PS4 hacked to run Pokemon. SteamOS should "just work"

Now, don't get too excited. This hack isn't likely to be something you're running any soon for shits and giggles, but it's there and it exists. It's the work of the group fail0verflow who previously opened up the PS3, Wii and Wii U.

Here's a video of the group's recent presentation, showing a PS4 running an exploit via the online manual to boot a custom Linux set up. Skip to about 3m50s to see it firing up a special "PlayStation Version' of Pokémon.

Marcan, speaking for fail0verflow, admits that the console hadn't previously been a target after the group decided that it "was not a particularly interesting device, being a glorified PC". However, as it turns out they've now discovered that "the PS4 isn’t really a PC, which makes it a more interesting target." There's enough PC stuff there to have "serious advantages" though and overall they decided to have a (literal) crack: "it’s hard enough to be interesting, and easy enough to be practical".

Here's what's up and running so far:

Apparently, while "the hardware is certainly similar to a PC, it is not a PC, and Linux needs quite a bit of extra work to get running". Currently the code is "in a pretty ugly state" but then it is a first run. What's really interesting is that the similarities to PC mean the team are talking about being able to run full, current games rather than a few old emulators. Most strikingly the group think "SteamOS on the PS4 should 'just work'".

Here's the full quote where they talk about what they believe is possible:

"Linux on the PS4 actually makes a lot of sense, more than it ever did on any previous game console. It’s close enough to a PC that getting 3D acceleration working, while rather painful (as we’ve learned), seems entirely possible without undue amounts of effort (in a timeframe of months, not years), to the level needed for real indie games and even AAA titles, not just homebrew. And many thousands of indie and AAA games already run on Linux. Yes, SteamOS on the PS4 should “just work” once the driver issues are sorted out. We demoed a silly GBA emulator because all we had was a 2D framebuffer, but the real fun is getting 3D games to run just like they do on a PC (we’ve tried some commercial indie games already and they do work fine, just painfully slow as they are using software rendering right now, of course)."

The PS4 version of Linux used lives on github here, but unless you understand what it means to "chain in a Linux loader" via a FreeBSD-based OS or WebKit browser exploit you're probably best leaving it to the experts.

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