Rumor: Fearing ‘Mainstream’ Piracy, Sony Mulling Over ‘Hack-Proof’ PS3

Sony is said to be working on a “hack-proof” PS3. So says a rumor attributed to an anonymous source—the best kind of rumor, of course. The new PS3 would replace all currently existing PS3 SKUs. Whether or not the new SKU sees the light of day depends on how Sony’s lawsuit against George “Geohot” Hotz fares.

Why the need for a “hack-proof” PS3 now, so many years into the system’s life? The PS3 was, for all intents and purposes, hack-proof until late last year, when “hackers” figured out how run unsigned code on the system. That code could be pirated games, yes, but it could also be legitimately developed, third-party applications. Homebrew, they call it. Emulators and the like. Let’s not forget that Sony unilaterally removed support for Linux early last year, and that removal was cited as one of the main motivations for the “hacker” community to figure out how the PS3 ticks.

But PS3 piracy didn’t’ really catch Sony’s eye until Killzone 3 leaked a few weeks ago. (The game, Sony’s most high-profile launch in recent months, was officially released two days ago.) The 40GB package can be found all over the Internet, the only thing standing between a jailbroken PS3 and the game being several hours of downloading. (I’m all but certain you could visit the local store and pick up the game in less time than it would take to download the game.) It was this leak that spurred Sony into action, convincing them that PS3 piracy was in danger of becoming “mainstream.” Crysis 2, anyone?

Exactly how Sony would make this new PS3 “hack-proof” is anyone’s guess. The fact is there’s no such thing on this planet as “hack-proof,” but that’s not to say Sony couldn’t implement new security measures that would take a long time to circumvent. Let’s not forget that it took nearly four years for the PS3 to be cracked. At the same time, any new “hack-proof” PS3 would naturally attract plenty of attention, so who knows how long it would remain “hack-proof”?

Sony’s inflexibility is hurting itself here. How hard would it be to restore the ability to run Linux, thereby deflating a huge part of the community’s argument for being able to jailbreak the PS3?

Sony can say, “Look, we’ve given your Linux back. Sorry we took it away in the first place. Can you please stop now?” Then the onus would be on the community, and Sony can more definitively portray subsequent jailbreaking as being purely motivated by piracy.

The “hack-proof” PS3 would come with a 300GB hard drive—hope you plan on subscribing to PlayStation Plus, otherwise that’s an awful lot of storage space for a somewhat limited selection of content—and would retail for £186.99, or $300 at current exchange rates.