This morning we learned that the first PS4 emulator is in the works. The program is called "Orbital," and before you get too excited, just know that it is in its very early stages. This isn't something you'll be able to download and use for a long time, and for those of you who fly the Jolly-Roger, chill out, because there are no commercial games currently working on the emulator.
No, what we have here is a fascinating experiment, and a prototype emulator for what is currently the most popular home gaming system in the world (by the numbers). In the video above you can see the emulator "working." We know. It looks like The Matrix, and it's not very exciting to watch. We're not going to pretend to understand what's happening there, but it does have a lot of people who are smarter than we are really excited.
Orbital is being constructed (according to ResetEra) by a coder named AlexAltea. At the time, he's able to emulate firmware 5.0, dumping system files. Below you can see an image of the prototype dumper which, again, will probably only excite those of you who know how it's working:
Alex has a very long road ahead of him. Emulation is tricky business, as you all probably know. We don't even have a foolproof Nintendo 64 emulator, and it's freaking 2018! People still freak out when we get certain PS2 games in better-optimized states for emulation, so I don't expect anyone to be running Horizon Zero Dawn or Bloodborne on their PCs any time soon.
If that's a dream you'd love to see realized one day, you're more than welcome to contribute to Orbital. On his github page Alex notes that people "can contribute to Orbital either by directly contributing with code, or by running tests on their consoles." Is it risky? You bet! You're very likely going to end up with a bricked console, or at the very least, you're going to void your precious warranty. It could be worth it, though -- for science (you monster).