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Sony Lawsuit: PS3 Other OS Removal Due to Cost, Not Security

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195w ago - Although Sony previously admitted and then apologized for removing PS3 Other OS functionality due to security concerns, today IGN reports that according to the ongoing lawsuit Sony states the PlayStation 3 Other OS removal was due to cost not security.

To quote: An amended class action complaint filed against Sony Computer Entertainment America this month is claiming the company removed the 'Other OS' feature from the PlayStation 3 to save money and not for security reasons.

In April 2010, SCEA removed the Other OS feature due to "security concerns." The complaint says the statement is a "fabrication," saying SCEA gave those reasons as a pretext so it could argue the Warranty and Terms of Service allowed for the removal of the feature.

In reality, SCEI and SCEA removed this feature because it was expensive to maintain (as they previously admitted when the feature was removed from the "slim" models - but which they conveniently removed from SCEA's website); they were losing money on every PS3 unit sold (due to poor decisions in the planning and design of the Cell chip as noted above and given the PS3's extra features); SCEA needed to promote and sell games to make their money back on the loss-leading PS3 consoles (and there was no profit in users utilizing the computer functions of the PS3); and IBM wanted to sell its expensive servers utilizing the Cell processor (users could cluster PS3s for the same purposes much less expensively).

The complaint also says it's "virtually impossible" to use the 'Other OS' for piracy.

When the 'Other OS' feature is enabled, the software prevents the proper operation of the gaming feature to avoid allowing the features to interplay. In order for a hacker to pirate a game, it is necessary to perfectly emulate the operating system for which the game is designed, including the API, which is the interface for the game OS that supports all of the features of a game.

However, when the Other OS is in use, the API and other hardware features are blocked, including the graphics chip in the PS3, which makes it impossible to run a pirated game on the Other OS. As of January 2011, Sony had yet to identify a single instance in which someone used the Other OS to pirate protected content.

Last month, the court dismissed all but one claim from the original complaint filed in April 2010. The judge still allowed the plaintiff's "Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" claim because Sony could not show that its use of the firmware update to remove the 'Other OS' feature was authorized.

"Sony's actions are like a car manufacturer telling a buyer that it is going to remove the engine because it does not want to service the part anymore and then telling the consumer, 'tough luck, we are not going to give you a refund,'" said Co-Lead counsel James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld in a statement.

"This type of activity is exactly what our country's consumer protection laws were designed to protect against."

SCEA has until this Monday, March 28 to issue a response. A copy of the amended complaint can be seen [Register or Login to view links].

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Comments 31 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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#16 - skrapps - 195w ago
skrapps's Avatar
the big picture now is.. how sony LIED, said it was a SECURITY ISSUE and forced people into an updated USER AGREEMENT with that LIE.

#15 - smarty94 - 195w ago
smarty94's Avatar
the only limitation was the paltry amount of RAM (even though it was the superfast XDR type), but when clustering it could be worked around. Heck even the USAF made a PS3 cluster; they were all the rage at academic institutions around the world.

I think this was less of a security issue than Sony looking for an excuse to discontinue it under pressure from IBM. I believe that it is probable that IBM refused to work with Sony on the PS4 unless Sony stopped cannibalizing their cell blade server business.

#14 - shummyr - 195w ago
shummyr's Avatar
It is also extremely effective and cheap when used in a cluster situation.

#13 - corig1 - 195w ago
corig1's Avatar
No it is not just a video game system. Why not do some research? Ever hear of Ken Kutaragi? Google is your friend for the uninformed.

#12 - jarvis - 195w ago
jarvis's Avatar
Typically the only ones who benefit from a class action lawsuit are the lawyers. Any "big" payout is going to mean pennies for the customers. What I would like to see come out of this is a precedence set so that no companies in the future try to pull something like this again (taking away paid for advertised features).

Sony should give out a voucher for one physical game or a few PSN downloads for those where they took the functionality away.

The idea of putting OtherOS back is laughable. It doesn't matter if they do or not, eventually we'll have it back and a better version of it anyways.


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