Hackers mod a Sony PlayStation Portal to run PSP games

Modders claim GTA: Liberty City Stories and Tekken 6 are running 'very smoothly'

Three months after the November launch of the PlayStation Portal, Sony's game streaming handheld has been hacked by Google security engineers to run PlayStation Portable (PSP) games in emulation.

The PlayStation Portal is a small tablet computer with the handles of a DualSense controller attached to its short edges. The $200 machine is not a portable PlayStation: it relies on a nearby PS5 console to render games. In effect, it's really more of a remote, Wi-Fi-connected monitor with a built-in controller for playing streamed games.

It doesn't have the computational grunt necessary to play the latest titles on its own. However, Andy Nguyen and Calle Svensson, two information security engineers at Google, plus an unnamed collaborator with the handle "xyz," on Tuesday revealed that the device has sufficient horsepower to run the open source PPSSPP emulator that allows PlayStation Portable games to run on devices other than Sony's own kit.

Nguyen told The Register that while the performance of the emulator on PlayStation Portal hasn't been measured, PPSSPP plays Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Tekken 6 "very smoothly."

The crew responsible for porting the emulator to the Portal haven't shared details how they made it work, but Nguyen explained that it didn't require a hardware exploit and was done entirely in software. Nguyen also revealed that there's about 6GB of free storage available in the Portal device.

That means there should be enough space on the handheld for a couple of PSP titles – many of which were originally stored on optical Universal Media Disks capable of holding 900MB or 1.8GB of storage, depending on whether it was a single or dual-layer disk.

But before you get too excited about playing your old PSP titles on the Portal, Nguyen also admitted that "There's no release planned in the near future, and there's much more work to be done."

Nguyen announced that – based on the positive feedback – the team may show off the mod in videos over the coming weekend. ®

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