PS Jailbreak

Monday, 6 September 2010

There’s been recent news of a USB key which will allow users to hack the Playstation 3. The mod will allow the user to play backed up games by copying them on to either an internal or external hard drive and allowing the use of homebrew software. The mod also allows for the user to play games from different regions and  play backed up game discs. The mod however, doesn’t appear to be able to do much with DVD or Blue-ray movie discs and doesn’t work with either PSX or PS2 titles.



This is big news, as the Sony console was the last of the major consoles that remained un-hacked and until recently was seen as a step ahead in terms of fending off piracy and the modding / homebrew community.

The unique thing about this particular mod is it circumvents the copy protection mechanisms of the console by the use of code alone and doesn’t require any kind of any internal hardware modification. All that needs to happen is a quick insert of the USB key and whatever PS3 game you may have, is yours to play.

Sony have begun to take legal action with various distributers and have already successfully managed to shut down potential distributors in Australia. To make matters even more interesting, inventors of the USB key have already had their wares cloned by several Chinese companies who are now purportedly improving the code. To counter this, the inventors of the device are making now claims that their product is superior and even offering a warranty as a way of fending off the competition! Maybe this blatant theft will give them insight as to how Sony feels… 

It has so far been reported that Sony’s main response will be to attempt to block use of the device through it’s update system and by banning users from it’s various online portals. Whether this tactic will be successful remains to be seen, potentially if Sony update their code, so to can the modders.

My own opinion the device is mixed, I don’t endorse piracy in anyway, as it takes money away from hard working developers, however I do think that an active homebrew community is healthy sign for any console system, demonstrating a loyal console fan base and people who show a willingness to develop for it. It may also help Sony sell a few more consoles in process but I imagine this is only a short term benefit, as it would most likely be depriving them of game royalties over the long haul.

The question I pose here is, why do people need to pirate software?

Is it because the major console platforms are producing software that is a little too hefty on the wallet or is it because there is now almost an expectation that gamers should at least be able to get some of their content for free? Would the gaming industry benefit from a subscription service which allows gamers to play some of the latest games every month for a fee, instead of having to purchase them outright?

I know when I look at the price of the average game, I certainly feel that I’m not getting value for money. Hollywood spends millions on producing films and their special effects and yet movie titles when released to the public for purchase, are only a fraction of the cost of what I might pay for latest gaming title. In fact once you’ve purchased three to four games, you’ve usually spent as much as what it would cost you to actually buy the console itself. Some how this just doesn’t seem right and I wonder if this is the reason why piracy has become so rampant and in itself become a cultural phenomenon across so many computer and video gaming platforms.

I think in many ways piracy itself maybe a reaction to the market place, if the price is fair then the incentive will be removed to conduct it.