The last PS4 Jailbreak was released almost 2 years ago, and there hasn’t been that much news for the PS4 since then. On the surface, it could appear a lot of the hackers on the scene are focusing exclusively on the PS5, but I believe there is reason to hope for good things on the PS4.
Have hackers abandoned the PS4?
We all love shiny new things, and it’s no surprise that when the PS5 was released, many hackers turned their attention to that new challenge. The PS5 was released in late 2020. About one year later, we saw the release of P00Bs4, a Jailbreak for the PS4 Firmware 9.00. Since then, the PS4 has seen no less than 10 new firmwares being released in 2 years, and no new Jailbreak has been announced for the PS4.
In parallel, hacking progress on the PS5 is slow but steady, and hackers announce something new (even if minimal) for the PS5 almost on a daily basis.
On the surface, it appears a lot of folks on the scene have given up on the PS4, but I don’t believe this to be true.
Progress is still happening on the PS4
The very first thing I want people to pay attention to is that a hackable PS4 9.00 can now be bought for a very reasonable price, on eBay and the like. If, 2 or 3 years ago, owning 2 PS4s felt like a rich kid’s solution, I feel that in 2023, it is much more reasonable to get a 9.00 for cheap. Bottom line: if your only problem is that you’re on higher PS4 Firmware that still hasn’t seen a hack, it is a very valid option to buy a used 9.00. Heck, if you can’t afford it, I’d argue that selling your 11.xx and buy a 9.00 instead is a very valid alternative that could cost you close to 0.
I’m convinced some hackers are still looking into Jailbreak opportunities for PS4 Firmware 10.xx and above, but it’s undeniable that a lot of them are, at best, stretched thin between PS5 and PS4. But, restating, if your only concern with PS4 is a hack for a higher firmware, just cave in and buy a 9.00 already!
The PS4 Homebrew SDK could probably use some help
With this whole “will there be a PS4 11.00 Jailbreak” question set aside, I think it’s worth mentioning there are lots of things that still need to happen on the PS4 to make it a great homebrew machine. I did talk about creating homebrew on the PS4 not so long ago, and I also touched on the open SDK’s accelerated GPU support, which is currently not awesome. As I understand, folks working on the SDK know where to go to bring full GPU support to PS4 Homebrew, but it’s lots of work.
This is a place where a lot of people, even non hackers (but still, developers) could help moving the scene forward: in my experience, the console hacking scenes work by waves, and we’re at the step for the PS4 where people with less pure “hacking” skills, but more development (SDKs, Engines, ports, gamedev) oriented skills, could really contribute. Join their discord (https://discord.com/invite/GQr8ydn) if you think you can help!
PS5 efforts will help the PS4
Last but not least, I believe that a lot of the effort happening on the PS5 will contribute, directly or indirectly, to PS4 knowledge. It’s not a secret that the hardware architecture of the two machines is fairly similar, and given that they both run on a FreeBSD-based OS (although different versions), a lot of the knowledge that hackers and homebrew enthusiasts can acquire on one of the machines, will help them on the other. Recently, hacker TheFloW announced that he submitted a new critical vulnerability to the PlayStation bug bounty, and many of us believe it could be impacting both the PS4 and the PS5.
The similar architecture is also why a lot of the PS5 “top” hackers and developers are, unsurprisingly, people who already knew a lot about the PS4 architecture.
In other words, in my opinion, any amount of time spent understanding either the PS4 or the PS5, is helping in your understanding of the other. Which is also why I think that if you’re interested in understanding how PS5 hacking works, you should start looking into PS4 hacking first, which is today much more accessible (financially and in terms of the available tools).
It is clear that a lot of hackers are focusing their efforts on the PS5. This is not to say that the PS4 is “fully hacked” and that there’s nothing to be done with it anymore, however I believe that people interested in the PS4 should 1) grab a 9.00 PS4 and 2) look for places where they can help move the PS4 forward (help with the homebrew SDK, Homebrew development, engine ports, tutorials,…).
Furthermore, I’m convinced that PS5 efforts on hacking will benefit the PS4, directly or indirectly.
If you’re looking to get started with PS4 hacking, and/or if you believe you can help the Homebrew SDK development, head over to their discord at https://discord.com/invite/GQr8ydn