Do you own an old PSP, that you have not used in a while? Why not give it a new purpose and play retro games on the go? But can you put emulators on PSP?
The short answer is “Yes” and I will show you how.
First of all, are emulators illegal?
To start, as a disclaimer, I have no authority on the matter, I cannot decide what is legal or not regarding the use of said emulations. If you wish to do so, I have no responsibility in the matter as you will be acting of your own free will and at your own risk. My statements are my opinions and similar to the ones of the general public.
With that being said, there have been debates out there on whether emulators are illegal or not. People are wondering can you put emulators on PSP or will I get in trouble? It would make sense to think they would be illegal, considering that it is no different than streaming movies on a file-sharing website or platform.
As it turns out, they are NOT illegal, they are perfectly legal to download and use, but here is the catch.
The games themselves, also called ROMs, those files that you use with these emulators, ARE illegal. They are subject to copyright infringement as copies made of a video game company’s IP(Intellectual Property), without their consent, were then distributed to users who download them to play.
You can see it as a bootleg or pirated copy of a game. It is the same thing as reproducing music CDs or movies.
Now, if you own a copy of a game, like the actual cartridge or disc, and you decide to make your own ROM file, then there is no issue, as long as you don’t share that content with anyone else but yourself.
Let’s make a comparison with a movie, it would illegal to make a copy of a movie for resale purposes, but it would be ok if used as a backup, in case that disc gets lost, stolen, or damaged. So ROMs are similar to that concept.
As for emulators, in this scenario, we could see them as movie players. We know there are tons of different models of disc or tape readers out there from different companies and movies are not exclusive to a particular brand of disc player.
Even to play video files on your mobile or computer, there are a lot of choices of software to run them. So emulators would be no different.
There are even third-party consoles being sold on the market that can play original cartridges. If they were illegal, they would have been pulled from the market a long time ago.
Mind you, some websites sell “reproductions” of some of your favorite games that are sold at a fraction of their current value on the market, depending on their rarity. These guys can be in big trouble if the major game companies get involved.
Again, numerous articles are claiming that, emulators are legal others say the opposite. Who is right and who is wrong? At the end of the day, when in doubt, just don’t. But that’s just me.
Is PSP good for emulators?
A PSP is a great piece of hardware, capable of great things, but to some extent. Although on its own, you cannot run emulators on your PlayStation Portable device. But that does not mean that you can’t.
With the right firmware and software installed, you can turn your handheld into an all-in-one on-the-go gaming system.
What consoles can you emulate on PSP?
The system will be able to support numerous older generation consoles up to a certain level.
While you will be able to play all of your favorite classics on the device, it can do so much as what the hardware is capable of.
So the PSP is powerful enough to play some N64, even PSOne games, but not enough to play let’s say Dreamcast, Gamecube, PS2, or any other consoles that came after that.
But still, being able to run anything older than the 6th generation of gaming consoles is still pretty neat.
What emulators can run on a PSP?
Now, there are a lot of options on what emulators can run on PSP to pick and choose from.
The question is, which system(s) do you want your PlayStation Portable to emulate?
As mentioned previously, there are plenty of consoles that you can run on the device up to the sixth-generation consoles.
So, you would want any emulators for these systems of fifth-gen and below, that are also compatible with the handheld.
You can find a list of available emulators per system, via this link that I found from emulation.gametechwiki.com.
How to install emulators on PSP
So here is the breakdown on how to install emulators on PSP.
To start, you cannot simply download the application and put it on your device. It won’t run with the current firmware, even with the latest version.
What you will need is to install custom firmware. See it as “unlocking” your handheld’s potential, or as we call it, Jailbreaking or even hacking.
Before installing that custom firmware, you want to make sure your PSP is up to date, with all recent bug fixes.
Now, the good thing about this, is that Sony is no longer providing updates for its handheld family, so you won’t need to reinstall the custom software ever again. So that will give you peace of mind on that front.
To install the firmware, you will need to find and download it based on the PSP model you have, so either: the original (PSP 1000), the slim version (PSP 2000), PSP Brite with an upgraded screen (PSP 3000), the all-digital PSP Go (PSP N1000) or PSP Street (PSP E1000).
Now, the firmware you will need to download is called “Pro-C2”, you need will the version that matches the latest official firmware that is installed on your device.
So, if you have version 6.61, which is the latest available, you will be needing the 6.61 Pro-C2 firmware.
Now for legal reasons, I will not provide a download link, but you can easily find it on the web.
You can go on the following link that will give you a step-by-step guide on how to install the firmware, based on the model you currently have. Here is the link: PSP Instructions.
Now that your PSP is emulation-ready, all you would need now is to download the desired emulator, and store it in your memory stick.
To find out which emulator to get you can use my link in the section “What emulators can run on a PSP?”.
Can you put emulators on PSP?
With the right tools, as in software, you can play anything less than the sixth generation of gaming consoles, providing that the laws in your region permit it, otherwise it will be at your own risk.
So if you have one of these PSPs at home that is currently gathering dust on a shelf or is stored in a box somewhere inside of your closet or locker, why not give it a new purpose? I mean if you have it, might as well use it.
Let’s face it, although made good, not great money with their pocket-friendly handheld and its successor being the PSVita, their library of games are very limited, even more, when wanting to play a movie on UMD discs.
So emulation would be giving it a breath of fresh air and bringing something “new” to the table.
Is PSP worth buying in 2021?
It all depends on what you want to do with it. If it is to play PSP exclusive titles, then sure, you can surely find them in a second-hand store, local ads, or even online. If you want the “real deal”, then they are relatively cheap depending on where you find it.
Although, if you plan to buy the handheld in the hopes of playing emulation, then there are already other solutions out there, mostly online.
By solutions, I mean products made for emulation, some even come already preloaded with a great number of games, from a number of consoles, including but again the products are out there and perhaps it is only a matter of time before they are shut down or even sued by the major gaming companies.
One would think, that if it is sold in stores or on a website, then it should be legal. Not exactly true, so be careful when considering doing so.
Hopefully, this article has enlightened you on how can you put emulators on PSP. So, give your old handheld device a second chance at entertaining you and go retro on the go.
Enjoy, dust off that old PSP, and game on.