I was wondering why are devs so bent on dissecting the ps3 firmware in order to make an iso loader / homebrew like the psp? As in the past ALL other consoles have some sort of chip that allowed them to play backups burnt onto a disc.
Couldn't ps3 also have the same or is the ps3 firmware a limiting factor in this special case?
No, it needs to be done to attempt any patches to the firmware.
If you do a bit of digging, you can find out nearly every "next gen" gaming console chip is actually serves a small purpose, to be Firmware replacement and or patcher.
To patch the firmware, the entire system needs to be understood, locations etc. I don't believe that if a chip comes out, it will be of the patching type. Due to the nature of the PS3, it will be a full replacement (ala Xbox, PSP etc)
With the exception of the PSX, which if I recall its little PIC sent the proper SCEX signal, (well Wii too) every console since then has needed to patch the Bios/Firmware, and in the case of say the PS2, it also had to patch the CD/DVD controller.
Although its a slight exception to the rule, even the "360 hacks" (drive mods) patch the drive FW, after its been completely understood and reversed, not to mention the eventual upcoming ones for the system itself.
But in todays age of rewritable flash chips in console, the need for mod chips diminishes, which is putting quite a few "mod shops" down river without a paddle!