updated 01:10 pm EST, Wed February 16, 2011
Sony says PS3 hacks used only for cheats, piracy
Sony today put out its first official statement on PS3 jailbreaking after months of official silence. The company insisted that it was used primarily for "unauthorized or pirated software" and would crack down on bootleg users. Anyone caught using a physical tool like PS Jailbreak or a software hack like the Geohot or fail0verflow tricks will face a permanent ban from both PSN and Qriocity, Sony said.
The clampdown was "protecting our business and preserving the honest gameplay experiences that you expect and deserve," Social Media head Jeff Rubinstein said in spinning the story.
While cheating and piracy are common uses for the hacks, the remarks also deliberately sidestepped questions of using gray or unambiguously legal software on the PS3. Many of those using the hacks were attempting to restore the support for alternate operating systems that was taken away last year, when Sony justified it under the guise of security and no mention of piracy.
The company also sidestepped rights issues and the effects on legitimate users, such as repeated patching that delays the addition of useful features or the ambiguity of whether the hacks are true DMCA violations. Critics snooping in the latest firmware have also discovered rootkit-like code that could give not just Sony but others direct access to the system. While not confirmed, the approach may be used to ban users from PSN.
Sony has been engaged in a massive campaign to silence the existence of jailbreaks, suing George Hotz (Geohot) and threatening to sue any one who posts it. It has gone so far as to demand investigations into those commenting on private YouTube videos showing the jailbreak, even if they gave no signs of using the jailbreak code.