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What The PS3 Master Key Hack Means To You

PS3 SlimNow that the Sony PlayStation 3's private cryptography key is running wild out in the open, we can expect to see all kinds of hacks and cracks for the system (in fact, custom firmware is already out there).  Linux on the PS3!  Media center apps!  Homebrew games!  The sky is made of diamonds, right?  Wrong.  The long-term ramifications of this security breach go way beyond filling in the hole left behind when OtherOS was removed.  I know that we've had this conversation before, but if you're still on the fence about why this issue is a problem for us all, then GamesRadar breaks down the key points of the hack step by step and paints a grim future. 

Sure, it's easy to argue the case for hacking a console in this way. Firstly comes the "we're only getting back what we originally paid for" argument. Sony's decision to remove the 'Other OS' option from PS3 via a firmware upgrade (downgrade?) annoyed a lot of people. Meiks is the only member of the GR UK team to have installed Linux on his PS3 and he rather bluntly describes it as 'shit'. It didn't use all the PS3's processors, ran like a 7-year-old PC and could barely stream an SD episode of Lost without breaking. As a result, very, very few people used it. But it sure gave people a reason to get angry when it was taken away, and a reason to start hacking.

The fourth argument is possibly the most stupid. "Sony's making money on every PS3 they sell, so if more people are buying full-price consoles to play the free games, everyone's a winner". Wrong. PSP may well have sold millions of units to people who want it to play old SNES games on the train, but this kind of market is not sustainable. Wonder why PSP's software line-up is so poor? Sales just aren't high enough to encourage devs to release their premium fare. And look at Nintendo DS' crash in software sales thanks to that damned R4 card. Game piracy will not make Sony happy. It's extremely selfish, highly illegal and no good for anyone in the long run.

While I know there will be some positive, useful homebrew applications created for the PS3, the incoming rush of the dark side is going to drown out those beneficial hacks.  I know that plenty of you out there are moral, upstanding people who would never pirate a PS3 game, but you really are the minority.  You can't swing a wireless DualShock 3 controller around by the cord it doesn't have and not slam into someone on an Internet forum begging for or bragging about the tools needed to play the latest Call of Duty or Halo title without paying for it.  Sad to say, greed and selfishness outnumber altruism and class.  I wish I could paint a brighter picture here, but I just don't see how I can.