The "piracy-proof" console may not be so piracy-proof anymore.
Think back to last December, when it was revealed that Modern Warfare 2 was the most-pirated game of 2009. The list of the most-pirated games included titles from the Xbox 360, PC and Wii ... but none from the PS3. Why was that? Did people just not care enough to pirate Uncharted 2? No, actually - for most of its lifetime, the PS3's unique hardware and software made it essentially immune to piracy.
That may have changed.
According to Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, a company of "unknown origin" has created something it calls PSJailbreak - a combination of hardware (a USB dongle) and software that allows the PS3 to run unauthorized software. This may include home-brew games, but we all know what it'll usually be used for.
The company, which seems to be based in Hong Kong, sent samples of its PSJailbreak to popular modchip dealers, one of whom posted a video of the device in action to YouTube.
Examining the videos, the tech gurus at Digital Foundry have guessed that if the device genuinely does work - and isn't just the latest in a long string of hoaxes - it works by using the USB dongle to mimic debug equipment actually used by Sony to test production PS3s.
If true, this is disturbing news for Sony, which has been able to point to the piracy-free nature of the PS3 as one of the benefits for developers to make games for its platform. Even worse, this method of piracy doesn't seem to require any hardware modifications (like needing to "modchip" your Xbox 360 or Wii) - just software and the USB dongle. Of course, it could still be a very clever hoax, and installing strange software on your PS3 is never a very smart idea.
Pirates and mod chippers are notoriously resourceful people. If only they'd put that resourcefulness towards something actually useful for a change, like figuring out how to punch people in the face via Xbox Live and PSN.
Source: Digital Foundry