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Sony Bug Entertainment Games

Latest PS3 Firmware Update Requires Hard Disk Wipe to Fix 193

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the entire-qa-department-is-fired dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier today Sony launched firmware V2.40 for the PS3 which is mandatory for online play. To my horror after installing the update my console wouldn't boot, and this appears to be a not uncommon problem affecting all ages and models of PS3s. Although there is rampant fanboy denial over at the official Playstation forums, the Kotaku article details the issue and has a suggested solution if you don't mind yanking your PS3's hard drive."
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Latest PS3 Firmware Update Requires Hard Disk Wipe to Fix

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  • by maniac/dev/null (170211) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:00PM (#24036967) Homepage

    Yikes. With consoles becoming more complex and more like computers with each generation, it looks like issues like this will become all too common. How long before someone brings a PS3 backup utility to market?

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:02PM (#24036991)
    The bad part is, so much of the things fall under copyrighted code and so it would be like that Atari flash cart thing, it would be illegal to make your own backups. That, is scary. Game console makers constantly forcing you with useless firmware upgrades that can destroy your machine and not only do you have to buy a new one, you don't have your data.
  • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:08PM (#24037085)
    Well, in the game console world firmware == operating system. So it is basically the PS3's OS. And running games in an OS above the firmware would be too slow to run most of them at top speed and then we get back into the horrible world of upgrades etc. That has made many computer gamers switch back to consoles.
  • by compro01 (777531) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:13PM (#24037137)

    PS3 sucks.
    Xbox 360 sucks.
    Wii sucks slightly less, but sucks in several other ways, so it still sucks.

  • by Aphoxema (1088507) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:26PM (#24037287) Homepage Journal

    For a number of reasons, these operating systems are treated like firmware because they're embedded into a single image onto an IC. It's not (safely) possible to reflash portions of the image on the fly so the whole thing is written over for each change.

    Some UMPC's and handheld media players and stuff, usually working off GNU/Linux, do this too, then save configuration and stuff on hard drives or other storage.

    This is generally cheaper, faster, and less vulnerable to user error.

  • by machxor (1226486) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:45PM (#24037503)

    Err, the PS3 ships with one built into its system. You can, at any point, have it do a backup to a memory card (assuming you have a large enough one) or a USB-connected external hard drive.

    Would mod you up if I could. It's true the PS3 has a backup/restore function build right into it. I've used this function to backup while trying to upgrade my hard drive. However I've never gotten the restore to work even though I've backed up to several external hard drives. Thinking about it now the hard drive I'm upgrading to came from a laptop and has a 4GB "recovery" partition that I wasn't able to remove in Windows. I assumed the PS3 would remove this partition and create one for the entire drive when I formatted it but honestly never checked. I'll have to plug it in when I get home and see how many/what size partitions it has on it.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bipbop (1144919) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:52PM (#24037589)
    However, it wouldn't be so bad to have a bootloader with an option to fall back to the last working version, even if this option is normally bypassed. I'm not familiar with the internals of the PS3, so I don't know how difficult this would be, but it wouldn't have been hard to design a console in which this was simple to do, so I can't see why they wouldn't have.
  • by Spades_ (175131) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:56PM (#24037639)

    The PS3 for the most part is a fine machine. To say they don't give a rat's ass about the consumers is a huge generalization. The whole 2.4 patch was due to feedback from PS3 users. Most large companies have problems with keeping high standards throughout. While Sony is not the same as they used to be, they still have good products out there.

    PS: I updated with no problems.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:58PM (#24037661)

    Or say a protocol was change. Do you know exactly was changed? Because, I'm calling bullshit on what you're saying. That is unless you can show your insider knowledge and prove to me that this change is unnecessarily preventing on-line play.

    What I was saying, is that unless something major was changed to naturally prevent online play like a server address change or a protocol change or whatever, Sony shouldn't prevent people from going online. I'm not saying anything of what Sony did.

    Yah, because fixing errors in the OS is a bad idea. Get a clue. We're *far* beyond the 8-bit NES that didn't have an OS. We're in an age where consoles are basically specialised computers. Computers that have an OS which is software, which will have bugs that need to be fixed from time to time. Computers that will have features added.

    But, prove to me that what Sony fixed was some major bug or a major feature. From my experience with my Wii (I don't have a PS3 though I have played one), they release patches for completely trivial things. Things that shouldn't have to risk bricking your console to update.

    But, that's ok. We don't need an evolving set of features or improvements on features or increased stability or... We'll just go back to the old model of a static stagnant system reducing the systems lifespan increasing costs for everyone.

    But like you said the consoles were becoming more like computers, so how long before I have to upgrade my RAM in a PS3 to play a new game? How long before they come out with different CPU models? This is killing what made console gaming popular in the first place the fact that you didn't need to upgrade the RAM to play a new game, the fact that everyone was equal whether you bought your console on launch or bought it near the end of the console's lifetime you could all play the same games, with the same performance. One of the reasons I don't play many computer games (aside from a few games of Wesnoth here and there and OpenArena) is that you have to upgrade your system every few months to play the newest games. With consoles the big point was you could play every game within the console's lifetime and that being about 5-7 years that was a lot of games. Now tell me, will a stock PC from 2001 play a game released in 2007? No, but a PS2 bought in 2000 will play the games made in 2006 the exact same as a PS2 bought in 2006 will play a game made in 2006. That is why console gaming has increased so much and computer gaming has declines.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:18PM (#24037825) Homepage

    it must be pretty bad for Sony to do that.

    No, not really. In fact, they should be praised for making this wise decision.

    Hey, no one or orginization is perfect. Shit happens due to human error. But at least their owning up to the problem. But if I were Sony, I would also send out a letter of apology to every PS3 user inbox. Also, I would ensure those effected would be taken care of at no cost to them and even have credit to download a game or two free for their troubles. That would be the proper PR move to make IMHO.

  • One reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by anti-human 1 (911677) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:22PM (#24037857) Journal
    Piracy. You can boot linux on the PS3, but the kernel will not get full hardware access. Allowing users to fall back to old firmware/OSes would probably lead to some people running legit to play online, then having a fallback disk image or whatever to play cracked ROMs. Not that linux relates to that ability; I really don't know.
  • Re:Which is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jfim (1167051) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:46PM (#24038075)

    And running games in an OS above the firmware would be too slow to run most of them at top speed[...]

    Wrong. The Xbox ran a modified version of Windows 2000 [wikipedia.org], for example. They're just not general purpose operating systems and contain only what's needed to make games. Otherwise, every single game would need to write filesystem access code and drivers to access the harddrive and whatnot.

  • Re:Rampant..? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @09:16PM (#24038779)

    'Rampant denial'? I updated last night and had no problems. I don't know that any of my PS3-owning friends had problems. I guess that makes us 'fanboys'.

    Are you intentionally being so dense?

    Saying you haven't had a problem does not make you a fanboy. Calling someone a liar because they say they have had a problem - and doing so vehemently - quite possibly does. Plenty of people do this in the linked forum thread.

  • Re:Rampant..? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @09:29PM (#24038871)

    'Rampant denial'? I updated last night and had no problems. I don't know that any of my PS3-owning friends had problems. I guess that makes us 'fanboys'.

    Nope that makes you and your friends part of the lucky majority that had no problems.

    HOWEVER

    Point #1 - Any firmware update has the potential to go wrong, especially when it's as large as the PS3 firmware is (130Mb) and can be downloaded over flaky links and installed from potentially faulty hard drives.

    Point #2 - Wiping the drive shouldn't be an issue if people are running backups like they should be. Sony *do* provide a backup utility for this. Don't read this as an excuse for Sony - if the firmware is flawed, they should have done more testing, but EVERYBODY should be backing up their data if they care about it!

    This is fanboyism at its finest, you blame the victims of sony for not backing up and then try to pass it off as a minor flaw that can happen to anyone so really we shouldn't be ragging on sony for this. This is a game console not a computer system, many users would barely be able to turn there machine on let alone understand the consequences of a firmware upgrade or why it is important to do a backup before it.

    If sony brick only .1% of consoles each firmware upgrade that is going to be in excess of 10,000 bricks an update, this is not even remotely acceptable especailly as these updates are expected a few times a year.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @10:23PM (#24039159)

    Mine too. Most of the people here don't even own a PS3.

  • Re:Rampant..? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tweaker_Phreaker (310297) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @10:53PM (#24039321)
    Point #1 - Ever heard of hash trees? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_tree [wikipedia.org]
    A .torrent file is mostly filled with such hash trees which allow your BT client to check the integrity of the files. Flaky links and faulty hard drives shouldn't be excuses after nearly 3 decades of hash trees' existence and a decade of them being used in mainstream p2p applications.

    Point #2 - The firmware should automatically make a backup of settings when doing an upgrade and user space data should NEVER be wiped.
  • Re:Rampant..? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by loraksus (171574) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:50PM (#24039577) Homepage

    Point #1 - Any firmware update has the potential to go wrong, especially when it's as large as the PS3 firmware is (130Mb) and can be downloaded over flaky links and installed from potentially faulty hard drives.

    Point #2 - Wiping the drive shouldn't be an issue if people are running backups like they should be. Sony *do* provide a backup utility for this. Don't read this as an excuse for Sony - if the firmware is flawed, they should have done more testing, but EVERYBODY should be backing up their data if they care about it!

    1. If you're saying Sony doesn't run an integrity check of the firmware before the upgrade process... That's just plain fucking retarded.

    2. Given the fact that people aren't given a choice whether to upgrade or not - and really have no clue as to when the next firmware will be pushed, I'm guessing it will be difficult to plan backups before firmware upgrades. Unless, of course, you're suggesting a daily backup for a console, in which case... That's just plain fucking retarded.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dutch Gun (899105) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @04:02AM (#24040585)

    The Xbox does just work. All I do is power it on...

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @12:13PM (#24045719)

    "but Xbox runs a custom operating system built from the ground up"

    Microsoft hasn't written anything "custom" "from the ground up" since the 1970's or so.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mxs (42717) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @11:36PM (#24054755)

    Actually, Sony does do small patches. Check the history for the frequency of these updates if you don't believe me. Or do you honestly believe that small changes to the system can't have disastrous effects?

    First of all, do you /KNOW/ that Sony is /just/ changing the parts it says it is changing ? No, you do not.

    Or say a protocol was change. Do you know exactly was changed? Because, I'm calling bullshit on what you're saying. That is unless you can show your insider knowledge and prove to me that this change is unnecessarily preventing on-line play.

    Ah, but it works the other way around too. Show me why that particular protocol change was necessary and no backward compatibility was possible. Hint : DRM updates do not count, I don't give a rats ass about it on my legally bought, legally used console with legally owned games that suddenly refuses to boot without a harddrive wipe.

    Yah, because fixing errors in the OS is a bad idea. Get a clue.

    You both have a point. Your opponent is not clueless.

    We're *far* beyond the 8-bit NES that didn't have an OS. We're in an age where consoles are basically specialised computers. Computers that have an OS which is software, which will have bugs that need to be fixed from time to time. Computers that will have features added.

    This depends ENTIRELY on your development model. You can do software updates without flashing the firmware. You can design the firmware with a lot more stringent test procedures, and possibly less to do, moving the patchables onto the harddisk.

    But, that's ok. We don't need an evolving set of features or improvements on features or increased stability or... We'll just go back to the old model of a static stagnant system reducing the systems lifespan increasing costs for everyone.

    Uhm. My NES still works fine. You sometimes need to clean the contacts, but that's a mechanical necessity. My SNES also works fine, as do my GameGear, my Master System, my Genesis, my Jaguar, my 32X, my C64, my Amiga 500, my Amiga 2000, my Amiga CD32, my Sony Playstation, my Dreamcast, and countless others of my consoles. Your "lifespan" argument is complete and utter bullshit.

    The primary reason for non-optional firmware upgrades required for online play is updates to the various DRM and copy protection schemes. Of course Sony knows this is a futile battle, and of course the ones being harmed by this policy are primarily paying customers who do not use pirated software -- see the case in point.

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