Console Hacking

Several news outlets are reporting that the PS3 has been compromised. What strikes me as odd is that most of the time, the people doing the hacking have no interest in piracy (at least, that's their claim). Instead, their motives seem to be towards allowing home-brew app creation. This is a noble goal, and one that will surely become more and more popular, as we start moving away from passive entertainment towards a more participatory model.

My question is this: Why do console manufacturers still struggle to prevent home-brew projects? The time spent trying to prevent these sorts of exploits must be incredible, and so far, none of them have succeeded.

Personally, I'd love a console that allowed me to run whatever code I want on it - imagine the uses! MythTV running on an XBox? Awesome!


RC said...

Is it not because the longevity of the business is not derived from the sale of the console itself any more than Epson survive from the sale of printers rather than ink.

Sony et al need constant income to survive and that is derived from licensing. Payments from the games makers to run their code on the console of choice.

If the consoles are locked down then the value of those licenses is high. Universally unlocked and those licenses are worthless thus creating a world where consoles are created for use with any old software but then quickly abandoned by the manufacturer as they need to end of life it and move on to another shinier version in order to bring in new revenue.

Thomi Richards said...

But licensing and console locking are not the same thing.

Sony allowed users to run Linux on the PS3 for many years. It was only after they removed the option that people got angry enough to hack their security system.

I can't see any reason why a console can't be locked down for commercial titles, yet open to home-brew development. If you believe that creating a totally secure hardware platform is impossible (which, based on the evidence so far, it seems to be), surely the best way for piracy is to remove the motivation to crack the limited security you have in place?

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