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Sony strikes back against piracy with hidden feature

PS3-Sense writes: "Many people thought Sony didn't had a chance since the PS3's root key had been released. Some people were saying that this was the end of the PlayStation 3.

Nobody knew about it, but famous hacker SKFU has discovered this hidden feature in the PSN. The feature is meant to prevent people from playing downloaded games. We'll explain the feature.

When you buy a game you'll get a serial key with it, you can use this up to 5 times. This gives Sony a signal that you are authorised to play the game and that you have a legal copy of the game. The serial key only works with the same Blu-Ray disc with the same serial number. You can read more info about this on our website."

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Retro_Zombie2351d ago

All I care about is homebrew apps and Linux I have no interest in pirating games so this won't affect me.

fatstarr2351d ago

It can only be used up to 5 times each?
what happens when your ps3 is the 6th one

DigitalAnalog2351d ago

Re-purchase the game again. Even STEAM only let's you use the game for one account, let alone 5.

-End of Line

tda-danny2351d ago

@ DigitalAnalog

Not the same thing. On Steam, you can download the game as many times as you want, but can only have one account online to play it at a time.

If my HDD drive dies 10 times, I can still just redownload the game - which is what fatstarr was referring to.

BrianC62342351d ago

"All I care about is homebrew apps and Linux I have no interest in pirating games so this won't affect me. "

Get a PC and install Linux on it then. What's the big deal about doing it on the PS3? A PC will have a lot more RAM too.

morganfell2351d ago

Exactly Brian. Claiming one needs their PS3 for Linux is lame reasoning an no excuse at all. Homebrew? Really? When you could run the same homebrew on a laptop? It's obvious why people want the PS3 hacked even if they won't admit it.

gaffyh2351d ago

Only way this would work is if they have an option of telephone activation for the games, otherwise it is pretty much impossible because not everyone has an internet connection.

Also, this would make console gaming extremely unpopular. The whole point of consoles is that it makes gaming easy and simple. If you have to go through most of the steps you go through on PC, then you may as well just play games on PC.

gamingdroid2351d ago

That is a terrible idea by basically implementing intrusive activation procedure on a console. That is evil and I will put my PS3 for sale if that ever happened.

Only 5 activations.... They are making a physical product become as rigid as digital copies are today.

yess2351d ago

@fastarr

Then you call Sony and ask for a reset of your activation.

And voila..You have 5 new activations.

Raoh2351d ago

@BrianC6234

Actually there is a want/need for a set top box experience.

I have my pc hooked up to my tv and i still pay for hulu plus on my ps3. know why?

I prefer to use my remote over a keyboard and mouse. this is why i feel that googletv is nice but not ready for prime time with consumers.

common users would rather use their iphone/ipad to airply their videos to an airplay enabled tv than use a keyboard and mouse. that sony remote for google tv is horrible. nothing beats a standard remote.

those western digital media boxes are popular. people want that type of experience on the ps3 and those that are tech savy enough are willing to jailbreak a device for that experience.

If you check my post history you'll see that i am for the most part what some call a ps3 fanboy and i would jailbreak one of my ps3's for the purpose of using it as a media box.

I_find_it_funny2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

yess
>@fastarr
>
>Then you call Sony and ask for a reset of your activation.
>
>And voila..You have 5 new activations.

this IS NOT about system activation, you're talking about completely different thing (and still get 4 agree's lmao)

jjohan352351d ago

This article makes absolutely no sense. When you rent games, you are playing that disc on many more consoles than just 5.

WhittO2351d ago

I doubt this is true since we would have heard ENDLESS articles of people complaining about it by now.

And jjohan35 is right, how can they have this but playing a game that's rented seems to be fine? (thats rented by hundreds of people)

Mahr2351d ago

"Homebrew? Really? When you could run the same homebrew on a laptop?"

Please explain how I could use a laptop to play fan translations of PS3 games, play my PS3 games from an HDD to minimize load times, play region free PS1 games, play region free PS2 games, watch region free Bluray, or back up my PS3 boot software to make it functionally brick-proof.

"It's obvious why people want the PS3 hacked even if they won't admit it"

Nope, although it is pretty obvious that you do not actually know much about Homebrew applications.

somerandomdude2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

"All I care about is homebrew apps and Linux I have no interest in pirating games so this won't affect me."

Why not just get a dreamcast on ebay for 20 bucks. Sega actually encouraged home-brew on their system before they went under, and you'll save yourself a possible ban on you PS3. It's just not worth it.

Retro_Zombie2351d ago

@Brian

Because I'm a gamer and want all that awesomeness on my PS3 and not some f**king PC. And because I paid for my PS3 I'll do whatever the hell I want with it.

I want cross-game chat and any other innovative and unique little apps that developers can think of. Like I said I have no interest in pirating games so it's a non issue.

JhawkFootball062351d ago

This is not true, what about games that are rented? They are played on a variety of different consoles.

The Lazy One2351d ago

Find any PC with a cell processor that a consumer can buy and I'm sure they'd gladly run custom programs on it instead of a PS3.

It was a really cool feature for a college to be able to spend $1000 to get a handful of PS3s allowing their students to mess around with a new multi-core architecture on the cheap.

OtherOs removal pretty much killed cluster supercomputing on the PS3 for anyone with <$100,000

mugoldeneagle032351d ago

Sony's actually pretty cool about disabling some of the accounts if your maxed. I'm on my 3rd PS3 (both launch consoles died), switched HDD's when a backup wouldn't work and had 2 phantom accounts on friends PS3's but no one knew which one, so I e-mailed them asking if they could disable a few and they did which was pretty cool.

Ryudo2351d ago

Yeah good idea Sony use that DRM because that worked well for Activision, EA, and countless other companies that tried it.

O wait no it didn't.

Spore was the first game to use DRM it was also the most pirated game of all time.

BISHOP-BRASIL2351d ago

@Retro_Zombie

And yet I don't remember you or any other current hack supporter of N4G cheering for Sony openess when they actually allowed anyone to have Linux or any custom PPC OS or Apps running on PS3 hardware in 2007~2009. You guys even know you could run standalone apps in Other OS feature?

It's funny how just all hacker friendly PS3 users only showed up after Sony cutted homebrew out. I don't remember any Linux PS3 articles back in the day asking for this homebrew developer scene to make PS3 apps and what not, the most people asked for was emulators (which are still mostly illegal, unless you have the original games and console you are emulating) and complaining about RSX access (again with nothing but piracy in mind). Where were FailOverfl0w and GeoHotz back in the day and why wasn't you guys calling them out to support homebrew in PS3?

So much for homebrew love... Troll harder.

Mahr2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

"You guys even know you could run standalone apps in Other OS feature?"

Even with Other OS, pretty much every Homebrew application I listed above was not possible on the system. Being able to use the PS3 as a makeshift PC is probably one of the *least* interesting parts of the hack.

"Where were FailOverfl0w and GeoHotz back in the day"

Working in the Wii and iPhone Homebrew communities, respectively. Both sytems were *much* more open than the pre-hack PS3 was, ever was, and the Homebrew they came out with for those systems was significantly more compelling as a result.

Now that the PS3 is more open than ever before (and is in fact the most open console currently on the market), there are a lot more possibilities for Homebrew. Hence, interest is increased.

Steve_02350d ago

@Mahr,
"Please explain how I could use a laptop to play fan translations of PS3 games, play my PS3 games from an HDD to minimize load times, play region free PS1 games, play region free PS2 games, watch region free Bluray, or back up my PS3 boot software to make it functionally brick-proof. "

I can easily see the appeal for what you've listed above, and a ton more besides. But there needs to be a balance. You have to realise that 90% of people who hear that the PS3 is "hacked" instantly think of pirated games. It's a games console, that's the primary purchasing intent for the average consumer, and if they can get the games for free, then a lot of them will do so. An honor system is all well and good, but it's all too easy to morally justify downloading software and media for free. Sony needs to protect developers and publishers, and unlocked consoles promote piracy, which is unsustainable in the long run for all of us. That is why this "hack" or "jailbreak" or whatever you want to call it is dangerous for the community, and the entire industry.

It'd sure be nice to have some sort of agreement with console manufacturers to run your own code, but unfortunately it is difficult then for Sony or anyone else to prevent malicious software and piracy. As a programmer the PS3 represents an interesting architecture to work with, but without dev tools and frameworks that real developers have access to quality software (homebrew games) is difficult to do.
Other OS represented the opportunity to explore basic programming on real Cell architecture. It represented a step from Sony towards a more open system. Out of necessity it had restrictions, which led to it eventually being exploited. For many reasons Sony can't condone any of the software you listed (apart from maybe a variant on the HDD install option), and that's the simple truth of the matter. Without these restrictions the console game market would not function, and we wouldn't have the systems and games that we do today. There's plenty of (unquestionably) legal available options for exploring ones own programming interest, and they are generally more versatile. Look at Mac and especially iOS development. It's free to get into, and only $100 a year to sign code and have it supported on an international store. The devices represent a much more interesting platform when you consider the wealth of knowledge already on it, the ease of programming, the expansive dev tools and many game engines available (look at the Unreal Development Kit for iOS, much more interesting than trying to program for an unlocked PS3 without any tools).

Maybe the answer is some sort of free Dev kit and App Store with Sony able to host and approve submitted apps. For the programmer it means having developers tools and infrastructure to make a good app or game, and for the end user it lets you easily download and manage quality applications, whilst preserving the security of your system. And for Sony, they can maintain a closed business model and ensure that the software is properly written. It's win-win-win really, with a few unavoidable hiccups.

Arnagrim2350d ago

@gaffyh
Not necessarily. They could just implement a counter on the disk to decrement when the same disk is used on a different ps3. Essentially just put a conditional in the startup function on the disk, that decrements an integer holding the amount of serial numbers remaining if it's on a different PS3. Of course, I'm not entirely sure if PS3 Blu-Ray disks are able to be written to or if they're read only, and if so that data can be stored on the PS3.
I assume this will work similar to the way iTunes handles its authorization.

The Lazy One2350d ago

PS3 blu-ray game disks are not writable. It would be a horrible idea if they were. Then all you have to do is go out and buy a single PS3 game and just overwrite everything except the authentication checks and you can pirate every game on the system without modifying your system at all.

Mahr2350d ago

"I can easily see the appeal for what you've listed above, and a ton more besides. But there needs to be a balance. You have to realise that 90% of people who hear that the PS3 is "hacked" instantly think of pirated games."

First off, I appreciate the level-headed response. :-)

Second, I would agree that there needs to be a balance. Personally, I am in favor of instituting very harsh legal penalties for pirates. When Nintendo won in court and fined that guy who put New Super Mario Bros on the internet for a million or so dollars, I cheered.

But what the Big Three -- and a lot of the people on this site -- are currently advocating is not much of a balance but more of a 'Kill them all and let God sort it out' policy. I do not consider that to be a fair policy, nor do I regard it as particularly feasible in the long-run.

"Sony needs to protect developers and publishers, and unlocked consoles promote piracy, which is unsustainable in the long run for all of us. That is why this "hack" or "jailbreak" or whatever you want to call it is dangerous for the community, and the entire industry."

This is true, but I would point out that it is the responsibility of the people *within* the industry to adapt to that danger. There are certain realities of the age we live in, and it is in the best interest of firms to incorporate those realities into their business strategies, rather than trying to negate them at the ground-level.

"For many reasons Sony can't condone any of the software you listed (apart from maybe a variant on the HDD install option), and that's the simple truth of the matter. Without these restrictions the console game market would not function, and we wouldn't have the systems and games that we do today."

I do not accept that argument, particularly in regards to region locks. There have been countless systems that, through design or through fairly trivial modification, were functionally region free, including the PS3 itself (at least in terms of its native games), and the game market has never ceased its function.

And even if I believed that an American playing a game from Japan somehow threatened the integrity of the industry, the substantial cost incurred in importing from a foreign country has always been a more effective barrier than the lock itself.

From a practical standpoint, making media region free takes away a *very* significant motivation for trying to crack copy protection in the first place. Is the cost to the industry of a PAL end-user playing a US import greater than or less than the danger posed by attempts to break those locks?

"Maybe the answer is some sort of free Dev kit and App Store with Sony able to host and approve submitted apps. For the programmer it means having developers tools and infrastructure to make a good app or game, and for the end user it lets you easily download and manage quality applications, whilst preserving the security of your system. And for Sony, they can maintain a closed business model and ensure that the software is properly written. It's win-win-win really, with a few unavoidable hiccups."

I have to admit, I do find that to be an extremely appealing idea.

+ Show (24) more repliesLast reply 2350d ago
the_best_player2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

Here's the rest (don't give them hits) :D

From a very reliable source ( SKFU ) we have a striking new feature of the PS3 heard. The feature would be present even at the PlayStation Network but is currently still hidden. It is a serial system "which Sony will soon start working. Since the root keys on the street you can see every homebrew tool (including backup management) make it sound like it was made by Sony. This makes it so hard for Sony to gamers with backup managers to detect and block. The idea is that soon every Blu-ray disc, disc with a unique number, comes with a serial key. These 'serial-key then works then only with its Blu-ray disc with matching number.

So it will soon be so should work, that when you a game buys and PlayStation 3 do, you activate it with your 'serial-key "and thus a call to Sony to show that you are authorized for that game play on your PlayStation 3. Reportedly, any 'serial-key may be used only five times, as many PlayStation Store downloads. Given the implementation according to our source has already been done in the PlayStation Network, and three unknown input fields on the PlayStation Network, is the probability that this system will be introduced enormous.

I_find_it_funny2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

google translate fails, i dont understand a bit

Does it prevent from pirating offline, or only going online?

Ocelot5252351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

no google translate for me, dutch is my native language ^^

@I_find_it_funny

you'll have to use serial keys like Pc games, so yes it prevents pirating(unless they'll introduce illegal firmware who don't check for serials)

but I don't like it, i hate DRM: no more borrowing of games

The source isn't reliable tough, never heard of PS3-sense
www.9lives.be and www.psonly.nl are the major gaming sites in dutch speaking europe.

I_find_it_funny2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

Istill don't get how it prevents from pirating offline, what checks if the game was already activated or not?

how ps3 is capable of checking if this copy was activated 5 times or not without going online? where is that information stored?

this is ridiculous and NOT GONNA HAPPEN

Kurt Russell2351d ago

This sounds very familiar to the methods used on my PC... And that shares about the same success rate as a paedophile in a primary school.

xAlmostPro2351d ago

thing is we can still lend games to a friend with the ability to play on upto 5 consoles :).. and also if you "traded it in" to a game shop you could do still, aslong as you still have atleast one serial code for use left :)

i think this is a pretty smart move by sony, and it's also pretty funny that the hackers only just spotted this :L

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2351d ago
the_best_player2351d ago

what about if you Rent or get Pre-owned games? :P

theonlylolking2351d ago

Thats not a problem since it is that bluray disc only. So as long as its matching with the blu ray disc it will work.

Nitrowolf22351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

@the_only_king

yeah it will be a problem.
i might be wrong here but The article states that there will be keys released that matches your BD. This sounds like Online passes but for offline also. Used games that use this feature won't be playable if they don't have the keys or they have been used all up. Meaning that you'll have to buy some from he online store or something.

If it's going based off how many times the key been used on the PS3 disc and not how many times it contacted sony then we have an issue.
Now i notice it says make a call to Sony, then what is the point really? cause some users can say offline. I guess this will be an easy way to ban.

sjaakiejj2351d ago

Like Nitrowolf said, the idea is that you register the bluray disc to your playstation 3. If you get a pre-owned game I'd imagine it's not on its fifth time yet, or you'll need to make a call to Sony. Rental games will probably have an exclusive set of serial keys with different functionality.

Pillage052351d ago

if they left rental copies alone with keys that could be used infinite times...then pirates would just rip and burn rental copies rendering a system like this useless. However they could make to where rental companies had a system to reset the systems it's been activated on everytime they rent out the game. This would deactivate it on any system it was previously used on. I imagine if a system like this is put in place there will be a way to reset the 5 systems. rendering all previous ones useless. Much like the psn downloads.

BISHOP-BRASIL2351d ago

That's the worst part of this hack situation. Sony can work around it so legit owners don't face major problems, but can be so much trouble for Sony they may have to cut features or add costs we'll have to deal with.

I can see Sony cutting Multiple Account Activation (a.k.a. Game Sharing) if they find it to be necessary to combat piracy.

One even worse possibility is that they come up with some kind of Activation Pass, much like EA's Online Pass, so they can still profit from pirates and used sales (probably a bonus on the company's point of view). This is less likely indeed as this don't really fight piracy and could be bad publicity, but if everything else fails...

I also wouldn't doubt on Sony blocking PSN accounts that are using supposedely pirated games depending on the success of this counter measure.

I hope they don't have to do it to fight piracy, but I know who I'll spam "thanks" for that if it happens: FailOverfl0w and GeoHotz.

Anyway I won't be buying used copies or renting games 'till it's clearer what Sony actions will be, as I'm in Brazil and calling Sony for a solution might not be that simple here... 2011 just got even more pricey, thank you hackers -_-'

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2351d ago
r1sh122351d ago

So basically there is no market for used games on the PS3 and PSN....loooooooool
Good fix, so If I buy another crap PS3 game like black ops and want to try and salvage some money but I will get even less.
THanks SOny

hakis862351d ago

I think there is a marked for it; seems to me if I buy a game, and register it to my PS3, it can still be sold/registered to 4 other PS3's/PSN IS's, 5 in total.

disco_UK2351d ago

Dont thank Sony for this, thank the hackers who pushed them into it. Any games developer/publisher wants to protect their work and make as much profit as possible. (as would you) Sony have to put many different layers of security in place in order to protect that work. Hopefully they wont have to use these layers, but each time one gets breached another has to be implemented. Once all the layers have been broken developers and publishers will be much less inclined to produce high quality/high investment games for the platform. (it wouldnt stop it completely as can be seen on PC's and the XBOX360)

gta28002351d ago

I said a few weeks ago that in this war there was going to be a lot of collateral damage and that us legit gamers would be caught in the crossfire. If this happens, here's another blow to us. It bothers me, but I'm all up for anything that stops these bummy pirate pieces of sh!t. Hackers made us lose "other OS" and now possibly more.

TeaRunner2351d ago

After months of insane hacking by specialized groups and people, and what's going to stop them? The good old serial number.

Anyways, I don't think this is going to stop the hackers from enabling piracy. Might be a little setback, but they will eventually work a way around it. Might be a just a matter of time.

Blaze9292351d ago

the jailbreak dongle and PS3 games have been pirated for a few months now. Don't you think we would have heard at least one report about this if it were true?

This sounds bogus. What if you borrow/rent/buy used games? please

BISHOP-BRASIL2351d ago

Sony updates blocked Jailbreak enough so it didn't spread much plus they can't go online, probably they didn't take this measures so far as it can potentially harm legit buyers, which could lead to legal and public opinion issues.

Unfortunatelly, those previous measures can't block new hacks based around root keys and each day Sony does nothing is one more day hacked PS3s can widespread and become popular, so they might as well do this now.

What if you borrow/rent/buy used games? You might have deal with calling Sony to prove you are the legit owner if your PS3 is the sixth or beyond to touch the game.

Aren't hackers lovely ones? They ruin it for every legit buyer out there so they can steal games and watch them blame it on big bad corporation who actually did something for our money.

Viper72351d ago

I doubt there are any rules of 5 or anything like that. Its just that every game may have (as this seems to be labeled as rumour) a hidden CD-key. That means if the same CD-key is online for multiple users they know its a pirate copy or the copy of the game which was shared online.

This has one serious problem tough, you don't really know what people do with their rented copies.

catguykyou2350d ago

Nice. Until someone comes up with a serial key generater this should keep pirated games down. Unless the check is done on the system then it can just be bypassed.

conswella2350d ago

The Empire Strikes Back.

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 2350d ago
XxDarkGamerxX2351d ago

"Nobody knew about it, but famous hacker SKFU had discovered this hidden feature in the PSN. The feature is meant to prevent people from playing downloaded games. We'll explain the feature.
"

Great! Im ok with custom firmware stuff, as long as they BUY their games instead of torrenting them

NYC_Gamer2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

i have no problem with people buying games and downloading them to their hard drives

scruffy_bear2351d ago

Old like 7 years old Sony was going to do this at the start of the PS3 life, but were afarid the backlash from gamers and retailers so they put it to bed. It's not going to happen

BrianG2351d ago

I do remember hearing about this years back.

BrianC62342351d ago

I can see Sony doing this now if this is true. There won't be any backlash. It would be a great way to stop hackers from playing hacked games.

kewlkat0072351d ago

"There won't be any backlash. It would be a great way to stop hackers from playing hacked games. "

Didn't they say the same thing for the removal of "Other OS"....

Enate2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

BrianC6234 You've gotta stop trying to look at the bs bright side. This would essentially kill your ability to game share between your own systems which would be down right stupid. Its already bad enough with these stupid EA online passes where. If my brother in the same damn house wants a barrow a game he can't play online without paying 10 bucks its a damn ripoff.

Curve used game sales my *** its hindering much more then its helping.
An don't even get me started on renting games. An to be honest all these restrictions if placed will ultimately do nothing but push me away and make me buy less games as the EA pass already has done for me. An as much as I love my PS3 it will seize to be my main gaming platform for all but the must have exclusives if this bs happens. Anything else I can play on my PC I will begin to. Like someone else said that whole tied to your blu ray/ PS3 bs they were talking about pulling that when the PS3 first came out. It was a bad idea then and its a bad idea now.

What they need to do is not try to figure out a lazy way to get at those people. That will ultimately just hurt the current way the PSN works and it works well. Pulling this kind of bs just complicates things further. An if you've ever had an issue with your account you already know how lazy Sony support is when it comes to dealing with account issues. I'd rather not have to call them ever again if I can help it. Sony makes some of the best games but I can not stand their customer support.

Eyeco2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

the funny thing is remember hearing this like 5 years ago right before the PS3's launch in NA, it was ideas like that , that completely turned people off from buying a ps3, i remember asking my friend if he was gonna buy a ps3 he went to me and i quote " besides the high price point, lack of games, i heard you can't share games."

Now i love the ps3 but ideas like that generated allot of bad press in the gaming community, the same bad press that contributed to the poor launch. Bottom line its a bad idea whats the point ?

Especially when pirating is so fuckin minor on consoles let alone the ps3, 1st of all to hack the ps3 you need the otheros feature, and as of 2011 most ps3's don't have this feature this, so theres gonna be a small minority of hackers and piraters using PS3's to even leave a dent, basically im saying whats the point of Sony screwing over millions because of a couple of thousand cheapskates. This pirating issue really isnt as bad as the media has made it out to be.

cemelc2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

@Enate

Beats the alternative of having the ps3 pirated to hell.

Have you ever heard the saying that goes like this:

"You reap what you sow"

They cracked the ps3 to hell now that it cant be stoped the company is protecting their investment. Your fault?No, a hassle? True, but unless you have 5 ps3 this wont be any trouble to you.

The only reason why you would complain is because: 1- youre a re-seller, or 2- a rental shop. You want to thx someone for this?? FailoverFail and his buddy GeoTool.

Enate2351d ago (Edited 2351d ago )

cemelc you are assuming it would even work which it wouldn't. If you know anything about the hacking/pirating community eventually is the word unless the world ends. Its computer technology and some how some way someone always finds a way that's just how it is. Updating the PS3's firmware would have the same effect (buying time) because at best that's what it would do. PC companies have been trying to prevent pirating for years. What usually happens is they end up screwing over the people who usually buy with headache DRM and they lose more money instead of gaining anything. Also inadvertently pushing those paying customers to pirating just to not have to deal with the DRM.

I've seen it happen time and again as I play on both PS3 and PC. When you are a corporation you have to consider everyone. An as it stand non informed customers barley understand how to get online. The last thing that needs to happen is making them come to the conclusion that their experience is being controlled to an end of which they have no idea.

Case in point is you are only saying do it because you assume it would work. No one even said anything about it working. An as stated several times there was a reason Sony shot this idea down to begin with. Wasn't a good idea then and it damn sure isn't one now.

Prcko2351d ago

this sounds promising!