Sony is very protective of its new PlayStation Vita when it comes to users hacking it to run their own custom homebrew applications, and considering how piracy helped to sink the Vita's predecessor, the PlayStation Portable, can you really blame the company for being extra cautious? Sony is being so cautious, in fact, that it would rather forego business than allow for a window into homebrew access to exist. That's why the company has removed two PSP games that can be played on the Vita from the PlayStation Store. See, word on the street is that Motorstorm: Arctic Edge and Everybody's Tennis can be used to break into the Vita's PSP emulation layer which allows people to run all of the old PSP homebrew software on the Vita. While this isn't a direct Vita hack, who knows what industrious hackers could learn from this layer of access? GamesRadar has the story.
Sony has removed PSP title Everybody's Tennis from the PlayStation Store after hackers discovered it contained an exploit that allowed them to run PSP homebrew applications on a PlayStation Vita. It follows the removal of MotorStorm: Arctic Edge which was taken down shortly after the new handheld was launched. We can confirm both games have indeed disappeared from our download list on not only PlayStation Vita, but also PSP Go as well, despite having been there for re-downloading last time we looked. It is a shame as both are rather good.
Hopefully the two PSP games will be patched and restored to the PS Store, although we wouldn't bet on it. In the mean-time, if you have PSP games that you haven't re-downloaded, perhaps best to get them on your memory card now in case this happens to more titles. Or in case Sony patches out the PSP emulation altogether as it did with PS3's Other OS. Don't say it'll never happen...
It's a shame that Sony felt it had to remove the two games from the store and hopefully they'll be available again soon after being patched to remove the vulnerability. It seems very heavy-handed to me to totally scrap them, particularly since PSP owners can no longer purchase or redownload them as well. We've seen examples of how Sony giveth and Sony taketh away over the past few years when it comes to the PlayStation 3, but I certainly hope that the company leaves the Vita's PSP semi-backward-compatibility alone. The company has known for years that certain classic PSP games can easily enable hackers, yet still built PSP emulation into the Vita. Removing that feature overall is incredibly short-sighted. Not that sort of thing has ever stopped the company before, mind you. This incident also goes to show the biggest pitfall of digital distribution: if and when a publisher decides to remove its product(s) for sale, then they are just gone in an instant. There are no used digital copies of "out of print" games like Motorstorm on a shelf down at GameStop. If you happen to own a working PSP with a UMD drive and you want to play either of these games, however, the used game market has just become your best friend.