Sony: Hack your console, and we’ll brick it.

Sony has warned PlayStation 3 users that they could lose their right to access their system should they be found running modified software or pirated videogames.

Following the release of the PS3 lv0 bootloader (a set of decryption keys that allows modded consoles to access the Playstation Network without detection), Sony issued the following statement via the official Playstation website:

Violation of the System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation®3 system invalidates the consumer’s right to access that system. Consumers running unauthorized or pirated software may have their access to the PlayStation®Network and access to Sony Entertainment Network services through PlayStation®3 system terminated permanently. To avoid permanent termination, consumers must immediately cease using and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation®3 systems.”

The short version is: Run a hack and we’ll stop your console from working. Whether Sony plan on turning off player’s consoles remains to be seen. Sony has however, offered users a chance to not suffer the consequences:

To avoid permanent termination, consumers must immediately cease using and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation®3 systems.”

Is Sony right to lock owners out of their systems? Well, that depends on who you listen to. Some say that the PlayStation License Agreement states that the console becomes property of the owner but the software does not; while others argue none of it is owned by the consumer.

It’s all a bit messy.

From a retail standpoint, the console should remain the property of whoever purchased it; otherwise we the consumer are only renting it and in theory, could claim a refund at any given point in time. The software however (in this case the PSN) isn’t ours. We pay for the Playstation Network separately to the console, and it’s a service designed outside of the console. Thus, it remains the property of Sony.

Confused yet?

At the end of the day, it comes down to do you want to risk a ban or worse, lose the ability to play your PS3, for the sake of piracy? Personally, there’s no reason to mod your PS3 unless it’s for playing copied games. Now I know there’s going to be that one guy who argues homebrew, which admittedly is normally me, but the homebrew on PS3 isn’t anything spectacular. Sure, the PSP was a fantastic bit of kit when it came to homebrew, but the PS3 simply isn’t. There’s a handful of generic emulators, some half-designed games, the obligatory copy of DOOM that has to be present in every homebrew collection, and a few woeful apps; most of which are for piracy.

So is it worth modding the PS3 for homebrew? Nope. Is it worth modding the PS3 for piracy? Perhaps, but if you do, then I’ve no sympathy if you get your console bricked by Sony.

[This article was originally published on Videogames Interactive. It is reproduced here with permission]

Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland

Born in Cyrodiil but raised in Ferelden, more commonly known as England. Wesley Copeland is a passionate writer with more opinions than an ostrich.
Wesley Copeland

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  • hi there, my PSN account has been banned since 27/11/2013. PSN UK says i am using pirated software and/or games wich is utter bulls***. how does one go about doing something like this. my console has never been tampered with let alone never downloaded anything else beside from the PLAYSTATION STORE.

  • Hi Deon; there’s not much that we can recommend beyond contacting Sony Customer Support.