Last week we reported that a group of German hackers named fail0verflow has broken the PS3's encryption system to allow pirated apps and games to be run on it. Now we have learned that George Hotz, another hacker known for cracking the iPhone platform and creating the infamous Jailbreak, has decrypted the "root key" of the PS3 and has posted it online for anybody to work with it.
We really don't know how these developments will play out, only time will tell, but we want to analyze what would happen if indeed this hack is the final blow on the PS3's few remaining lines of defense against piracy.
PS3 Hacked Pros
For people that want to run third party software, the open PS3 platform would be great news. Any software that they produce would be signed as legitimate and allowed to run without the need of modifying Sony's firmware. Fail0verflow claims its work was solely designed as punishment for Sony’s removal of OtherOS in a firmware update after George Hotz's original PS3 jailbreak last year. The capability of running Linux would be back again, and the PS3 could have added functionality by running apps such as XMBC, which plays old SNES games. Also the possibility to run software from an external hard drive or USB drive would be available.
The news of a hacked PS3 would create the real possibility of boosting PS3 sales. If we follow how things worked for the PS2 massively pirated console, where sales increased after news of a hacked PS2. This could after all become good news for Sony.
Customization of everything from how the PS3 interface looks, to creating little changes such as custom soundtracks for games, or running a third party browser, etc.
Finally, the capability to run pirated software. Sure, fail0verflow can claim all they want that the intention of hacking the PS3 was solely to allow homebrew software and that they do not condone piracy, but we all know that the real purpose of their work is to allow pirated games to run as legitimate software on the PS3. From a user's point of view, this would be ideal. Get your game for free by downloading it on your favorite bit torrent website and play it with the same functionality of a legit paid copy.
PS3 Hacked Cons
So far, a wide open PS3 sounds like a great idea. But the repercussions of it could actually hurt the PS3's gaming community. The main concern being what sort of measures Sony would take to tackle the issue of piracy. So far it is all speculation, but we could imagine Sony could do the following:
First, They could continue the war against hackers and try to win it. After all, up until now Sony was able to keep up with hackers by releasing firmware updates that would patch any holes in their software. The problem here is that team fail0verflow had figured a way to hack the system so that it would be immune to firmware updates. This means that Sony would have to engineer a new solution in a short period of time, and given the history of Sony guarding copy protection this is probably a solution that either will not be good enough, or could end up crippling the PS3.
Second, Sony could switch their main source of revenue from game sales to a paid subscription system. This would not be a solution against piracy, instead, it would be another method that Sony could use to make up for the losses created by it. The video game industry seems to be moving in that direction and it would not be a surprise that Sony adapted this measure. This option would certainly hurt PS3 users that are actually paying for legit games, since they would not only have to pay for their games, but also for a subscription to allow the games to be played online.
As we mentioned before, it is all at this point pure speculation and it's hard to predict what the future holds for Sony and its Flagship game console. We can only hope that these changes would at the end work for the better and the game community will benefit from them. What do you think about the latest news regarding the PS3 being hacked? are you happy about it? or do you think that it perhaps might end up harming the video game industry? Feel free to let us know putting a comment at the bottom of this article.
Tags:ps3, hacked, fail0verflow, George Hotz