Could PS3 piracy be worse than on PSP?

Dev reckons Sony has tough times ahead.

Piracy on the newly-hacked PlayStation 3 could be worse than on the notoriously compromised PSP, according to the co-founder of Ubisoft subsidiary Massive Entertainment.

Martin Walfisz told GamesIndustry.biz that due to the nature of the security breach, Sony will struggle to detect which consoles are running illegally procured software, meaning the situation could quickly go from bad to worse for the platform holder.

"If that hack works as reported, I don't believe that Sony can regain any control," he explained.

"They could try to employ a similar system to Xbox Live, so that people running hacked systems won't have access to PSN. But Sony won't be able to stop people from running pirated game copies as long as the machines are not hooked up online.

"And given that it seems that users won't even need a hardware mod-chip to play pirated games, I don't believe that Sony can even detect which users to lock out from PSN."

"They way the PS3 seems to have been hacked, it is now completely open," Walfisz continued, pouring further salt in Sony's wounds. "The hackers can create pirated copies that completely mimic the official Sony digital signature, making it extremely easy to use pirated copies of games, without the need for any hardware chip modifications.

"I would assume that pirated copies can be stored on the HDD as well, making it so easy to use that PS3 piracy, given time, might even surpass the handhelds."

Walfisz went on to explain that the only way Sony could properly combat the situation would be by releasing new hardware an unrealistic proposition given the huge cost involved.

"I don't think that they can do much. Once a console is hacked this completely, the hardware manufacturer can't really do anything," he said.

"They could maybe update their hardware for new console sales, which would be a long and expensive process, but that won't stop users from running pirated copies on the current hardware. And updating the hardware needs to be done in a way that doesn't prevent users from running already-released games. I doubt that can be done."

Sony recently announced it planned to tackle the hack "through network updates".

Earlier this week it began legal action against modder George Hotz and his Fail0verflow team, claiming they infringed areas of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in obtaining the encryption and decryption keys of the console without authorisation, making them directly responsible for enabling piracy.

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

US News Editor

Fred Dutton is Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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