It's not really a new trick. I'm pretty sure all developers include whatever the latest available firmware is at the time. And if not I'm sure they'll start. It's just that there's lag time since a game can 'go gold' weeks before a new firmware is released so it's too late to include it so it will usually take a month or two before you see retail games with that firmware on it.
That's close. There is a minimum firmware version for every game, and usually it can be up to 6 months behind whatever the most recent firmware release is. If you put a game in a debug console and run the check process in it you will see the actuall SDK they compiled the game with. That's the real minimum version needed for a game. When a disc goes gold Sony puts on the latest firmware version release like you said.
The reason that this happens is because each new SDK version can introduce bugs into the game so Sony (as well as Microsoft) allow the developers to use older SDK's for release games (but there is a still a minimum version required and it's something like 6 months).
That gap though is closing fast though. In six months the trick of modifing the param.SFO will no longer work.
I have this nagging idea that if one maybe have made a backup using backupmanager and actually having any other kind of controller plugged in while backuping then the PS3 controller, stuff like this might happen... or am i completly drowning in dumb ideas?