Bless the crazy PSP hackers: they’ve been battling with Sony for years to make the PSP run homebrew (read: unapproved) applications and games. Every time they crack the system, Sony updates the firmware to fix the hole, so hacking your PSP required stepping down to the last version. But now the good guys have come up with a new hack that works on any version firmware from 1.0 to 3.5, using an exploit in the game Lumines. Engadget notes that the game has now shot to #1 over at Amazon, which suggests there is a big block of consumers out there who want their PSP to run homebrew and are willing to not only pay for it, but risk bricking their unit to do so.

So what I can’t figure out is why Sony (or Apple) doesn’t monetize this group and sell the ability to run homebrew code, either with an unlocked version of the hardware that cost $50 more, or with a cartridge that did what the game exploits do. This kind of sanctioned system could also be made to run only true homebrew code and not pirated games. I bet even that kind of limited homebrew functionality would sell huge, especially if the company made it easy. Are you listening Mr. Stringer? Couldn’t Sony use a new legacy right about now? Be the first major CE company that was smart enough to open itself up to user innovation. The press loves this stuff—at the very least, you’d get a lot of friendly coverage. Heck, at this point, what do you have to lose?

Anyway, with the PSP now down to $170 retail and a ton of great homebrew code out there, there’s never been a better time to pick up a PSP or dust off your old one. For ideas on what to do with a pwned unit, check out our story “Do More with The PSP.” And remember kids, game-pirating theives are just as bad as narrow-minded CEOs that lock down their hardware. —Mike Haney