Some PSP (Personal Play Station) owners out there may be having a hard time playing all of the games or watching the movies they have downloaded and/or bought. This is probably because the firmware they have is not compatible. This article will provide an explanation of what exactly firmware is, along with its purpose. It will also look at options of downgrading the firmware for your PSP, and what the associated risks and benefits are.
Firmware is a software program designed to permanently reside in the read only segment of your PSP’s hard drive. Its basic function is to allow the PlayStation Portable to function even when a game is not inserted into the unit. It is a software package, akin to the operating system installed on your home computer. When new games or movies are purchased, they automatically update the unit with the latest version of firmware. This is done to provide your PlayStation Portable with the most up to date protection and security measures. Sounds great, but the downside is that the newer versions of firmware can seriously limit what you can run on your PSP, especially older games/movies, or those that have been downloaded from the internet or burned from others.
So for those PSP owners who have a desire to utilize their so-called ‘home brew’ programs, their only option may be to downgrade the firmware on their unit. This can be quite a complicated process, given the high number of different firmware versions, which to lead to a different downgrade process for each. Please keep in mind that there are also risks involved with attempting to downgrade your firmware. Some major risks will be briefly outlined below.
The most obvious risk involved with attempting to downgrade the firmware is that if done improperly you may leave your unit inoperable and worthless. Simply put, uninstalling the essential firmware without properly replacing it will render the PSP unable to function properly. Those with experience with this unfortunate instance have dubbed it ‘bricking’ the PlayStation Portable, as it leaves it as valuable and useful as a brick.
A drawback to downgrading the firmware is that some new media may actually require the newest firmware to operate. For those PSP owners looking to exclusively use it for ‘home brew’ type media, this may not pose a problem, but certainly will for any consumers who may want to buy the newest games officially released by Sony.
The other major drawback to keep in mind when considering whether or not to downgrade your firmware is that upon doing so, you will automatically void your warranty. Though PSP’s are usually very reliable and easily fixed, any major hardware issues would likely result in having to replace the unit entirely, as you would not be able to send it in to Sony for repairs.
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