PS3 piracy now a reality - report

Website appears to confirm a full hack via USB dongle for Sony's console

Reports have emerged that a company has produced a USB-based full hacking solution for the PlayStation 3, and that is has back-up software now running on the Sony platform, according to Eurogamer's Digital Foundry.

If true, this would seem to suggest that it would be possible in theory for users of any PlayStation 3 retail hardware to run any kind of game code - even when running the latest firmware updates.

While such claims have been made before - and this one may end up as the latest in a long line - a video posted on a website appears to verify the reports.

If true, this will be a blow for Sony, especially as potential pirates won't require a Blu-ray burner to acquire copied games, as the hack works by streaming game data either from the internal hard drive or alternatively via USB flash drives or hard disks.

Sony representatives were unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

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Latest comments (16)

Christopher Bowen Owner, Gaming Bus 8 years ago
Let's see what options they take away from paying customers this time.
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Luca Cannellotto Journalist, Consultant, Blogger, Researcher 8 years ago
My thoughts exactly. The PS3 sounded so well in theory, then it launched...
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Josef Brett Animator 8 years ago
Luca - that's a bit harsh!

I'm not the biggest PS3 fan in the world, but to be fair to Sony they have worked hard to allow developers to use the machine as intended (which people are now starting to do very well).

To get alls erious and boring, it's a shame when piracy invades any console. Like You and Christopher said it will only have a negative impact on the consumer.
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Show all comments (16)
Private Industry 8 years ago
I watched the videos and the XMB looks like the Test Kit XMB because of the additional folders that are there the /app_home and Install Package Files. You don`t have those on the retail kit and only on the dev kits.

Well Christopher so far it was what? 1 feature removed that was not exactly used by a large amount of people versus don`t know how many features implemented with the firmware updates since launch.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 19th August 2010 4:32pm

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Stewart Gilray Managing Director, Just Add Water8 years ago
It is a test kit, and so far to use this "exploit" on a retail PS3, you have to spend $120 to buy their custom made PS3 Dongle...

As it stands, I've been told the standard "PKG" you can download will only work on a Test machine too, so right now I'm not too fussed.

We also cannot deny that piracy does have a positive impact on hardware sales, look at Wii, DS and PSP, I think without piracy unit sales would be massively different.

That does NOT mean I think this is a good idea, it's a very bad idea, just sayin.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Stewart, any hardware boost via pirates is a moot point for publishers.

Console X sells 2 units. 1 to a real consumer, the other to a pirate. The consumer buys his 4 games, the pirate downloads his...everything he can. To the publisher, that second sold hardware unit doesn't even exist.

And I doubt that outside of certain piracy hotspots could you call their sales impact as massive. The whole notion that it's "beneficial" is some factor is simply a propaganda piece by the pirates themselves to help legitimize their illegal activity in the minds of the common consumers and industry.

It's similar to saying that drugs lords are beneficial to the economy because of all the money they spend on expensive houses, cars, clothes and keeping people employed.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 8 years ago
1 feature removed that was not exactly used by a large amount of people versus don`t know how many features implemented with the firmware updates since launch.

I'm sorry but I can't think of any single feature which was added after I bought my PS3 (26 dec 2008 FW 2.??) that comes even remotely close to what they have removed (at least for me) (or even being usefull). For me the removal of OtherOS is a major issue (I'm still at FW3.15 because of it), as it was one of the reasons why I bought the PS3 at that time (Bluray was number 1, OtherOS number 2, Games was number 3 (even though I have 100+ games now), if it didn't have OtherOS I certainly would not have bought the PS3 (at that time). For me the FW's Sony releases are worthless, a lot of pointless additions. And most additions are only added for the financial benefits of Sony. Why is the PS3 also still so pointless for mediaplayback, even a $50 mediaplayer has more support than the PS3 which was also advertised as being a versatile mediaplayer (well with OtherOS it could have been as the community was beginning to understand how to use the SPU's for better playback).
And in the end, Sony just used the Geohotz exploit as an excuse for removing OtherOS even when the exploit clearly wasn't (and stil isn't) a threat, they had other motivations.. Now I can't use my PS3 anymore for which I bought it, I have to make a choice, or have OtherOS, or being able to play games.. So I feel Sony has ripped me a new one.. Personally I hope they hack the whole PS3 so I can have both again, serves them right for stealing from me..

Also I think Sony won't have big problems in blocking this 'exploit' even if it would run on a retail-console. And newer games only have to make sure some of the important datafiles are over 4GB, as this 'exploit' only works for FAT32.. (which is also a big annoyance, why does the PS3 still not support ntfs (if it's the license problem, then they can solve it the same way as they do with WMA)..

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Jakobs on 19th August 2010 7:40pm

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Stewart Gilray Managing Director, Just Add Water8 years ago
Jimmy, oh I agree. I was merely pointing out that hardware sales HAVE been impacted. E.G. in Japan the PSP is constantly the number 1 selling piece of hardware each week, yet software sales come no where near it.
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Josef Brett Animator 8 years ago
Andrew - good point, well made about Other OS. It may not have been used by the majority of customers, but for those who used it seriously, it was a huge part of PS3.

Whether it's used widely or not is a moot point as it was the removal of an advertised feature by Sony. I still don't think that it is OK that they did it. They, unfortunately, have a 'legitimate' excuse for it becauce if Geohotz hack (yeah, thanks for that).

It all stinks.

As for Piracy, yes there are a (very) few cases where it has helped the profile and sales, but on the whole it's not good for any industry. I understand from a tech point of view why people do it, but I wish they wouldn't!!
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Doug Abramson Programmer (C/C++/Embedded Linux) 8 years ago
Lest sony forget that piracy made the Playstation 1 SUCCESSFUL...
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Shane Sweeney Academic 8 years ago
This is excellent news. I was concerned about being able to preserve the many amazing number of exclusive titles on the PlayStation 3.

The PlayStation Store will one day go down, and imagine a world where flower, PixelJunk Eden or flOw was forever locked behind DRM and unable to be shared. Next step of course is Software Emulation so Flower and Flow aren't forever locked to the PlayStation 3 hardware which will eventually die.

If it wasn't for the subversives trying to preserve complete collections of all video games we would of already lost many console games that have no known working examples on carts.

A large level of piracy on any platform is a synptom of a larger issue, usually a poor price point or usually a poor distribution method. I have a Jail Broken phone, but I still buy apps, just because the entire system is easier than pirating. But if the apps were $100AU each? No way.

Create a seemless distribution method and a price point the average consumer is happy with, and it falls away.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago
Quite some years after the PS3 was launched, and the piracy reports are minimum.

It's more than Microsoft and Nintendo can say about they machines...
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Christopher Bowen Owner, Gaming Bus 8 years ago
Well Christopher so far it was what? 1 feature removed that was not exactly used by a large amount of people versus don`t know how many features implemented with the firmware updates since launch.

I'm also counting the death of backwards compatibility. No, it wasn't just pulled from people via a mandatory firmware update, but Sony have a horrible history of advertising certain features and then pulling a bait-and-switch.

Furthermore, even just pulling one option a paying customer bought the system for is too much. It's like going to a restaurant and ordering a delicious steak with mashed potatoes. Then, during your dinner, the waiter comes and takes the plate from you, mid bite. When you ask what's going on, the waiter tells you that they had to take everyone's steak away because one person got sick off of it. But that's OK, a grill update has made canned ravioli possible, so you can have that instead.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 23rd August 2010 11:03am

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Look out for a new system update me thinks.

With this being leaked just before launch hopefully SCE will get to work on removing the functioonality for the Backup Manager.

Sad Sad Day
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Josef Brett Animator 8 years ago
Christopher - excellent analogy.
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Gonzalo Figueroa Game Designer, CNG Studios8 years ago
While the removal of an OtherOS was bad news, none other console is offering that option. So, if you were considering getting a PS3 just for the OtherOS, you should have gotten a PC with a Blu-Ray disc player instead of a PS3.

Piracy is a delicate issue, my previous company went bankruptcy due to this issue and it was not nice. We had a very little margin profit (10%) but still with that margin people decided to get pirate items. To buy a music CD at $1 (pirate) against a $12-15 (original) it is a lot of saving for the consumer... but if the company goes away or the artist stops producing, then what are you going to buy later?

Of course, you will have people that say that software should be free, just like music, movies, etc and it is true that sometimes they get paid a lot for their work. However, at the end we all have to pay bills, right? How would you feel if your SW or game was pirated after long hours of work and payroll? Would you think that any programmer would say "Don't worry, don't pay me because I know that the company does not have money because the software was pirated".
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