It looks like a storm is coming to the world of the Sony PlayStation 3, as hackers claim to have discovered the console's master key, meaning that given the right implementation, anybody could run any kind of unsigned code they wanted. While lip service is being given to homebrew applications and the return of Linux capability and other useful, altruistic things, I'm sure we all know where this is going to lead immediately if not sooner: game piracy and cheating. This is why we can't have nice things! Engadget has the story:
So far, the team hasn't provided any proof that the deed's been done, but they have provided quite an extensive explanation of how they managed the feat: apparently, Sony didn't bother generating any random numbers to secure the blasted thing. (We don't really know how it works, but we have it on good authority that dead cryptography professors are rapidly spinning in their graves.) The group intends to generate a proof-of-concept video tomorrow, and release the tools sometime next month, which they claim should eventually enable the installation of Linux on every PS3 ever sold.
I'm really hoping that this is all just overconfident bluster and that things aren't really as bad as they seem here. Now people will say that they have the right to do whatever they want with their consoles in regards to hacking and cracking, and I'm certainly not going to argue with that. What I do take issue with are the actions of the software pirates dampening my enjoyment of the PS3 experience. This security issue completely opens the door to cheating at online games at a widescale level as hacked games are patched with all sorts of tricks that darken the multiplayer experience. Moreover, with the ability to play freely downloaded games poised to become simpler, I do not want developers and publishers to flee the PS3 platform because those who feel entitled to the latest and greatest titles for free make creating games for the console unprofitable (we've already seen that happen to the PlayStation Portable). Do what you want with your own console in your own home, but the moment you have a negative impact on my gaming experience, I start getting angry. I have a feeling that I'm not alone.