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Sony sues PlayStation 3 hackers

Wed 12 Jan 2011 8:40am GMT / 3:40am EST / 12:40am PST
HardwareLegalPublishing

George Hotz and fail0verflow, plus 100 others, hit with restraining orders over trafficking circumvention technology

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

Sony Computer Entertainment America is suing notorious hacker George Hotz and more than 100 others, including members of fail0verflow, for publishing root key details and cracks for the PlayStation 3.

Last year Hotz published an exploit for the PlayStation 3, but it wasn't until this year that hackers fail0verflow released information on how to completely circumvent security measures for the system, leaving it wide open to exploitation.

The hardware manufacturer alleges the defendants "circumvented effective technological protection measures" for the PlayStation 3 and other copyrighted works, and "trafficked in circumvention technology, products, services, methods, codes, software tools, devices, including but not limited to the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm Keys, encryption and/or decryption keys, dePKG firmware decrypter program, Signing Tools, 3.55 Firmware Jailbreak, and/or any other technologies that enable unauthorized access to and/or copying of PS3 Systems and other copyrighted works."

Sony alleges the defendants have violated the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Copyright Act and related state and common laws covered by the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, according to legal filings published by Hotz.

Sony is seeking a Temporary Restraining Order against Hotz, along with an Order to Show Cause and Order of Impoundment claiming "it will suffer irreparable harm unless Defendant Hotz's violations are enjoined."

The restraining order would stop Hotz from trafficking any circumvention technology or providing any links to websites offering circumvention technology, and from accessing the PlayStation 3 system in order to obtain code or information, or publishing any code or instructions or assisting others to do so.

The impoundment order gives Hotz 10 days to deliver any hardware or software to Sony's legal team which store circumvention technology.

At the time of writing details of the PS3 Jailbreak and a video from Hotz were still available freely online.

97 Comments

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

714 495 0.7
Serves em right. What would they spect?. That piece of code was confidential stuff after all

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
I can't help but reading a panicked "do something, anything!" between the lines.

My favorite sentence in that file:
Unless this Court enjoins Defendants’ unlawful conduct, hackers will succeed in running and distributing Circumvention Devices that run pirated software on the PS3 System.

That is wishful thinking at best. Ironically, if the PS3 was a cellphone, circumventing all the protection measurements to run any software you want would be legal, since it would be part of last year's exemption from the DMCA. (http://www.copyright.gov/1201/). But that is just about the last straw to cling onto.

The document also states the defendants had been "releasing software code that will allow users to run unauthorized or pirated software on the PS3 System". Which is plain wrong. Sony might as well sue Philips for making a screwdriver a.k.a. "PS3 winding metal security rod circumvention device".

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Till Dzierzon
Localization QA Tester

17 0 0.0
Serves them right? Because they manipulate their own hardware? They bought it, own it and should be allowed to do whatever they want with it.
Edit: Thanks Klaus. I just couldn't come up with such good example as your screwdriver hack :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Till Dzierzon on 12th January 2011 9:32am

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Antony Carter
Senior Programmer

84 47 0.6
@Klaus

Although im not sure Sony will manage to get anywhere with this, your screw driver example is backwards, as the screw driver was invented before the PS3 and has many other uses, These Hacks were invented for the soul purpose of undoing the PS3 encryption and security.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
The fact is, the hack was published to damage Sony's, and whilst I am not against the homebrew and the idea of using the machine how you want to, the hackers are not so nieve not to realise that 90% plus of the people using this hack will be doing it to either play or create pirated games. There are just a much larger amount of people who want COD and Fifa for free than there are people who want to create indie games. That's not to say the second group don't exist, but that it is a relitively small group compared to the large group who want free games or to profit from PS3 piracy.
Therefore, if there are laws in place Sony can use, of course they are going to use them, in a way it's the same as someone obtaining prints of your warehouse keys and alarm codes, giving away copies of the keys, and claiming that as they didn't break in and steal something, they weren't responsible for the burglaries.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 12th January 2011 9:47am

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Kevin Clark-Patterson
Lecturer in Games Development

288 23 0.1
Just because they say they are against hacking doesnt mean that everyone else is, the outcome of any jailbreak/hack/expolit is eventually piracy...it's even on fail0verflow's presentation they gave back in December!

http://events.ccc.de/congress/2010/Fahrplan/attachments/1780_27c3_console_hacking_2010.pdf

Hotz screwed up by publishing the private keys on the interwebs, no doubt that pissed Sony off no end!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Clark-Patterson on 12th January 2011 9:52am

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
@Antony

we don't want to give those hackers too much credit. The methods with which they divined the "secret key" are probably a few thousands of years old. Sony did not exactly invent the security-wheel here, so all the attacks were out there before.

I have it right here, it was one questions in Ramses' chariot driving license test:

Question 4:
If X is 1000, then what is the secret key in the formula:
X = [Secret Key] * 4

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 12th January 2011 9:53am

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Saehoon Lee
Lead technical artist

50 3 0.1
Is this just proof of Hotz hack actually does work?

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Andrew Stewart
Studying MEng CS

3 0 0.0
@Andrew Goodchild

To continue your warehouse analogy, Sony pretty much set their alarm code to "1111" and signed into foursquare.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Kevin Clark-Patterson
Lecturer in Games Development

288 23 0.1
@ Saehoon

It sure does!

Looky here for more info: http://www.ps3-hacks.com/

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Clark-Patterson on 12th January 2011 9:59am

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
@A Stewart, if Sony set their alarm code to 1111, does that make it more acceptable to tell people who may want to break in, than if it had been 72457?
Without question they may have been stupid, when setting a stupid code, but the person telling people of this is still doing exactly the same act. Helping someone burgle a building isn't a worse crime if the building had better security, or less of a crime if an upstairs window had a weak catch.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Aleksi Ranta
Product Manager - Hardware

246 96 0.4
Respect to Sony for atleast trying. Its still funny how people try to defend hacking/cracking by the silly "i buy, i own" analogy. Its the very small minority that is enabling piracy for the masses and yet they try to justify it by making ethical and legal sounding disputes regarding their rights to do so.

Im rooting for you Sony. Go Go Go.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Sam Brown
Programmer

237 163 0.7
I may be wrong, but isn't there some sort of clause in the law that means Sony would have to make a "reasonably complex attempt" at security? If so, I wonder if the fact that their implementation of ECC was bugged (which was a crucial element of how the hackers got in) would come into play?

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
@Sam, even though there was a flaw which eventually let hackers in, it took 3 or 4 years, most consoles are hacked in months, I'd say flaw or not, that is a pretty decent attempt at security, it has been one of the most secure consoles ever released until now, so I don't think it can be argued that they didn't make enough of an effort.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
FailOverflow did not release the exploit, just documented it. Sony did the legal thing to do, but i dont think it was the right thing to do. No as in right or wrong, but i think this will only worsen the situation by declaring war on those who know their weakest points. If their only legitimate reasons is homebrew, why not give them some options? It does not have be free. Personally, i would more than happy to buy a PS3 devkit for personal use - if it would be possible. Why not just sell stripped down devkits without blueray support? Just like the PS1 yarooze was...
I do not want to remember the Sony rootkit on their audio CDs. Was not very nice, either.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
I pretty much agree with the previous two comments by Christian and Aleksi - I don't see how Hotz or fail0verflow have much defence in this instance. No doubt they'll claim it was due to Linux being removed from the console, but I'm not sure that will stand up in court; particularly when they've exposed a way around the console's security measures potentially globally.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
@Andrew,

PS3 was not hacked because they had PS3 Linux - there was a pretty decent PS3 Linux homebrew community at ps2dev.org. Before Sony removed this feature, i was able to use it to test my cell code on it at home. Most hackers were not really interested in anything more - maybe they wanted GPU support, and thats where the hacking actually started. They did quite advanced stuff really, down to the register level. It would be really hard to classify analyzing the internal workings of a GPU piracy...

Posted:3 years ago

#17
I'm as anti-games piracy as you can get - but I'm pretty disappointed by Sony's actions. Is this just proof that they realised they can't do anything to stop this?

Sony had 4 excellent hack-proof years, and should be proud of the fact.

Posted:3 years ago

#18

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
@Tom, the removal of Linux may have spurred some really highly skilled hackers into action, which probably led to this, but there is no way that no one was trying to hack the PS3 for 3 years until the removal of Linux. If the security had not been quite good, a lesser hacker, one who's only motive was to play Uncharted without paying, would have broken it earlier. So although it (obviously) wasn't unbreakable, to say they hadn't made a reasonable attempt at complex security seems to be a but off the mark. After all, you can program what you like on PC, you can install linux, you can use your hardware how you like, that doesn't stop people trying to crack security on paid software, I'm sure more than one hacker is working on cracking steam right now, even though it doesn't affect their ability to homebrew, or use open source etc.

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Elton Treloar
Programmer

3 0 0.0
Anyone up for raiding Sony's coffers? ...Good chance there's a tracing of the key on the safe door. lol

How the hell, with all that money and all those resources, did they screw this one up?

PS3 developers should be extremely angry with Sony. Not the hackers. If it weren't for this major cock-up the system would still be very tight (or at least manageable), regardless of the recent exploits this past year.

There are further balls ups in content protection features in other layers too. There was too much arrogance somewhere in the system dev team. Resting on their laurels with regards to the locked down SPU features, I bet.

Posted:3 years ago

#20

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

314 38 0.1
Sandy,
I dont get the impression any of us support the theft of our own work.

What the debate should be about the act of hacking the system not what the hack could (or in this case will) lead to.
At the core of this is an attempt by SCE to sue anyone and everyone using the blunt instruments of the DMCA to try and stop anything coming from the security hole.

The physical box belongs to the person who buys it.
Thats a given and they can be free to do what they want with.

What is not owned but licensed is the command and control software (BIOS, firmware so on and so forth) which is copyright code and as such belongs to the company that produced it.
The comman and control software that has been compromised opening the hardware up to uses not currently permitted including the use of downloaded and copied gam & media but there are other possible legit uses like unlocking the system for use a fully open cell development box that is no longer possible after the other OS feature was revoked.

I have mixed feelings about this case.
On one hand its bad the system has been compromised and can now play lilcit games, yet on the other hand it now opens the system up to allow the creative type to go to town and create some amazing software that could not be run otherwise.

Posted:3 years ago

#21

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
@Andrew,

Most of the hacking attempts on the PS3 was concentrating on getting acccess to the GPU from Ps3 linux, there basically no interest for the generic security of the platform. (http://wiki.ps2dev.org/ps3:rsx , if you are interested)

Posted:3 years ago

#22

Marty Greenwell
Software Developer

56 38 0.7
Tom said "i think this will only worsen the situation by declaring war on those who know their weakest points"

I suspect the hacking will now go from trickle to torrent, if you pardon the pun.

Posted:3 years ago

#23

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
Well it`s the hackers own fault to get sued when they release the key on the internet to all the people. They might own the hardware, but the security key is a software part and not owned by them so they can`t just release that one on the internet for everyone.

fail0verflow might have an anti piracy stance, but of all people they should know whats possible with their hack and what will be the result of the security hack getting released. They are like "We don`t support piracy, but we will give every person the hack and what they are doing with it isn`t our problem".

Posted:3 years ago

#24

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

314 38 0.1
Releasing the key was stupid, however its not software its just a number, a very long number at that but still just a number.

On its own the key is usless without a program to use it with.
That program will be the real problem once its written and released.

Posted:3 years ago

#25

Saehoon Lee
Lead technical artist

50 3 0.1
Is this mean that now Sony needs to ask users to register and activate their newly released games and play only when online. Console DRM era?

Posted:3 years ago

#26

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
The key is just a number, but software does not only mean full programs and includes data and in that way the key is data and can be seen as software as it is part of a the PS3 software.

Posted:3 years ago

#27

Graeme Quantrill
Mobile App Developer

43 8 0.2
No one actually released the private key, that's the silly thing. Geohotz refused to release it as it would lead to piracy therefore any homebrew had to be signed using his tools or an offshoot of them. This is what upset the hacking world as they've traded one overlord (Sony) for another one (George).

So in principle, Sony don't have a leg to stand on. Geohot and failover haven't published Sony's keys (although they do have them) and they've not published any of Sony's code. Neither team directly led to piracy (it happened through others once their discoveries were made).

Posted:3 years ago

#28

Tim Wright
Managing Director

29 0 0.0
Anyone familiar with the Streisand Effect?

On the whole, the internet (as an entity) responds aggressively to powerful or famous entities attempting to stem the flow of information already in the Public Domain. The more action that is taken to remove or block, the worse the situation becomes...

Posted:3 years ago

#29

Saehoon Lee
Lead technical artist

50 3 0.1
Why didn't Sony left linux function to be optional is beyond me. Did that do any good to PS3? They may have gotten rid of it in the newer PS3 to save some $ but why force that on old PS3? Sounds like a bad move to me.

Posted:3 years ago

#30

Christopher McCraken
CEO/Production Director

106 240 2.3
Except that there is precedent for this, and Sony has an uphill climb on this: [link url=http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/
]http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07...[/link]

While the fed rules specifically relate to the iPhone, hacking hardware in this fashion is not going to be criminalized just because Sony says so. Indeed, the XBox 360 hacking case just got thrown out. Granted, there was malfeasance there...but still: you. have not seen another one yet. These cases are difficult, even for a big company. Even if this makes it to a trial, I do not see it resulting in a lose for Hotz. Or any of the blanket defendants.

The DMCA has been under attack now for some time, so my guess is that's why we are seeing the fraud charges. It's the age old "throw everything you can to see what will stick" method, and it reeks of desperation. In the end, Sony will be out of some money...but this wont go anywhere beyond a lot of smoke and thunder in the press.

Nonetheless, should be an interesting show. Sony really will have a hard time proving their case. If the EFF backs the defendants with help and amicus briefs...should get really fun. I may need to go buy a PS3 now. Just to play with the hardware. Run a webserver. Evidentially FreeBSD runs nicely on it. =)

Posted:3 years ago

#31

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
@Graeme I`m not a programmer but that on the top of the site looks like a key to me? http://geohot.com/old_index.html


@Saehoon Linux was removed because Hotz started to hack into the system via Linux.


@Christopher Don`t remember the Apple case anymore that much, but wasn`t the ruling made partially because the jailbreaker was presented at court more in the lines of "it`s there to give people the choice what phone carrier they want to use"?

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Private on 12th January 2011 3:26pm

Posted:3 years ago

#32

Mihai Cozma
Indie Games Developer

123 34 0.3
1. Cracking it took 12 months, not 4 years (it had Other OS option in the first 3 years or so).
2. Make better games and people will buy them no matter what, quality should drive game sales, not DRM.
3. Through their cracking presentation, they stated there is no need to crack it all the way as they did to run pirated games, the deep cracking they did is necessary to run Linux though.
4. For the fat ps3, sony disabled a feature that was a selling point.
5. @Christian ("But they then also release how they did so to the world at large via the WWW - what's that got to do with their rights of perosnal purchase and ownership?") - It has to do with free speech rights, If I discover something, I am free to share it with the rest of the world.
6. They didn't release any code, just a number who anyone could discover it giving the documentation they gave on the process (and a lot of technical skills).
7. I guess phillips should sue me cause I don't use their hardware as intended: I sometimes use their hair drier to dry wet socks, not only to dry my hair :P.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mihai Cozma on 12th January 2011 3:29pm

Posted:3 years ago

#33

Michael Crivello
Software Engineer

5 0 0.0
Tom Keresztes +1

All of the ethical considerations of what fail0verflow did aside, I don't understand why Sony continues to dump gasoline on this fire. First we find out that they completely screwed up their own hardware encryption scheme, which is regrettable but was largely preventable. Then, as I've said in previous posts here, by pulling the OtherOS option they incited a portion of their user base that was most likely to be interested in breaking their encryption scheme. Again, why you'd want to wake a sleeping giant like that is beyond me. Then when, shockingly, that alienated user base came up with a game-ending hack for your hardware platform, and there's no getting that hack out of the public now, you decide the best course of action is to sue the perpetrators? Pissing off that user base worked SO well the first time, Sony. Why not try it again, eh? (*sigh*)

If there's anything we've learned from the iTunes Music Store era it's that people want to be able to do the things with their hardware they feel they should be able to do. Furthermore, they'll quite often use the easiest methods they find they have available. If you give users an easy, legal way to install other OSes, install dev kits, or even do home brew software, why would they try the largely harder, illegal methods?

I understand what fail0verflow did may have been illegal and I won't excuse their actions. But as far as I'm concerned Sony put themselves in this position. They beat awake a sleeping bear and now they're pissed that it's raiding their picnic basket. I have absolutely zero sympathy for them.

Posted:3 years ago

#34

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
To 1) Hotz started to hack into the system before Linux was removed and that caused Linux to be removed so Hotz statement always just hacking because Linux was removed is BS.

5) There are limits to free speech and it has to be seen if releasing a software security key can be made public just because of rights of free speech after all they own the hardware but not the software and a security key is part of the software.

6) A custom firmware was released and if that firmware was not written completely new and instead used parts of the code from the normal firmware they should have no legal rights to do so as the code is owned by Sony even if only 2 lines in the code are from the Sony FW it would not be legal.

Posted:3 years ago

#35

Mihai Cozma
Indie Games Developer

123 34 0.3
@Werner
1. Indeed that happened, I agree with you.

5. You are right, it is not part of hardware. But I wouldn't consider it part of a software. For example, contact data of a person it is not software, even if it can exist in a database and can be operated on by certain algorithms. The key here is just a data entry into an algorithm.

6. I don't see how they could ever get access to normal firmware's code, as I don't think anyone has access to that code except Sony. Writing code that is similar or does the same thing as other code does not mean you are actually using parts of that other code.

8 (new). Aside from my statements and from all the hackers thing, how can a team that develops such a complicated system as PS3 mess up things that bad on such an important feature as security?

Posted:3 years ago

#36

Graham Simpson
Tea boy

220 7 0.0
Think of it as industrial espionage done to deliberately damage Sony. That's illegal and real people go to jail.

Posted:3 years ago

#37

Christopher McCraken
CEO/Production Director

106 240 2.3
@Werner

1) That was one of the contexts presented yes. That notwithstanding, I fully expect some of the same analogies to be made where Sony is concerned: you have a right to use whatever software you choose.

2) The freedom of speech in this country has been under assault. However, that said...in a truly classical sense, the first amendment is quite broad. It protects all speech, naughty or nice. The obvious exclusions are: slander, libel and speech which incites. (yelling fire in a theatre, inciting a riot, etc)...a string numbers cannot be copyrighted, trademarked, etc. Think about it like this: Thinkgeek was never sued for printing T Shirts with the DVD key on them once it was broken. I'd like to see Sony try to sue someone for publishing their private key on a T Shirt. It would be like trying to say you have exclusive rights to 3.14. I would also like to point out, if you have ripped one of your own DVD's and have it on a hard drive somewhere...I guess that means you're a pirate. The MPAA would like the world to believe so.

But, just because someone says something, that does not make it true. =)

Posted:3 years ago

#38

Galen Tucker
Owner

13 0 0.0
@ Mihai - quote: "Make better games and people will buy them no matter what, quality should drive game sales, not DRM. "

That's naieve... fact is the higher the demand for the game, the quicker it gets cracked, and the higher the rate of priacy.

I have a real problem with the "altruistic ideas" promoted by these (and other) hackers. Did they do it because they own it, and wanted to use it in ways the maker intentionally attempted to prevent? Yes and no. Yes they did it, yes they can use the device in "their own way". When did they cross the "well intentioned" line? When they published it.

What did Sony do with "all that money?" - they paid employees, contractors, engineers, marketing companies, stock holders, etc... The 'hackers" did their work for free, gave away their hard earned knowledge for free, that was "nice" of them. Remember those stock holders? well even more than all the other folks combined, they couldn't care less if Sony makes a game machine, or if the others got fair pay (truth be told). They invested their money, so that Sony could make them more. Now.. if PS3 is unviable from the investors point of view, then the CEO of Sony has about 2 choices... 1) fix it... NOW, or 2) get out of the way so someone how can fix it can take his job.

see, it's the game developers who will avoid a completely cracked platform, well... one that costs that much to work with anyway. Dispite the "popular" belief that all game devs live like rockstars... turns out games are real expensive to make (if you pay staff that is). Also seems that PS3, well you need to be a licensed game dev to actually get the tools and support to make games for it. Now... if the securty is just gone... well, it's nice to know lots of folks enjoy the game... it will be our last (so to speak).

Some truisms:
1) hackers, hack... that's what they do.
2) businesses really can't afford to lose sales (in most cases)... and stay in operation
3) customers rarely understand the details of cracking/hacking/etc... but many do feel entitled to the "free" versions... many use the "awe, game devs, Sony, et al... got lots of money, they don't need mine"
4) game devellopment is always hovering on the edge of collapse... it's expensive, very technical, very talent driven, and always looking for better methods of sustained operation. Even the biggest game publishers don't get a permanent "golden ticket"...

Just some thoughts....

Galen

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Galen Tucker on 12th January 2011 4:02pm

Posted:3 years ago

#39

Mihai Cozma
Indie Games Developer

123 34 0.3
@Galen I agree with you in any point.

About my naive statement, don't know as I don't work in the industry, but looking at titles like Black Ops for PC for example, it was top pirated game (as you say) but still it made so much money that it payed loads X development costs. And you cannot say for sure all who pirated it would have bought it if they couldn't have pirate it. Or take Starcraft 2, you cannot pirate it and play it as it is supposed to be played. I mean there are ways, just need the games to be very good.

About hacker reasons, I honestly think it's just show off. They have their own community which is very competitive, and I guess for them it is a big reward to be able to state : "Look, i'm the first in the world to crack the uncrackable!".

Posted:3 years ago

#40

Christopher McCraken
CEO/Production Director

106 240 2.3
@Galen Re: Truisms.
1) Yes. And the world is better for it. Imagine if everything were locked down? Imagine if your simple act of using something in a way that the manufacturer didnt like...resulted in a lawsuit, arrest, imprisonment...
2) Piracy happens. Good businesses plan for it. Fact is, pirates tend to be people who never ever buy anything. A good business knows how to deal with it. Punishing your paying customers is not a good way of dealing with it. Assuming all your customers are thieves is also not the best policy.
3) This is a very broad generalization, with a "The glass is always half empty" attitude. It omits the success of Steam, or Humble Indie Bundles. Good Old Games does pretty well for titles that are old, and way more easily pirated... If Piracy is completely amok, and destroying the industry....well, how do you explain this? Piracy is a niche. While it can severely hurt an indie, or a small developer...this is not about piracy, it's about a company selling hardware, while wanting to still treat it like its theirs. This notion that you don't buy hardware but rent it is absurd.
4) This is ... based on what exactly? I see a thriving indie market, I see Steam raking in heavy sales over the holidays. I spent quite a bit on games in the last year. So did anyone I know who plays games.

But, the most salient thing you said was really the nub of this whole debate: "Even the biggest game publishers don't get a permanent "golden ticket"... " This is exactly right. As the market forces change, so must any company. Be it Sony, or Apple or Microsoft. But, one thing I have noticed is when a company gets to be a certain size...they dont want to compete, they want to own everything and keep things exactly as they are. This is silly. Plain and simple silly.

Posted:3 years ago

#41

Fernando Brischetto
Gaming Products Manager

2 0 0.0
Well guys. I can tell you that here in South America the only console that was balancing the market in term of legal software sales, even "changed" or some say "educated" the console game clients, was the PS3. Now its sadly going to be all back to usual piracy that made any official support for the consoles impossible in the past.

With the launch of that machine, a lot of semi pirate stores shifted to legally sell PS3 and games. It was very good until now. You can say that if the games have high quality they will buy it no matter if i's pirated or not. Well, not here. They are expensive at a level that you will start to hear the complain and justification over and over again.

There is a lot of sides affected by this "hack". Even indirectly. :/

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fernando Brischetto on 12th January 2011 4:25pm

Posted:3 years ago

#42

Mihai Cozma
Indie Games Developer

123 34 0.3
@Fernando
In the country I live (Romania), it's been like 2-3 years since people really start buying games, and that is all mainly due to subscription based games like World of Warcraft. Now there are a lot of console titles to get too (I own a Wii and a PS3 and hell I don't intend to crack them), and people are starting to get educated about the advantages of buying original products. However, in the light of your statements, for like 80% of the population a PS3 new title would be about 1/3-1/4 of his monthly income. That 80% of the population will play a pirated game (on a crappy PC, they can't afford the consoles) if they can get it cracked, or just forget about it. The other 20% will buy a game if it's good, even if it can be pirated.

I stand behind my "make better games" statement above because I am a hardcore gamer, and I kind of getting tired of paying for sub standard products. It happened to me loads to pay for a game (especially indie titles, but also some yearly iterations of well known franchises) and get a crappy product in return. That just maintains an unhealthy industry, with a lot of people getting paid for making poor quality products.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mihai Cozma on 12th January 2011 4:36pm

Posted:3 years ago

#43

Graham Simpson
Tea boy

220 7 0.0
@ Christopher McCraken

You're talking about PCs when you talk about Steam/GOG. That's a tiny market compared to the PS3 equivalent (BC2 not withstanding). And those sales are bottom feeders that provide cash flow but only after the game has gone past it's sell by date so that it attracts people who would not have normally bought the game in the first place. On the PS3 there is not the equivalent. Don't confuse the two.

Posted:3 years ago

#44

Fernando Brischetto
Gaming Products Manager

2 0 0.0
@Mihai I do too, mean i know that good games make software sales more possible.

The thing is most of the PC games distributors are broken now, (from like 6/7 to 1 now) for all the piracy. Even though most of the games nowadays are MP and Online oriented, 90% of the people are willing to use a copy and not play online. Not even WOW has managed to grow too much in this market.

But going back to the PS3 case, there was a very "healthy" market growing more and more. Also, another problem we face here (Argentina) is there is no much legislation against piracy here. So if you are in this business here you are completely alone, Stores and distributors.




Posted:3 years ago

#45

Temi
Web design

48 9 0.2
Hackers were trying to get into the ps3 for those years yes but I doubt any of those that were ever tried to get the root key of the console since everyone and their dog was saying it was an impossible task. I think what happened is that these guys started fresh and found something while going through what others ignored. Even geohot never said he found this information or indicated so until the method to get it was announced by the fail0verflow team. Then he popped up again.

Sony seems a bit silly in this and the accusations they bring are weak. They will be relying on their money to win this if possible at all

Posted:3 years ago

#46

Galen Tucker
Owner

13 0 0.0
@Christopher - I never said hackers don't have a place in the world...

And personally, I'm working on business models that leverage hackers.. well, i'm not sure they're "hackers' if I've included them in the plan :) WoW is an excellent example of hackers drawn into making a company money.. you don't own the servers that make the game work

Now... that said, I don't believe in the "Robin Hood" mandate. Game devs didn't always lock their doors at night. People in the "old days" took anything not nailed to the floor, and posted the games on BBSes long before today's generation knew what a game was. These game devs aren't trying to supress the poor, they're making a product in one of the hardest small businesses there is to start. Yes there have been more indie successes in recent years ... why? largely because of Apple mobile games frankly. The iPhone creates a WoW scenario (that admitedly isn't fool proof) that indie game devs can leverage.

Indie games are stolen wholesale on other platforms. And on all platforms indie games are critized as being 1) unpolished and 2) not up to AAA standards ... Well.. that's largely because of budget. Screaming Indie success is $300K+ per year, with typical results well below $30K. Now, as I recall from another article earlier this week or last week, a hacker broke the mac app store but proudly announced that their hack wouldn't be released "until the store filled with cr*p". Hmm, how many indies will make enough on their "cr*p" to make a AAA game next?

Pardon me for being blunt here, but let's try and "improve the industry" and "satisfy the hackers quality concerns":

Wanted: 30-120 graphics artists, modelers, animators, developers (server side and client), game designers, etc... To work on an, as yet unnamed, indie game. This position is royality based, with 50% of the profits divided evenly by the number of staff plus the indie team. Don't worry about the 1-3 year commitment, your working to reduce the impact of game development costs and improve the general quality of games so we (and our distribution channels) don't get hacked.

Also wanted: a business and marketing team, to make the game and business a success. This will be royality based at 20% of game profits (i'm sure EA execs are reading this thinking... "I am SOOO in!"

The other 30% belongs to Apple anyway.

Sincerely,

indie looking to create quality AAA games.

Now.. let's see who bites. I'm sure Sid Meier is typing as we speak ;)

Cheers,

Galen

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Galen Tucker on 12th January 2011 5:01pm

Posted:3 years ago

#47

Andrzej Wroblewski
Computer Games Translator

86 43 0.5
@Galen:
"That's naieve... fact is the higher the demand for the game, the quicker it gets cracked, and the higher the rate of priacy."

The more greedy corporations get, the higher the shelf price, the higher the piracy rate. The problem is not in people being naive or not, it's all about greedy proxies+"bad coin" rule.

Marketing & sales will ultimately destroy the World, you know?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrzej Wroblewski on 12th January 2011 5:02pm

Posted:3 years ago

#48

Norman Tajudin
Operations & Strategy

8 6 0.8
If the true goal of the hackers is to allow dual boot capability to boot Linux and use the PS3 as powerful computer, than Sony should just re-implement that feature. I personally like that feature prior to the recent firmware updates (the PS3 works as a great media player, browser, email client etc. courtesy of Linux). That should negate the argument from George Hotz and others as that was purported to be their primary goal.

If a hackers goal is to run pirated software than they should be sued. I don't understand the mindset that everything should be free on the internet. Additionally, the statements about greedy corporations is ridiculous and obviously come from folks that don't understand business. Yes, the marginal cost to distribute a piece of software is very cheap. However, hundreds of millions of dollars go into producing, marketing, and supporting top-level games or software applications. That huge investment has to be amortized across all units sold. It's very simple folks, without getting an return on investment, companies will not take the risk of creating great content. Additionally, lots of jobs depend on that revenue stream across the game and software value chain...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Norman Tajudin on 12th January 2011 5:08pm

Posted:3 years ago

#49

Andrzej Wroblewski
Computer Games Translator

86 43 0.5
BTW... in my opinion, Sony limiting the use of PS3 is unlawful, unethical, and should be reviewed as a trust violation. It's basically like if Samsung said: "you are forbidden to use our dishwasher machines to wash spoons, because WE SAY SO". That's merely a company's wishful thinking and "profiteering"...

Posted:3 years ago

#50

Galen Tucker
Owner

13 0 0.0
@Andrzej - I'm not talking about "greedy corporations". an indie game dev reported that his game (released for PC in December) was tracking at 97.8% piracy verses paying customers... needless to say, he's not happy.. Nor will he ever be a giant corp..

Galen

Posted:3 years ago

#51

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
@Christopher 1) That was one of the contexts presented yes. That notwithstanding, I fully expect some of the same analogies to be made where Sony is concerned: you have a right to use whatever software you choose.

That`s something that can be twisted in every kind of way to fit the purpose. You could say at the same time once a console goes online that right is voided as you agree to the Terms of Use of Sony to use Sony licensed software and same goes for the FW update that removed Linux. People agreed to do the update and the Terms of Use of the update.

Free speech should end when it comes to the possibility of companies losing financial income due to it and Sony isn`t the only company in this case who can lose money at the end once the pirating starts. There are enough great games who barely sell enough copies for the developer to stay afloat and the last thing needed is to have another possibility to pirate the games.

I don`t know for the US or whatever the MPAA says, but in several EU countries it is by law the right of people to make a security copy of Music CDs or DVDs may it be a digital or physical copy as long as it is not distributed to a third party.

Posted:3 years ago

#52

Saehoon Lee
Lead technical artist

50 3 0.1
There will always be people like Hotz. Sadly for us, it is damn if you do and damn if you don't

Posted:3 years ago

#53
@Mihai Cozma
"looking at titles like Black Ops for PC for example, it was top pirated game (as you say) but still it made so much money that it payed loads X development costs"

It was also one of the best-selling games of all time (if not the best selling game). Call of Duty is the exception, not the rule.

As for the "just make good games and no one will pirate them", I find the suggestion that only bad games get pirated, quite insulting. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't make sense. Why are people so intent on downloading these games if they're awful?

Posted:3 years ago

#54

Edward Herrel
Q A - Freelancer - Beta Tester, External Beta Tester

1 0 0.0
Let's just remember one thing. you MUST AGREE to NOT alter or change or do anything to the PS3 that violates the AGREEMENT that everyone MUST AGREE TOO upon turning it on. If they agreed, then they are breaking that promise and anyone who does so, shall suffer the consequences, plain and simple.

Posted:3 years ago

#55

Jean Toledo

4 0 0.0
I heard a story once (most likely a storytale) about an American thief that climbed the roof to rob a house, but he steped on a glass tile, fell and became paraplegic. Then, the thief sued the owner of the house 'cause glass tiles are not allowed by law and therefore the owner of the house should pay his medical bills.

This story is to remember that we must always check the common sense. Does breaking the PS3 security feel right, independently of what hackers say?

No. The hack has made easier for the pirates. It's wrong, period.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jean Toledo on 12th January 2011 6:06pm

Posted:3 years ago

#56

Stephen McCarthy
Studying Games Technology

205 0 0.0
it true that it is wrong but sony was asking for it.

Posted:3 years ago

#57

Richard Gardner
Artist

122 30 0.2
Just take a look what happened to the PC because of piracy, its simply never a good thing and many people who pirate games seemed to be oblivious of what they have done. All you need to do is open your eyes and look at the PC market... its your fault!

Posted:3 years ago

#58

Edward Buffery
Pre-production Manager

145 92 0.6
Great discussion going on here and in the other related GamesBiz article. The only significant question I still have in my head is: How long till there's a video on YouTube of someone using a Kinect kit on a PS3?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Edward Buffery on 12th January 2011 7:10pm

Posted:3 years ago

#59

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
What will be interesting is the effect on hardware generational cycles. Both Sony and Microsoft have expressed the desire for a 10 year cycle if possible.
Sony believed they had a nigh on uncrackable security system, but now, if the PS3 really is blown wide open for piracy, 6 more years of a platform with little protection against piracy to balance the high AAA development costs may suddenly seem less appealing, so unless they are able to close the breach, they may look to get a PS4 out much earlier. As a knock on effect, whilst Xbox isn't directly affected by the hack, if Sony do work to bring PS4 to market earlier, MS have little choice but to work on their next machine to compete.
After the next PS3 firmware update, I really would not be surprised to hear some exciting rumours.

Do I get my "Speculation & Analyst" badge now Arkala?

Posted:3 years ago

#60

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
@Stephen Sony was not asking for it. If you refer to the removal of the Other OS option this was because Hotz started to hack into the PS3 via Linux and because of that Other OS was removed. It is complete and utter BS from the hackers to say "We only hacked because Other OS was removed" because it was their doings that caused the option to be removed.

Posted:3 years ago

#61
A real shame that the PS3 got hacked, but I can't shake the feeling it was bound to happen at SOME point, it feels inevitable nowadays. Although a valid point was raised by some users. I live in Britain now, but am originally from Brazil and there software (or pretty much everything with a tech level higher than a standard scientific calculator) is pretty much unaffordable for some 80-90% of the population. The police fights it, there is lots of rage, but the truth is that as long as games cost as much as they do, buying them legally is very rarely an option. Having this option was a great joy for myself when I moved and, nowadays, I'm happy to save a few pennies and pay for the games I like. I always feel that this is a side of piracy that doesn't get much looked at. It's very wrong, for sure, but on some places people just don't have an option.
I also think that the people that say that the PS3 will now die horribly from this are quite out of their minds, as, now that IT is down, I guess all recent platforms have been cracked and it never stopped, say, the PS2 or the 360 from making loads of money. So while it will be bad, it will be more of a nuisance than a disaster, except perhaps on that kind of countries I mentioned at first.
Lastly, taking the Linux option out was definitely a very bad mistake from Sony's part. But I believe that not only on "inciting the community" (which it did), but I think that Sony made a mistake from the very beginning by going half-heartedly on this. Those people that later raged lost Linux because they wanted access to the RSX, and from the kind of product that Sony wanted to make the PS3, I feel it was essential to straight out give people access to the RSX from the start. Sony had a lot going about the PS3 being more of an "entertainment centre" rather than a console, and it still is, but it could've been much much more. Access to the RSX would pretty much be powerful enough a selling point to actually get people buying PS3s to use as PCs and that would've been an amazing turning point on a Market that's ever so fierce. Instead, paranoia and addiction to outdated business models gave us this, the PS3 became a lumbering beast, so to speak, and just as it was gaining momentum, it gets a blow like this.

Posted:3 years ago

#62

Paul Barton
Studying Conputer Games Technology

1 0 0.0
I see this as two parts, one IF it enables wide spread piracy properly and easily to the masses, then it could be an issue for people, as renting essentially gives an option to play for longer periods of time. The other being that it offers homebrew support for people wanting to write applications for the PS3. This is something would be interesting, and should help Sony to make better products.

With fail0verflow, they released their findings at 27C3 in Berlin. Security stuff gets released at conferences all of the time. There are ways to record mobile phone calls on GSM, Wi-Fi security gets comprimised, etc... The only way to show this, and make some companies act, is to make it public otherwise it could remain hidden and just not make anyone aware of the actual problems that a piece of software or hardware has.

Without actions like these development could of been held back, and we might not have what we do today.

People always want linux to run on every piece of hardware, it's just ridiculous. You have to let the courts and peoples moral/ethics guide them. Do you want to start treating your customer base as if they are theives, really?

Posted:3 years ago

#63

Shaun Farol
Studying Computer Information Systems

40 12 0.3
I think what people are failing to take into account with PS3 piracy is that even before team FailOverflow and the master keys there was already ways to pirate games.

They mentioned it in the C3 conference video that it was easier to pirate games than to run Linux. To pirate games you did NOT need the master keys but to run Linux you did. Piracy is not something that you can blame on them if they were interested in piracy there were more conventional, more convenient methods to do this (a simple USB dongle especially formatted).

From my readings here people seem to be under the impression that they caused piracy or that there was no piracy before this hack which is clearly not the case. If it was as simple as pirating games then wouldn't have had the need nor motivation to go this far.

I am with the crowd that who is the manufacturer to tell me what I can do with the hardware I buy. If I want to run Linux on my B&N Nook or Jailbreak my phone then I believe I have every right to.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shaun Farol on 12th January 2011 7:46pm

Posted:3 years ago

#64

Norman Tajudin
Operations & Strategy

8 6 0.8
@Edward Buffery, Kinect on PS3 would be awesome. The Playstation Move seems rather limited in comparison... ;-)

For those upset with Sony or other big companies, remember that you can always vote with your dollar, euro, peso, krona, or what ever currency you happen to have. That usually helps shape the market rather well and sends a clear message to the company in question.

Posted:3 years ago

#65

Philipp Nassau
Student - Business Administration (M. Sc.)

51 18 0.4
Well the USB hack seems to be manageable via firmware updates, the low level key hack does not.
I'm still under the impression that this is mainly a scare tactic by Sony, most of the hackers are located outside of the USA and only there could a case be made, it's doubtful other countries would extradite the hackers especially as the Millenium Act is subject to controversy.

It's really hard to make that case and even harder to win it, the main reason to even start would be to scare hackers with legal costs, nothing else can really be gained here. I'm also still convinced this won't scare people. There has always been a group in these shades of grey and they will continue as they did for decades.

I won't comment on the moral issue but I still think it's Sony's own damn fault to build a 100% secure system and then screw up by using a constant instead of a random number which would take hundreds of years to compute.

Posted:3 years ago

#66

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
@Shaun, if I understand correctly, with this key, pirated games can be signed, so that whilst someone with a chipped Xbox or an R4 card for DS can run pirate games, any shop standard ps3 will run any pirate copies that have the falsefied signiture. If you connect an Xbox or DSi, updates can render outdated mods/R4s useless, and you can be banned from live, but a PS3 won't find any modifications on a machine using these signed copies. That means it has gone from seemingly the most secure console, to less secure than a DS.

Posted:3 years ago

#67

Haven Tso
Web-based Game Reviewer

255 8 0.0
So Sony is suing...does that mean they have no counter measures against this at all? Otherwise it will just be another firmware update. Their actions could imply that now PS3 is really wide open.

Posted:3 years ago

#68

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
The situation for Sony just took a turn for the worse, not just a bit worse, but catastrophically worse. Failoverflow might have held back on distributing all their tools and findings in detail before, but now their tools are all over the Internet.

If you are still wondering how bad this is going to get, then be reminded that this is not the type of situation where people buying illicit dongles are copying games over the internet. This will most likely develop into the type of situation, where organized crime will print bootleg copies of PS3 games which will be available on every corner and which no current PS3 can tell apart from a proper original.

This puts a bad light on all parties involved. Because piracy was never the outspoken goal of all persons involved, meaning there should have been a common ground diplomatic solution. This is just bad community behavior AND bad community relations at the same time. A total disgrace for the year 2011.

Posted:3 years ago

#69

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
That just shows that the people are not very mature and just react little rebellious kids. Instead of looking to resolve the issue like any grown up would do they pull that stunt, guess that gives them some incorrect feeling of being heros.

Posted:3 years ago

#70

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
And also, now if Sony were to win, it will potentially be a lot worse for failoverflow than what it would have been otherwise, had they not just done that.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 12th January 2011 9:59pm

Posted:3 years ago

#71

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
@Andrew

If my information is correct, then "the tools" is just a bunch of C code. There is no inherent crime in doing any of that. There is no Sony software code being copied or anything. It is the lock-pick situation again. You can sell a lock-pick without risking to be blamed for every burglary.

The lesson here is that if two parties share at least one common goal (no piracy), then they should resort to diplomacy to resolve their other differences. Sony started a legal warfare and the hackers pulled the trigger on their nuclear option. A certain similarity to the Wikileaks situation and how that might resolve itself in 2011 cannot be denied.

Posted:3 years ago

#72

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
@Klaus. I understand where you are coming from in regards to the tools, what I was getting at was not the tools themselves, but by distributing them now, they have demonstrated a maliceous intent, and may have killed part of their defence. Obviously they may be found to be exercising fair usage, but if they are seen to be purposefully striking out, their arguments are weakened.

Posted:3 years ago

#73

John McGrath
Student - Computer Games Development BSc

13 0 0.0
Why do people go for pirated, sometimes inferior, potentially comprimised software?? Because of the price tag. Free vs £45 isn't hard to understand, and where there's demand supply soon follows, regardless of legality. Who can blame that 13 year old kid, you know the one - single parent, 2 brothers to stretch mum's budget even thinner, bullied at school for not having 'a cool pair of kicks' or the latest iPhone - when he spots a chance at a free slice of the fun that other kids are already enjoying he ain't gonna think twice. It's easier for him to justify when it'd a blue-chip mega-corporation he's ripping off - he even gets that 'Robin Hood' feeling. He might even learn some hacking techniques himself and make his own contribution to the next generation's 'free slice of fun'.

It seems we're obsessed with tackling the symptom rather than the cause. Software is hacked because a lot of the potential market can't afford it. Poverty breeds crime. You deny the majority of the people something the minority has and it's bound to cause trouble. Jehferson Wohllerz's example from Brazil is a perfect demonstration of this, where 80-90% of the country's population can't afford what most of us take for granted - and as a result around 94% of games sold are cheap pirate copies!

Unfortunately the capitalist model demands that we reap maximum profits and prices are as high as market research dares to go.
But - I wonder, how would the sales vs piracy figures for the game 'Black Ops' have looked if it had been sold at 2 thirds, half or even quarter the current price? Or if the price started high and then rapidly dropped over the next few months? Or if families on benefits could get a discount? Or if prices charged actually reflected the average income in the country where the game is sold?

Posted:3 years ago

#74

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
failoverflow might not need a defense, since basically all of Sony's accusations do not apply to them.

The PS3 Eula they accepted is void under European law, since it was pushed onto them after the purchase. The talk they gave in Germany was not illegal either. Even if the DMCA applies, it certainly does not apply in Berlin. They also did not publish code which Sony holds the copyright to. Already the whole allegation is basically that the verbal description of a circumvention is already equal to circumvention itself and should be pursued across international borders in disregard of local law. It is like China suing us all for saying something bad about them, trying to punish us by Chinese law.

In a way, Sony showed their hand and there was nothing. Big roar, yes, but there is no meat to this bone, there is not one accusation in the filing where you would think "that's trouble for the hackers". They are certainly not being in the forefront of distributing them, they just happen to appear everywhere, like lawyers crawling out from under a rock handing you a court order.

The only thing Sony has, is the impound order on Georg Hotz, in which the hackerteam of failoverflow is notably absent, as even Sony seems to realize there is no impounding on foreign territory. The reaction we see, is the only reaction which makes sense to these hackers. Wash your hands, preserve the hack. Delete your local data, late them search for the data until they are blue in the mouth. Disseminate the data to ensure it is there for later retrieval. It is a clockwork mechanism.

I do not believe that any arguments they had before matter to anyone right now. Legal actions, lawsuits, court orders, that is the gunfire of the civil society. The equivalent of people shooting guns in a warzone. A signal from Sony that they intent to strongarm the hackers and have their way. Ideals be damned at this point and the hackers push back. Development community loses. That is the real tragedy here. The victims which are hit the hardest will not be the participants of this war, but the bystanders. Could we have an MS rep shouting "devkits, devkits, buy 360 devkits now" for comedic purposes? That's all this situation is missing.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 12th January 2011 11:04pm

Posted:3 years ago

#75

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
While the prices don`t always reflect the average income in certain countries there are enough people pirating software who could afford to buy the product without any problem. How would you expect to manage that the price problem in say Brazil, you sell something according to a price compared to the average income and people will jump on it and buy a lot of the software or hardware end sell it than again in the US or EU and make a good profit out of it because they bought it a lot cheaper in Brazil where the average income is lower than in the US or EU. If you have a company you probably want to avoid something like that.

Compared to the NES and SNES times game prices came down a lot. Comparing PS1 with games now the price might have stayed more or less the same, but at the same time average income has increased and game development has increased by a lot. More money has to be spend on marketing, more people work on games, the retailers get more money, taxes have increased and so on. For the average person games are more affordable now than they where 15-20 years ago. There are a few developers who can make a lot of money with one game, but thats just a small fraction.

Movies suffer from the same problem and in that case a cinema ticket is only 10 bucks or when the movie comes out 20 bucks on DVD or music with even lower price tags.

Posted:3 years ago

#76

Elton Treloar
Programmer

3 0 0.0
@ Werner
Just to clarify , Hotz started working on the PS3 because of the lack of Linux on the Slim. He didn't even own a PS3, nor was interested in it. Someone in contact with him donated a machine for him to look at because they wanted OtherOS on it. This eventually led to the "glitch" hack that put the foot in the door. Sony removed OtherOS from the Fat models as well , in direct response to this. His whole attempt in the first place was to help the hacker community get OtherOS back through custom firmware / or other exploit.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Elton Treloar on 12th January 2011 11:37pm

Posted:3 years ago

#77

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
The point still remains without him OtherOS would not have been removed via FW update and anyone who still would want to use Linux could just buy a fat PS3 instead of a slim. There was a legal way without the need of doing any hacks and even until now you can get fat PS3s in every game or gamestop. So there is no help the hacker community needed since it was still available.

Posted:3 years ago

#78
Fair enough, but by following that line of thought companies end up indirectly inducing piracy. I know for a fact that games piracy in the UK is MUCH lower than in Brazil and firmly believe that to be primarily a result of affordability. Others, like Blizzard itself with SC2 (as much as it made pretty much all the love I still had for Blizzard die horribly and leave only seething hatred behind) do make somewhat valid efforts in this area, although one must wonder at this point just how many more shots can our feet take because in this matter, as a whole, I don't feel the gaming industry has been kind to them

Posted:3 years ago

#79

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
If you can`t afford the taxes and fuel for a car don`t buy one and not go out and steal the fuel and avoid tax payments instead.

Posted:3 years ago

#80
It's either assuming this position and living the piracy-heavy situation of today or actually managing to figure out a way to sell your products to those people. I'm by no means saying that this is an easy situation or that piracy is justified, but I really don't believe anything will hold it back whilst buying these things is not a reasonable option for a significant portion of a particular market. Technology, police and courtrooms have all been fairly unsuccessful so far, save for the occasional scare which slows downs things for a bit every once in a while.

Posted:3 years ago

#81

Jeffrey Kesselman
CTO

112 0 0.0
This is a sad day for Sony and those of us who basically like Sony products.

A very reliable rule of thumb is a business that starts suing its own customers is on the way down.

Posted:3 years ago

#82

Elton Treloar
Programmer

3 0 0.0
@ Werner
And the point also remains that without the decision to supply the Slim with no OtherOS support then Hotz wouldn't have gotten involved in the first place. ;)

Hackers, of all people, knew that there was no real reason Slim couldn't have OtherOS. Sony, or anyone else, shouting from the rooftops that they didn't want anyone to have it wasn't going to "make it so" at the quantum level. Fats were selling at a premium at the time (And can still do) because of PS2 play ability (and otherOS). New PS3 owners at the new Slim price point, a not small amount being hackers/programmers who could now afford it, were still going to want to "fiddle" with the PS3 and create homebrew on what is an interesting bit of hardware. With the Fat out of production, the Slim was soon to be the only choice anyway for them.

As I said , Sony or anyone else shouting out about "not wanting it to be so" doesn't change the needs and wants of consumers at the ground level.

Posted:3 years ago

#83

Private
Industry

1,187 185 0.2
If hackers would want to help people they would have figured a way out to get PS2 games running once the function was removed from the second generation fat PS3`s a feature that people actually want and that`s only support by a very limited amount of consoles. Compared to the minor amount of people who care about the OtherOS function in the first place. Because they fight so much for people they try to bring back a feature that is only absent on one line of PS3`s so their little elitist group of friends could use that feature on a slim instead of getting a big PS3? And if they say they don`t want to release anything than it would only be of use to their little group.

Slim not having other OS is just a weak excuse so the hackers can pretend to fight for a cause. By the time he started to hack into Linux the price for a fat was lower compared to a new slim at game or gamestop, my PS3 got YLOD like a month after the slim came out and the fat was cheaper than a slim.




@Jehferson The only thing I can see that can be done on that side is more security and more new and different ways of DRM. For smaller games sure you can have a way lower price because there are less people involved, less development costs and especially when releasing it digital because the retailer doesn`t get anything. For big games there is not that much room to reduce the price with all the costs involved and you need to make a fair amount of profit to finance the next game unless you drastically reduce the costs, but we all want our Mass Effects, CoDs, Uncharted games. The other change that would need to happen is in those countries by trying to eliminate poverty.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 13th January 2011 2:33am

Posted:3 years ago

#84
I don't think there's anyone in the world not fighting to eliminate poverty, at least their own =P
Some of those countries (and suddenly Brazil is good example once more) have been making economic advances on this front but I don't think there is anything someone can just go and "do" about it.
Problem with DRM and similar solutions is that more often than not it doesn't hinder piracy at all and just ends up annoying genuine customers. From what I've been seeing, though, guess the most effective way to counter this has been along the lines of what Blizzard did with SC2, locking it to BNet. Pirated copies of SC2 are there, but without LAN support, multiplayer gets dependent on a system that's much harder to bypass. No matter how offensive the removal of LAN is for me, as a player, as a developer there's no denying it seems to have been fairly successful as an anti-piracy measure (unless of course, this got cracked by some virtual server kind of solution and I completely missed out on this for having bought SC2 and thus not really caring about the hacking status of the game).

Like all other tough problems in life, I guess, this is one full of very strong arguments that initially are very contradictory. I believe that sorting this "cost vs distribution vs piracy" thing is one of the most important challenges that we, as an industry have been facing and probably will continue to in the following few years at least.

Posted:3 years ago

#85

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
Part of the reason for the removal of Linux for the Slim model was that Sony was selling the old model at a loss up to that point, reliant on making money back on licenced software. People were buying it to use as a cheap Linux cell station, with no intention of buying games, meaning Sony were subsidising these stations, with no hope of recouping their loss from these customers, who weren't planning to purchase any licenced software. This of itself does not justify removing it from the old model, where it was a selling point to some percentage of customers, but it is totally understandable why they removed it from the new model, they don't really want to lose money.
As for the argument that you should be able to put whatever you want on your hardware, that's understandable from a user's point of view, but if someone buys a PS3 to only play unlicenced games (it starts as homebrew, but actually with no licence key stopping them, a bigger company can start releasing single A titles on the system without paying a licence to Sony, as happened on NES and Mega Drive a reasonable amount). Now obviously this means less profit for Sony, which shareholders wouldn't like anyway, but by selling the console for less than it cost to produce for it's first 3 years, without achance to recoup it could be catastrophic. If PS3 makes an overall loss, Sony shareholders may decide Playstation division is a liability, and put pressure to bow out of home consoles altogether.
Maybe there should have been a standard model, and a more expensive model (unsubsidised) with other OS support, but hindsight is 20:20 as the saying goes.

Posted:3 years ago

#86

Mihai Cozma
Indie Games Developer

123 34 0.3
Having SC2 linked to Bnet was a good thing not just because of the piracy issue. Blizzard ensures all people are playing the same, updated, version of the game at all times, that everyone who got the game has an equal chance to be connected with a huge community of gamers just like him, then there are achievements for those who like them, tournaments with observers can be held and so on and so on. I was upset about lack of LAN support at first, but now after playing so many games on Bnet I can say it was a very smart move.

Posted:3 years ago

#87
Actually, Blizzard isolated the community. They do something they call "region lock" which means I can't play with any of my overseas friends (which also have heavy localization forced upon them. New text, new voice actors, new keyboard scheme...). I won't delve on it too much since I don't feel it's the place to do so, but for me it was the last straw to make me admit that, for me as a gamer, Blizzard has suffered a horrid death and I feel embarrassed to have even bought SC2.

Posted:3 years ago

#88

Kevin Clark-Patterson
Lecturer in Games Development

288 23 0.1
Someone motioned this earlier and I whole heartedly agree...hackers generally don’t pay for things anyway so the industry isn't missing out on potential sales. Where they would miss out is if 'everyone' pirated 'everything' then there would be no money left for the publisher to pay the developers who wouldn’t be making games so there wouldn't be anything to play so we would all lose in the end.

Piracy is to be expected with any digital technology, but the sellers should make it attractive enough to warrant the purchase in the first place so we are not drawn to the dark side.

Some people will pirate no matter what but the average Joe would probably have never made the purchase in the first place so again the industry doesn’t lose out - but the moral issue is if you don’t pay for it then you shouldn’t be using it.

Lets just not mention that recent titles have an EULA that states you don’t actually ‘own’ the software you buy as you are merely hiring it!!

Posted:3 years ago

#89

Graham Bromley
Lead Level Designer

9 2 0.2
@ Mihai Cozma - you state
"2. Make better games and people will buy them no matter what, quality should drive game sales, not DRM."

Have look at the most stolen (torrented) games, torrentfreek.com has been running charts for number of years now.

Aren't that many 2/10 games being pirated - what gets stolen the most are great games, especially if they have weak protection.

It's almost a compliment - Make a good game and they will steal it. Shame you can't get a deduction of your bills based on how much of your work has been robbed. There’d be developers worldwide living for free.

There used to be a Death Penalty for Piracy, so Hotz and co. should be thankful if they get off with just being liable for the losses Sony will take from Piracy.
Imagine if they pay for their negligence (in publicly posting the info), by covering all developers revenue losses through PS3 piracy.

Posted:3 years ago

#90

Graeme Quantrill
Mobile App Developer

43 8 0.2
@Werner Nemetz
Yeah, sorry my post was incorrect.
The key on Geohotz website is the public key, not the private one. At no point has he released the public key therefore signing your own apps, without his firmware is impossible.

Posted:3 years ago

#91

Mihai Cozma
Indie Games Developer

123 34 0.3
@Graham and others who are intrigued by my statement:

I think we can split game customers into 3 groups:

1. People that will always obtain games legally by paying for them.
2. People who will always get a pirate version, and if they can't they just forget about it (because they can't afford it or they just don't want to pay for it).
3. People who will buy some of the games and get pirated copy for others.

I think all DRM methods are targeted to the 3rd group. Now there are various reasons why would people from the 3rd group buy or not buy a certain game:

3.1. Price tag and perceived value. If someone thinks a game it's too expensive for what it has to offer (in terms of fun, gameplay time, long term appeal like multiplayer, replayability and so on), it will just get a pirated copy of the game. Here it is all about sales, and this subject has been touched in this thread by others, I won't go into details.

3.2. The customer cannot get a demo for the game (because there is no demo for it, just some hype and some "sponsored" reviews out there), so he gets a pirated version. He plays 2-3 hours, he's astonished about the game and gets a legal copy about it. I would call this type of customer an honest one, because he just tries before he buys. If he can get a demo for the game, he will skip the pirate copy step. So this is on developers, if the game is good enough, the trying process will result in a purchase.

3.3. The customer who is not a fan of the genre, but heard from some friends that this game is great, he should try it. So he doesn't make an investment, he gets a pirate copy, plays it all the way then erased if from the computer. Now if the game is very good, he might actually get a legal copy and become a fan of the genre. If the game is crap, he is happy he didn't spend the money on it. Again, this is about the game's quality.

3.4. The customer likes the game, but for him it's too expensive for now, and will just play it pirated and then get a legal copy after one or two price cuts. This will happen if the game is very good and has a long lasting appeal. If it is just a forgettable experience, then those money will not be invested. Again, related to the game quality.

3.5. The customer pirates most games, but can't play some multiplayer feature of this particular one, so he buys it. This guy is almost part of group 2.

So as you can see from my description above (again, this is purely my own view, and I don't work in the industry but I'm a hardcore gamer living in an "in development" country, so I've seen all sides of this phenomenon), in most of the cases for the group 3 (for which the DRM methods are in place), the only thing that developers can do (not related to sales) is to make a quality game or make a nice feature that is not available without purchase.

I think that piracy will always exist (group 2) and it is ok to legally fight against it, but if you can't stop it you can just not worry about it, as they won't buy your game, never. The only piracy a developer can fight against is the one in group 3, and the best way to do it is by offering quality products. If a game gets pirated by the 3rd group and you see a developer/publisher complaining about it, it's like complaining they didn't succeed in tricking the player to pay for a bad quality product. That is almost disgusting.

Posted:3 years ago

#92

Jonny Hope

3 0 0.0
the excuse that "games have to be better, then they wont be pirated" seems wrong. Why does Call of Duty and FIFA get pirated? People should kinda know now that these games are good.

Im fine with the idea of people testing games first before buying, because games are difficult to judge. But the problem is that on the anonymous internet we have, everybody can download a cracked game, play it, and then? pay it? they will play through and not pay, because nobody will find out, and they can keep their money.

the hackers in this case, might have had good intentions, (although im sure linux got removed due to hackers, and im also sure Sony has a sentence in the EULA that they are free to change the product anytime). But the good intensions do not help the fact 90% of all people will use it for stealing games and play them for free. So the hackers should be sued.

Personally, i'm also beginning to ignore almost all new games because
i get loads of them thrown at me since a few years. they all kind of look good, are kind of fun, but also kind of the same and there are few that really stand out and that i at least want to try out if i have the time.
The last two games i bought i rarely played.

Posted:3 years ago

#93

John McGrath
Student - Computer Games Development BSc

13 0 0.0
@Werner

Sell Brazillian language only games to Brazillians at Brazillian prices. Sure some copies will leak out to the black market, but at least they aren't pirated and were legally purchased in the first place. Besides, if you put sensible prices on the games according to where they're being sold then theres very little incentive for anyone to buy black market import games in foreign languages.

You have to ask yourself, would you rather see a few black market (but non-pirated and originally legally purchased) games in countries with similar languages or would you rather have hacked multi-lingual copies cirulating the globe for free via the internet? If the point is to crack down on illegal pirated games isn't it worth considering?

I'm sure ideas like that have been discussed in many a marketing meeting but are probably written off as 'not cost effective' or 'it makes profit but not enough profit to bother trying'.

Posted:3 years ago

#94

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
@Jonny,

I am sorry to say, but Call of Duty is not a good game in my opinion - its only a rail shooter for, which i might pick up from the budget bin - sure, it has nice graphics, but not much gameplay. I've played dozens of games which played just like CoD. How about DCS A10? It costs roughly the same.... And has hundreds of hours of gameplay for me... Quality perceived differently by different people.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Keresztes on 13th January 2011 5:35pm

Posted:3 years ago

#95
@John

Actually, things in that general direction have been made and, as a Brazilian and a gamer, I feel violated and personally assaulted having localization forced upon me and can assure you that the chances of me ever buying a game like that are very very slim. COULD be just me, but chances are that there a portion of the market that shares my view to some extent (and actually the result I've seen from this is black market games being leaked IN the country, not out)

@Tom

CoD doesn't really make it into the classification of Rail Shooter, as I know it. But I must partially agree on the quality issue. CoD IS a good game, but you can only do so many instalments before people start realising that you're kinda releasing the same thing over and over. It has done enough with MW to make sure I'll buy MW2 and probably BO as well, but not enough that I'll do so before Steam has anything less than a 50% off surprise sale on those.

Posted:3 years ago

#96

Graham Bromley
Lead Level Designer

9 2 0.2


@Mihai

"3.4. The customer likes the game, but for him it's too expensive for now, and will just play it pirated and then get a legal copy after one or two price cuts."

I like Ferrari's - but they're a bit expensive for me right now, so would it be ok if I just take one from a dealership without paying, so I can drive it around for free, until the price drops enough, so that I can afford new one?

Don't forget Piracy is Theft - there is no excuse for doing it, it's stealing, whether it's a 2/10 game or 10/10 game.

So hosting links to pirated games, or posting the knowledge to pirate games, and circumvent copy protection is pretty much aiding and abetting – which is also a crime.

I do take your point, though – putting out poor games is despicable, and it shouldn’t happen. But I can’t agree that it’s any kind of justification for stealing games.

Posted:3 years ago

#97

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