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Will the PSP-3000 Defeat Homebrew?


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313w ago - Unauthorized hacking of the PSP has been a serious problem for Sony ever since enterprising hackers managed to run unsigned code on the PSP-1000 back in 2005. The ability to revert to an unprotected version of the firmware, and later the ability to install completely custom pirate firmware has enabled some owners to play pirated PSP games downloaded from the Internet.

By some accounts, developers like Ready at Dawn and Capcom have lost more than 50% of their prospective revenues to software piracy. One estimate has software producers losing more than $4 million per week to piracy. In June, SCEE President David Reeves stated that "There is a piracy problem on the PSP. We know about it, we know how it's done. It sometimes fuels the growth of hardware sales, but on balance we are not happy about it."

Clearly, defeating piracy is one of the biggest concerns facing designers at Sony. It appears that the company may be planning to take some drastic steps to deter homebrew on the device with the release of the new PSP-3000 model, but like always, the company remains very secretive about its plans.

The first clue that they have something up their sleeve is the fact that the company recently recalled the extended-life battery peripheral from stores, even though there were no signs that it was selling poorly. The reason for the cancellation is likely the fact that hackers had found a way to create a Pandora battery using an ordinary Sony battery like the one sold as an accessory. Pandora batteries allow hackers and pirates complete access to the PSP firmware, allowing them to override official protections against piracy.

While the PSP-3000 is confirmed to make a small number of great changes to the overall design of the handheld, we suspect that some of the biggest changes will be taking place under the hood, to fight homebrew hackers. The device will probably come equipped with a new battery pack and reboot system that renders the previous "Pandora" attack obsolete. It will also likely contain hardware changes intended to further dissuade reverse-engineering of the console. We suspect that when the PSP-3000 rolls out in October, it will come equipped with a brand new firmware (version 5.0?) containing some aggressive anti-piracy measures.

Will these changes be enough to permanently put a stop to piracy? Unfortunately, this is doubtful. Hackers have shown a great deal of enthusiasm for the device, using it to run gray-area code like emulators and chat clients, but also to pirate software. There is a vibrant and extremely skilled community of hackers poised to tear apart whatever hardware protections Sony decides to implement with the new device.

It is almost certainly a matter of time until a hacker like Dark Alex manages to penetrate the secrets of the new PSP-3000. Also, since any new firmware must be backwards-compatible with the PSP Slim and even the PSP-1000, Sony designers are limited in the kinds of protection that they can implement, at least on the software side.



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Comments 7 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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Zapek's Avatar
#7 - Zapek - 312w ago
Even hardware security is hackable - it's only a matter of time before someone hacks it. And when a company makes such a hype about their new security hackers get interested and those new "unhackable" security gets hacked even faster.

mattfish's Avatar
#6 - mattfish - 312w ago
As mentioned in the above posts. Anything is hackable. I would think that once the PSP3000 is released, Dark Alex will work on the firmware and release a custom firmware.

jonanon123's Avatar
#5 - jonanon123 - 312w ago
I just got my psp-2000 6 months back and Sony released the 3000. Quite regretful. Should have waited a bit longer. Anyway, nothing is hack-proof.

vegita8888's Avatar
#4 - vegita8888 - 312w ago
Anything is hackable as long as there are skilled people out there with new ideas. Look at Dark Alex. He has the brains and the skill and did something great. It's only a matter of time before they crack the 3000. I mean look how long it took for DA to crack GTA LCS but once he did everything snowballed from there.

H4rdWear's Avatar
#3 - H4rdWear - 313w ago
In all honesty if they opened up the PSP from the beginning to allow homebrew to run in a protected environment we wouldent have this problem.. lets play games AND be allowed to rum emulators... if sony would have put $$ into offering these older games or bought an arcade full of games we could put on the psp we would buy them.. why do they have to concoct lies about loosing revenue!

maybe they should worry about loosing opportunity to listen to their damn customers once in a while! if they offered downloadable games like xmen vs capcom for lets say 4.99 how many do you think they would sell..?? or offer bundles of games for 19.99 id buy em so for now ill play king of fighters ite "wrong" way until they take their heads out of their money filled donkeys and make content im willing to pay for..

thats why it was hacked, we were tired of getting devices that limited what we could do with them! homebrew does not revenue loss but sponsored homebrew does make the wallet grow fatter! piece

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