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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_Zombie2404d ago

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

fatstarr2404d ago

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

DigitalAnalog2404d 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-danny2404d 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.

BrianC62342404d 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.

morganfell2404d 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.

gaffyh2404d 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.

gamingdroid2404d 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.

yess2404d ago

@fastarr

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

And voila..You have 5 new activations.

Raoh2404d 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_funny2404d ago (Edited 2404d 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)

jjohan352404d ago

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

WhittO2404d 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)

Mahr2404d 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.

somerandomdude2404d ago (Edited 2404d 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_Zombie2404d 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.

JhawkFootball062404d ago

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

The Lazy One2403d 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

mugoldeneagle032403d 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.

Ryudo2403d 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-BRASIL2403d 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.

Mahr2403d ago (Edited 2403d 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_02403d 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.

Arnagrim2403d 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 One2403d 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.

Mahr2402d 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 2402d ago
the_best_player2404d ago (Edited 2404d 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_funny2404d ago (Edited 2404d ago )

google translate fails, i dont understand a bit

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

Ocelot5252404d ago (Edited 2404d 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_funny2404d ago (Edited 2404d 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