Hackers Get Pokémon Running On A PS4

Hackers Get Pokémon Running On A PS4

Ever wanted to play Pokémon on your PlayStation 4? You can’t. But at least you can watch someone else do it?

Using an exploit involving the PS4’s web browser, the fail0verflow hacking team figured out how to crack open Sony’s console and install a full version of Linux, which they demonstrated this week by using it to run a modified version of a Pokémon GBA ROM.

The bad news for aspiring PS4 hackers: 1) this is only doable in an older version of the PS4 firmware (specifically 1.76); 2) the folks behind fail0verflow haven’t made these tools public. They did, however, show off what they can do:

This is a remarkable achievement, as the PlayStation 4 is a closed system — although the console’s guts are similar to a personal computer, Sony doesn’t want you cracking it open and modifying the operating system at all. It’s not clear exactly how the fail0verflow group managed to install Linux on the machine, but this could open up all sorts of doors for homebrew software in the future, especially if they figure out how to get this thing running on PS4s with updated firmware.


  • Wait a minute they are running Linux on a PS4 and using a Linux GBA emulator that can be easily downloaded. The achievement isn’t running Pokemon it’s running Linux.

      • Surely if they can run linux then they can run a linux hypervisor which will then, in turn, run just about anything

    • Running the emulator is a representation that they have enough software and hardware functionality enabled and running through the console to be able to run the emulator at what appeared to be a playable rate. Getting Linux to run on the machine is one thing, enabling various forms of hardware functionality to run different applications is another. So yes, running Pokemon is an achievement

      • Running a game boy game on 2014 console hardware is hardly an achievement. The original Xbox could, right up to PS1 for chrissake.

        • Yes that is true, the processing power is there, but think of it like a PC (which it is) you’ve just built with the best graphics card, fresh after you install a new Linux distro you cant just chuck the latest game on it and play at max settings. You’ll need to install WINE to give the game software a platform to run on and even then the game will maybe only get 1-2 FPS. Heck even a Linux compiled emulator may not work smoothly, you need to install the drivers and such to enable the hardware for software to interact with otherwise it only has access to the CPU (potentially not even all of it) and base video memory and processing. Given that this is a console type PC with custom hardware, getting some sort of driver for them isn’t easy so they have to go about it the hard way to enable hardware functionality. Do you think that as soon as Linux SUCCESSFULLY installed on the machine that the network, sound, and GUI worked perfectly the first time? No, they had to create drivers to enable the NIC, sound card and video chipset to get a GUI.

          • Considering the custom hardware is based off over the counter pc hardware, it shouldn’t be too hard to find compatible drivers written enough grunt to run a Gameboy Advance. As I said above I believe the real achievement is running Linux with access to most of the systems power.

  • First we run Linux apps on a PS4, then just normal PS4 games but under Linux, then get the PS4 shiv to run those games on x86-64 PCs, then finally we get an emulate r for the PS4. Well that’s my dream timeline at least.

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