Someone may remember when, years ago, I was telling everybody that Sony had created the greatest anti-piracy feature for Playstation 3 that ever existed in video-game. Don’t let them fool you saying it was strong cryptography and high-tech ultra “security”. No, none of this, nor any other tight control feature, never stopped hackers. What I believed that always has been the anti-piracy measure of PS3 was called “OtherOS”.
A hacker does not spend a great amount of resources working over a cryptography puzzle just to play free games. Being able to play free games is merely a consequence of his work — a consequence that usually gets all the fame. No, a hacker does that because he wants to dive into the machine, he wants to use it for whatever he wants, he wants to break the chains of the imposed authoritarian control. Nothing is more provocative than hardware fortress that, as they say, no one could enter. Unless…
Sony tells them: “Here is the machine. An incredibly powerful one, I must say. I just don’t want you to play free games on it. Besides that, you can use it for whatever you want. Thus, the OtherOS for you.” It does not matter it is crappy and inconvenient to use, that it is limited, that you can not use the GPU, that you have one less SPU. All that matters is that it is there, and you can use whenever you want. Why bother cracking it, when they already officially provided us with so much control, so much room to run around with our chains?
One may never really use it. I tried to program the SPU myself once, and barely got it working when I gave up. I must say, it never mattered most than the day they forced me into “up”grading my system to remove my OtherOS. They could not be serious… would they dare to remove that crappy functionality that was never useful to me, but that I cared so much? Well, they did. And that is the whole point. We lost the little control, the glimpse of freedom, we had. We could not withstand it.
On April, update 3.21, OtherOS was removed. On August, a USB device called PS Jailbreak is confirmed to totally own the PS3 fortress, by just plugging it. On September, after six months, the exploit that allowed PS Jailbreak to work was patched by update 3.42. Do you really think this is a coincidence? Do you think it will stop?
Update: It seems I am not the only one to think like this, see the videos of this talk in Berlin: