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How the PS3 Hack Might Wreck Your Favorite Games

This disturbs me to no end. You know, honestly, before today the depth of my emotion for the PS3 GeoHot hack didn’t really breach disappointment. Well, that’s done. 

In case you missed it, a man named George Hotz found the root encyption key for the Playstation 3 and effectively blew the system wide open. While he doesn’t advocate piracy, he may as well because making this tool publically available on the “honor system” is about the same as leaving the keys in a running lamborghini. Of course, people are now using the system to pirate PS3 games and install all sorts of extra programs. You know, doing the same thing that made creating  new games on the PSP pointless.

But, now it really hits home. The hackers have found a way to exploit Modern Warfare 2 to the point where entering into one of these hacked servers can reset you down to level 1. Nevermind the fact that aimbotting is bad enough on its own. Some people might write this off as a non-issue since Black Ops is the new hot. Well, I’m sorry, but there are lots of reasons to prefer MW2 over BO, or heck, maybe even like BOTH — and a good 200,000 people agreed with me last night.

So now, I’d like to get this off of my chest. This is inexcusable. Sony can remotely shut down hacked PS3s and now is the time to do it. I don’t care that they spent $200 or more on the system. Brick it. I, and MANY others, didn’t do anything wrong here and now we have to suffer broken, exploited multiplayer in a game we payed $60 for. And not just any game, the game of 2010. It’s still in the top 3 of most played online. And you’d better believe it’s only the start. Why exactly should I, a fair player, lose out because 15-year-old, foul mouthed, racist Billy of the [KKK] clan, wants insta-kill,no-aim headshots? Wants the lawls of resetting my hundreds of hours of gameplay. Kick them out of the game now and show the community that you give a damn. Don’t just sue some random loser who already accomplished what he set out to do. Now is the time to set a damn precedent before it goes any further. We, the non-cheaters, are the freaking lifeblood of your company and if you doubt that, let this slide.

And if the reports are true and the only solution to the hack is to release new hardware, this is your only option. I won’t spend another $200 on a system just to make up for your lack of guts. I’ll trade in and buy an Xbox 360 if I was changing at all.

As it stands now, my favorite game of last year is worthless. Is it worth trading in over? No, probably not. But I certainly won’t be keeping that game around for much longer.

My big concern is that this is only the beginning. With the PS3 being blown wide open, any game that relied on platform protection is now fair game. Let’s hope the studios doubted Sony from the start. That’s a great thing to hope, isn’t it?

So, thanks hackers. You’ve proven yourselves cheap, moral-less dirtbags again. I hope you got your rocks off because wrecking other people’s online is the same thing as stealing money out of their pockets. Feel good, but if there’s one thing that will drive the message of piracy home, it’s making the average person suffer. Nice work.

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  1. Andrew

    Two main points, I suppose:

    1. I don’t buy the claims that PSP has been killed by piracy alone. For certain it is a problem, however the main factors contributing to the PSP’s poor performance in North America (it’s HUGE in Japan) are centered around uncompetitive pricing, the botched launch of the PSP Go, a tiny/irrelevant catalog of games since the beginning), and absolutely horrendous marketing. Of course Sony and its related developers will cite piracy…. but these other factors contribute to a minute NA install base – and that’s the real problem.

    2. I 100% agree that Sony should keep hacked consoles off of the PSN and related services, however I strongly believe that people should be allowed to freely modify goods that they have purchased and thus own. No company should have the right to tell you what you can and can’t do with your possessions, whether or not they created them. (Obviously so long as you’re acting within the law.) If you want to mod your console for Linux, or homebrew, or whatever then by all means do so – but don’t expect to connect to Sony-provided services.
    Andrew recently posted..Post Mortem- Lucidity

    1. Chris

      Fair enough. When I said brick them, my mind was really with the online functionality. Ban them from ever connecting to PSN and that’d be fine. The only problem is that now the floodgates are open. There is no way to play MW2 with any confidence you’re not losing because the other guy is cheating. And, honestly, I don’t have enough faith in Sony’s due diligence to keep on these people. The only way I really see people holding off from the hacks is if Sony does something serious and soon. Banning from PSN will work. For a while. Then, in a month or two, someone will come out with a spoofer, or some other tool that will let you get back online with a new PSN ID. That’s the #1 reason why I don’t think PSN bans will be as persuasive as we’d all hope them to be.

      In regards to the PSP point, I tend to think it’s a mass of all those things rolled into one. PSP never really had the power to be what they aimed for. The controls and computing power just weren’t there, not to mention the UMD having an incredibly limited storage capacity making every high-aspiring game sacrifice in some key way. That’s why there’s only a handful of games that really push the limits of the system, and two of them are made by Ready at Dawn. Still, piracy on the thing is ridiculous. Everything but the latest release can be hacked, memory is cheap and easy, so why bother buying a game when you can freely download it with ease? That’s the mentality AAA studios have to confront when they’re considering development on the system and RaD’s comment reflects the financial hit big games take when they try.

      1. Andrew

        The DS has it worse for piracy…. hell, you can download a lot of games before they hit the shelves if you have an R4 (or similar) card. Because Nintendo didn’t cock up the DS like Sony did the PSP it is still profitable to develop for…. the install base makes it worthwhile.

        (Likewise, PCs are way more open than PS3s/PSPs and yet sales are absolutely booming in that market right now!)

        Piracy doesn’t kill platforms – terrible corporate planning does.
        Andrew recently posted..Post Mortem- Lucidity

  2. Dan Hulton

    Whoah, whoah, whoah.

    Andrew really has the right of it here. Bricking PS3s because people decide to modify them and open them up is absolutely unforgivable. Even if you’re upset because hackers are giving you problems, there’s no reason to resort to the nuclear option.

    PCs are more open than even a hacked PS3, and popular games have anti-cheat methods in place. So why can’t PS3 games do the same?

    There are more options here, and honestly restricting from PSN is an excellent one. If you want to play on a hacked PS3, you don’t get to play with others. Solves the hacking problem, and de-incentivises piracy in the first place.

  3. Victor Stillwater

    Um, to be honest, I recently went to a mall here and found that PS3’s can already be “pirated” so to speak.

    Apparently, by locking the game under a specific firmware, there’s a custom firmware that’ll allow you to create game backups on the hard drive. You won’t get all the functionality of the game, such as online multiplayer and trophy sharing, sure, but you can stick all the games onto a 1TB hard drive and fill it and the PS3 hard drive up with the games you want to play, and then swap them into the PS3 using a USB cable, I believe.
    Victor Stillwater recently posted..Wondering About Final Fantasy Type-0 It’s Actually Agito XIII

  4. Genda

    I agree with Chris on this one. You don’t “own” the software on a PS3, only the hardware. So Sony is well within their rights to disable their software. The box you own is then free to do what you want with it. Load Linux? Sure. Make it into a media box? No problem. Run Sony games on Sony’s OS? No can do.

    You ARE free to modify the hardware you own, and Sony is free to take their software back if you do.
    Genda recently posted..Vanguard Crafters is Closed

    1. Chris

      Amen.

    2. Andrew

      The “owning” software debate is an evil slippery slope. Companies like to “license” you software, however as I’ve written in the past, that’s a dubious practice. If you want to get on the side of companies when it comes to that… well… I’m a software developer and I can tell you that I support customers OWNING their legally purchased software.
      Andrew recently posted..Post Mortem- Lucidity

      1. Eliot

        Yes, but those users do not own the right to use your network and your resources – and other people’s enjoyment – to violate a shared agreement. Owning the software is not an open right to owning everything associated with said software.

  5. Eliot

    I’d really like to hope against hope that Sony has the good sense to realize what’s going on here. Then again, they’ve had a superior product that they don’t know how to market for several years now, and as a result barring some major unexpected event the 360 is the de facto hardware of this console generation. Which means that my hopes are low the company will get its collective head together and start taking action.

  1. I’m Ready, Sony Isn’t | Ex Post Ninja

    […] has an excellent post about what the new PS3 hack means for people who have any interest in playing games online on the console with something resembling a […]

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