Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Sony vs. the Pirates

I can imagine anyone who follows gaming news has come across the whole Playstation 3 hacking issue, but now it would seem the console you own may not actually be your own. This article on ( describes how apparently the disclaimer that appears for the Playstation Network (which probably 99% of us don’t read) includes some sort of clause where Sony can automatically ban your account or ‘brick’ your console when they please. Now this is also partly because when you purchased your console and thought you owned everything on it, turns out that Sony have the right to modify, add and remove stuff on the console at will whenever it releases updates. Now you think you just won’t do an update, but that’s where Sony gets you by forcing you to update, or refuse access to the online store and other multiplayer options. In terms of being banned this can apparently be caused by being a better player than everyone else...weird I know.

Not that Sony is out targeting everyone, but apparently such events will happen when you’re using offensive or abusive language which is fair enough. However one thing that is a bit unfair is when someone reports you for minor upsets like “taking all the ammo”. Now I’m yet to meet someone who was banned for playing a game better than everyone else, but when I do I’ll be sure to laugh-out-loud :P. Now as for how long you’re banned for is a mystery, but apparently the time is decided by Sony themselves, so for anyone playing a lot of online PS3 games and they end up getting banned there’s always Xbox 360 you can go to...I’m just saying.

Honestly though when it comes to the piracy thing it’s such a long debated battle that to me it has no definitive answer (like saying which is better, pie or cake). I can see what Sony are trying to do and on one hand people are “taking advantage” of what the Playstation can do, which Sony is trying to put a stop to. On the other hand, the view of “ownership” seen by many people is that when you pay for something, you own it to do whatever you like, and if that means hacking it to turn it into a super computer then why not. The last thing I reckon Sony should do is brick a console since that doesn’t solve anything other than the fact the person will either buy another one, or buy an Xbox 360 (or a Nintendo Wii).

Now I don’t agree with the people that just download a bunch of games they easily could have purchased because that’s just plain stealing, especially if they don’t buy the game later on. For all other instances that pirates and hackers exist whether it’s for Homebrew software, supplying games that no longer exist in the shops, providing access to games to regions in the world that might not have access to a popular title, this all helps the gaming community grow and experiment with new things.

All in all it seems like a battle Sony will inevitably lose and cost loads of money if they continue with their struggle. To be honest though, when I first saw that PS3’s could install an OS on to the console, I had a feeling that function would backfire on them and they definitely shouldn’t have tried disabling it. Ah well.

Posted by Tim.

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