remains to be seen. The Playstation Vita utilizes proprietary game cartridges which are said to limit the potential for piracy, however Sony’s continued push towards downloadable games may provide a lower barrier for hackers wishing to exploit potential weaknesses.