The Advantages of Letting Kids Hack Their PSPs

Kid-friendly hacks can add to your child's PSP experience

Hacking a PSP can definitely be dangerous for kids, but some benefits can be gained from the process. A PSP with custom firmware running on it can do things a normal one can't, some of which are allowed within the law.

If your child is determined to hack their PSP, here are some of the fun, legal things you or your child can do with an unlocked system.

Run Homebrew

Homebrew software is developed by hobbyists, and it's available at no charge. In fact, it's illegal to charge anyone for homebrew software because it's not licensed by Sony, so you should never pay for it.

Homebrew isn't just about free games, it can also expand the capabilities of your PSP, from allowing instant messaging to turning the system into a universal remote control.

For some examples of the neatest homebrew on PSP, check out this list, which includes links to download each of the homebrews to your hacked PSP. Don't worry, they're safe and easy enough for kids to use without wrecking anything.

Note: Installing homebrew may void your PSP's warranty.

Try Foreign Gadgets

Some peripherals for PSP aren't natively supported by the North American model. The GPS Receiver for PSP is one peripheral that players can use on a hacked PSP, in conjunction with the right homebrew software.

Play Game Backups on PSPGo

There are ways to make digital backups of your PSP game discs (or UMDs) if you have access to a PSP-1000 or 2000 with custom firmware, and PSP hackers have made it possible to put these backups on the memory stick of a PSPGo and play them on that system.

What this means is that games never released in the PlayStation Store, like Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, can be played on the PSPGo.

Games not available as digital downloads by now are unlikely to ever be made available, so this is a great alternative if you have a PSPGo and want to play these games. However, be aware that downloading or creating a backup of a game you don't own is illegal, so only do this for game discs that you own.

Don't Want to Hack the PSP?

If you're not interested in letting your kid use a hacked PSP, see our list of the top PSP games for kids for some suggestions that will work right out of the box, no hack needed.

However, remember that the PSP isn't good just for games. There are actually several other things the PSP can do besides play video games.

Haven't made the purchase yet? See how to choose the best PSP for a young gamer for some tips. You might even consider avoiding the PSP altogether and grabbing the newer PS Vita.