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Bug PlayStation (Games) Sony Upgrades Games

Sony Update Bricks Playstations 510

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the when-upgrades-are-downgrades dept.
Stoobalou writes "A controversial update which was seeded by Sony in order to remove the ability to run Linux on the Playstation 3 games console has caused a storm of complaints. The 3.21 firmware upgrade, which removes the security hole provided by the 'Install Other OS' widget used by lots of educational institutions and hackers alike, also removes the console's ability to play games... turning it into a very expensive doorstop."
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Sony Update Bricks Playstations

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  • by p1r4t3 (1139441) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:07AM (#31760072) Homepage
    Ever since the update I've had issues with games freezing up on me. I haven't noticed any real slow down of the net connection or any issues with PSN. But if this is a ploy by Sony to get me to give up my thick PS3 that has the ability to play PS2 games then they better add that functionality to the slim PS3 because I'm not about to go out and buy 2 consoles just to have the same functionality as the one I have now.
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:10AM (#31760106) Homepage Journal

    I would wager that the false positive reports balance with the false negatives. (ie, your trolls vs the unreported angry people)

  • Am I the only one? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:10AM (#31760108) Homepage
    Am I the only one who has not had a single issue with my fat PS3? No clock problem, no update / bricking problem, no connectivity problem.

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact the I never played around with "install other OS", never opened the hood to replace the hard drive, never tried to jailbreak it...

    Still, I think it's sad that Sony is trying to prevent power users to exploit the full potential of this otherwise marvelous piece of technology!
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:21AM (#31760214) Journal

    Yes. In addition to a PS3, X360, and Wii there's also the iPhone and iPad that can be bricked via forced updates. Also certain DVRs and Bluray/HDDVD gadgets. I've also heard complaints about DTVpals being bricked by the Dish Company's updates.

    And my response?

    - Call Sony to demand restitution for the PS3 they broke.
    - Wait.
    - If no response to repair or replace the broken PS3, then I'd buy a new PS3 from some store (like amazon or walmart), put the bricked one inside the box, then return it as defective ("It just won't turn on. No I don't want an exchange; I want a refund."). The store would eventually return it to Sony who would have to deal with the property THEY destroyed.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:22AM (#31760234)

    The problem is that Sony cares way more about locking down and commoditizing their media content with DRM and "security meseasures" than they do about their customers (one of the inherent problems of having a hardware maker who is also a media producer). They're not alone on that (MS and Nintendo are hardly open themselves), but they do seem much more obsessed about it than just about anyone else--short of maybe Apple.

    The problem is that Sony doesn't seem to be thinking much about the fact that their media is only worth something in the first place BECAUSE of their customers. And, if they're not careful, they could very easily lose their balance and fall. After all, the perfect way to produce a piracy-proof blu-ray of a movie or videogame is to simply release it as a blank disc. But no one is going to buy it then, are they?

  • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:22AM (#31760238)

    TFA didn't dwell on the "removes other OS" feature - that was already well known.

    TFA explained that the update tended to stop the affected units from doing anything useful - eg. playing games, connecting to the Internet. Which I'm sure does have the side effect that installing an alternate OS will no longer work, but I don't think this is quite how most people interpreted Sony's original description.

  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:24AM (#31760256) Journal

    In this respect, even Microsoft does a better job. They have to update a more sophisticated operating system that runs on a HUGE variety of systems and processors. Sony knows 100% the exact software and hardware they are updating on, and 100% of the software that will run on the console, yet they can't manage an update without borking somebody's box. If they worried more about quality than piracy or someone running linux on their hardware, they might actually be able to produce a decent product some day.

  • by brainiac ghost1991 (853936) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:27AM (#31760280)
    Well, then if you don't do the update they've removed another major feature (PSN connectivity)
  • by Duradin (1261418) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:31AM (#31760324)

    It is archaic definition bricked or "inconvenient to repair" bricked, as is the new usage.

    Given that "literally" is the new figuratively it's hard to tell what people mean these days.

  • by marcansoft (727665) <hector.marcansoft@com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:35AM (#31760360) Homepage

    No, there are two words to explain that: Other OS. Check out this table [marcansoft.com] (slightly outdated, it's a year old or so) by console hacker Michael Steil (or watch him talk about it on any of his talks). Every console post-PS2 was hacked for homebrew, and then those hacks were abused for piracy. The PS3 comes with homebrew, therefore there is little motivation to crack the native system. Pro-piracy people are rarely good hackers, and need homebrew to piggyback on. In fact, the reason the PS3 was recently attacked was neither homebrew nor piracy; instead, geohot attacked it solely as an ego boost and to get media coverage (note how he hasn't even tried to develop a useful application for his exploit, such as GPU access under Linux).

    Blu-ray is a minor inconvenience. There are a myriad potential ways of copying PS3 games that don't involve blu-ray discs.

    Sony are shooting themselves in the foot by removing Other OS, and pissing off legitimate customers on top of it.

  • by Mad Leper (670146) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:44AM (#31760466)

    In either case it's the PS3 owner that has to make that decision, keep the OtherOS functionality or use it for PSN/Games.

    Technically the PS3 still does everything it could do before the update, just not at the same time.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:48AM (#31760510) Journal

    >>>That's fraud

    Yes it IS fraud for Sony (or any other company) to destroy people's personal property. As I said I would follow proper procedure and give Sony an opportunity to do the right thing (repair/replace), but if they don't I will not just sit on the property THEY destroyed and do nothing.

    I'm tired of corporations running over citizens as if they were smashed squirrels on the road to wealth. Oh and also dipping into taxpayer wallets by giving themselves free handouts (Congressional bills). I will do what I feel is necessary to protect myself from loss.

  • by david_thornley (598059) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:56AM (#31760620)

    Technically, if I give you the choice of being shot in the left or right kneecap, you can walk with either leg, just not at the same time. I'd still get arrested and prosecuted, though.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gm a i l .com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:59AM (#31760666) Journal

    I was on the verge of buying a used fat hardware-emu PS3 before this stupid "update" came out. Now those old ones are going to be even harder to find and more expensive.

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @09:13AM (#31760818)

    It's the same reason there as very little DVD movie piracy in the mid-late 90's (very few people had burners and security cracks yet).

    Doing a straight copy of a DVD doesn't require cracking CSS, you just copy the contents of the disc. The main thing that held DVD piracy back in the mid-late 90's was bandwidth and storage. While most people here in scandinavia would prefer 700 or 1400 MiB rips at the time we still hadn't convinced the average american "w4r3z d00d" that 250-300 MiB wasn't good enough for a full length movie...

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @09:25AM (#31760970)

    Except that Microsoft doesn't get any boost from hardware sales. They actually make MORE if they sell the OS separate from the hardware. It's in their best interests to keep Windows working on any POS computer people have.

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @09:34AM (#31761122)

    Personally, when I went to buy a console, I decided to buy the console that actually had games I was interested in purchasing. To date, I own about a dozen 360 games, and have rented even more. However, I own about TWO dozen Wii games, and rented more. I don't own a PS3, since the majority of games are cross-platform, and those that aren't have simply failed to pique my interest in any significant way. The first game to come close was Heavy Rain, but reviews cooled me towards it.

    However, my decision was based on actual personal preferences for available software. No pedagogical concerns, no proselytizing, nothing like that.

    In my decision-making process, I've noted that about the only system owners that aren't rabid fanboy assholes are Wii owners, or multi-system owners. PS3 people are capable of being just as fucktarded as 360 people. It's just there's fewer of them overall, so there's fewer assholes, even though proportionally, they're the same.

  • by RMH101 (636144) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @09:53AM (#31761408)
    No it isn't. The bulk of their revenue doesn't come from people buying retail copies of the OS and upgrading, it comes from deals with the PC manufacturers to supply new machines with the latest OS preinstalled. Hence bloating is in their interest and the hardware manufacturer's interest as it sells machines. A surprising small percentage of people ever upgrade their OS themselves...
  • by marcansoft (727665) <hector.marcansoft@com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:04AM (#31761576) Homepage

    And even hen the hack seems to be anything but trivial. Lots of hardware modification needed to crack open it's armor.

    To you, it may seem complicated. To me, injecting a single glitch pulse into a RAM line such that sometimes you get lucky and corrupt the right write is a shotgun-style trivial hardware glitch attack. Geohot's hack, hardware-wise, is one of the simplest out there.

  • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:20AM (#31761772) Homepage Journal

    Honestly. It's their hardware.

    Look I understand that you "thought" you became the owner when you forked over the cash. But that's not how corporate America works these days. For a given amount of green, you get to place a Sony-owned piece of hardware in your living room, and play it until Sony decides it's obsolete. You then get to put it in the garbage, give Sony some more money, and replace it with another box with even less features. And to top it off, you rebuy all of the games you liked to play.

    I know it sounds cynical, but this is how the console market works. Unless you're using FOSS on open hardware, you don't really own it anymore. There are EULAs to contend with, the DMCA and DRM, and the ever-increasing term of copyright.

    If you don't want the pitfalls of proprietary hardware, don't buy it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:44AM (#31762074)

    Hardly unrelated. These box shifting retailers make their money by selling these crippled products, so penalising them is understandable.

    Besides, if you believe what greedy industrialists call the free market, then wasting the time and money of the retailers will mean they will think twice about retailing crippled shite in the future. If Sony can't get their PS4 (for example) into some shops, maybe they will think twice about the DRM.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:34AM (#31762832)

    And even hen the hack seems to be anything but trivial. Lots of hardware modification needed to crack open it's armor.

    To you, it may seem complicated. To me, injecting a single glitch pulse into a RAM line such that sometimes you get lucky and corrupt the right write is a shotgun-style trivial hardware glitch attack. Geohot's hack, hardware-wise, is one of the simplest out there.

    So simple ... yet no-one did it until Geohot.

    Hindsight always makes difficult things seem trivial.

  • by Ralish (775196) <ralishNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:00PM (#31763282)

    So, to conclude and better explain things: the PS3 avoided commercial drivechips by having good drive security (something sorely lacking on other consoles), and avoided noncommercial software piracy by removing the incentive for homebrewers to hack the system (which will inevitably happen otherwise, as has been proven time and time again).

    This conclusion surprises me a little, as my understanding was that while the OtherOS feature would permit alternative operating systems to install and run (primarily Linux), aspects of the hardware would be restricted, most notably, the RSX, which I'm told is essentially the PS3 GPU. This would seem to me to be a fairly significant handicap? Even if not a major handicap, most hackers I know (and the hacker mentality itself) would find the notion of having a piece of hardware which you can only partially utilise completely offensive, due to "x" entity trying to keep you in a virtual "walled garden" so that the full potential of the device remains locked.

    I guess I'm just surprised that even the fact that they allow you to install an alternative OS would placate hackers and the homebrew scene (and of course, the overlap). Because really, while it's a nice gesture, and definitely a major positive versus the competition (until now), it's still limited in that the rules of the game on its usage and capabilities are dictated by Sony, as they're now demonstrating by taking the capability away, and this just wouldn't be good enough for most.

    My impression has always been that the lack of any major hacks of the PS3 hardware has been a combination of good security (the firmware doesn't seem to have any obvious exploits and especially the BD-ROM drive security, as you discussed above), and also, just general disinterest. The latter might be a combination of expensive hardware, but also the architecture of the system itself is quite unique and not necessarily accessible to others. The Xbox was something of a homebrew dream due to both how easy it was to hack through a modchip and how easy it was to code for, in that the architecture was so familiar, just an x86 box in a console case. I'm just not entirely convinced that the OtherOS is the primary reason for the PS3's lack of hacks, but rather, security a notch above the competition and lack of interest.

    Please, correct me if I'm completely wrong, as I am interested in how the PS3 fits in with the other consoles from a security/homebrew perspective.

  • by marcansoft (727665) <hector.marcansoft@com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:23PM (#31763680) Homepage

    I think you have some valid points; the PS3 is probably less popular in general, and its security architecture has probably been overstated, which would discourage hackers.

    My feeling is that the RSX limitation, while certainly an annoyance for Linux users, just isn't enough to motivate most people into actually breaking the system. Even for those that are, it significantly changes the attack front. A console with no "homebrew mode" needs to be attacked by breaking into the game-mode software, which is what the manufacturer wants to avoid. The PS3, on the other hand, can have small holes poked in the hypervisor without compromising GameOS. This already happened once: a bug was found that enabled the use of the RSX in an older firmware by exploiting some bugs in the hypervisor interface (without actually breaking into it). Sony patched it later.

    It's worth noting that this RSX limitation is really the only significant hardware limitation for the PS3 in Other OS. Sure, some other peripherals are virtualized, but you don't really lose any functionality from that. You get access to the full system mode of the PowerPC, and you get access to 6 SPEs which is pretty good.

    My personal feeling towards the PS3 (pre-Slim), and I suspect that of many other hackers, was "Meh. No RSX, annoying, but we've got Linux which is pretty good. Maybe we can do some neat tricks with the SPEs". Even if the notion of a walled garden goes against the spirit of controlling your own hardware, it's still so much better than the competition (the iPhone's tightly controlled App Store, the 360's tightly controlled XNA stuff, or the total lack of any reasonable indie game option for the Wii) that it means you tend to go for the other targets. The Wii is particularly bad; they won't let you get an SDK license unless you meet ridiculously high standards - WiiWare is really just a small game option for medium to large game studios, not for small indie operations. The bureaucracy is too large.

    I wouldn't want to live in a world where we can't control any of our devices, but I think having "walled gardens" on a few (e.g. mainstream game consoles) is tolerable. I understand the manufacturers' point of view, and why they depend on some software security in order to avoid piracy. Sure, I'd prefer totally open systems, but having some officially-supported homebrew infrastructure still beats having nothing by a large margin.

  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:08PM (#31764216)

    Or, instead of committing fraud, and hurting your local retailer in the process for something that is not their fault,
    you could, you know.. Take Sony to Small claims court. This is exactly the kind of stuff that Small Claims court is made for. Sue them for the cost of a new device, plus filing fees.

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:31PM (#31764536) Journal

    Where did I fail as a father?

    Taking your son to CompUSA...or a whorehouse.

    Taking your son to a lousy CompUSA... instead of to a good whorehouse. The boy should learn useful skills, not just tech stuff.

  • by TOGSolid (1412915) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @02:09PM (#31765008)
    Ahhh Linux. Old and outdated computer that you don't want to part with? Linux box!
    Kid fucked up and bought a Mac and learned to hate it in a hurry? Linux box!
    Bricked your Windows PC? Linux box!
    Found out that your PS3 isn't as awesome as you originally thought it would be? Linux box!

    Linux, making useless computers not suck since 1991.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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