In a further blow to Sony's efforts to curb the use of homebrew software and pirate games on the PlayStation Portable, hackers last night released a patch for the recently launched v2.00 firmware which allows it to be downgraded back to v1.50.
That, you may recall, is the last version to have the security loophole which allowed users to launch unauthorised third-party applications - including homebrew games and programs, emulators, and pirated games - off their Memory Sticks.
Until now, users who had bought PSPs recently with v1.52 firmware on them, or who had upgraded their systems to v2.00 (a patch which brought with it a host of new functionality, such as a web browser, wireless photo sharing and the ability to set custom wallpapers), were unable to revert their systems to the older, less secure system.
However, utilising the security loophole in the PSP v2.00 wallpaper system which we reported yesterday, a group of hackers have made it possible to downgrade - and posted the details of their exploits to the Internet, causing a surge of interest which knocked several popular PSP information sites off the 'net last night.
The exploit is not for the faint-hearted - as it involves several hard resets of the PSP and at one point, a message reporting that the firmware update has failed and SCE support needs to be contacted - but has been reported as successfully working on a variety of PSP hardware including Japanese, US and European units.
The ball is now firmly in Sony's court, with the company facing once again the prospect of piracy on its new system - expect to see a revised version of the v2.00 firmware which seals up the wallpaper exploit in the near future. What will be interesting to see is if the company offers any incentives to upgrade to this new version, as it did with the web browser and other features in v2.00.