It was only a matter of time before hackers found out how to run homebrew games and apps on Sony's PSP - and on May 5th, the first homebrew app was successfully run on the PSP. Since then, the homebrew scene has literally exploded with people all around the globe coding emulators & apps for the portable unit and there isn't any sign of stopping.
Emulation is the biggest purpose for hacking a system and the PSP has been a prime target due to the large crisp screen, portability, and memory stick storage format. Because emulation on the PSP has grown so much in the recent months, you can find working or near-perfect emulators for the NES, SNES, GBA, MAME, PC Engine, Genesis, Neo Geo and more. But emulation doesn't end with games - you can find emulators for even running Windows and the Amiga operating systems as well.
With the nature of the homebrew scene, there is always a dark side to it all - game piracy. Already, PSP games are able to be dumped and run from the memory stick with special loader applications. The upside is that the general PSP community (and a select number of PSP homebrew sites) are strongly against PSP game piracy, and thankfully so - PSP owners don't want to see their beloved portable fail. One prime example of a system failing because of piracy was the Sega Dreamcast. Sega ran out of money to keep the Dreamcast on the market, and it ran out of money because games weren't selling to their full potential due to very widespread and easy piracy of Dreamcast titles. Sony has been trying to keep one step ahead of the hackers which provide the means for PSP owners to play their homebrew apps and games - in the recently released Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition, there is a required 1.5 Firmware update (not needed for USA PSP's but included anyway). PSP owners can expect required future firmware updates in other upcoming PSP titles but you can guarantee the hackers will be on top of getting around this roadblock as well.
PS3 Portal will be keeping an eye on the war between Sony and the PSP hackers. In the mean time, enjoy your PSP and prepare for some great gaming come August/September when much anticipated games such as GripShift, Ys: The Ark of Napishtim, Grand Theft Auto, and Burnout Legends are released.