It's times like this, as we dissect failures in digital entertainment technology, when we have to ask the question: Is it too soon to blame digital rights management?
Two console generations ago, problems like this would have been inconceivable, or at least wouldn't have had the kind of domino effect they do today. The current PlayStation bug (which is believed to be due to the inclusion of trophies in firmware v2.40) affected games, rented movies, and access to both Netflix streaming and the company's online storefront--all things that continue to work without issue for users of the newer PS3 Slim hardware. You'd simply never get this kind of problem back when the only thing you could use your system for was to play something off a disc or a cartridge.
Sony's PlayStation Network is on the fritz. Microsoft's Xbox Live network has had its problems. And there was that one Wii system software update that was turning consoles into pretty looking paperweights.
Though the main problem is less about progress and more about the security countermeasures put into place to keep consoles or users from doing something they shouldn't. Using digital rights management has become one of the easiest ways to do this, though it can also make things more difficult for the consumer.
And while DRM may not end up being the culprit in Sony's snafu, the situation is a startling reminder of how little control we have over these little boxes that are sitting in our living rooms. That's by design though. All three of the big console makers (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) use various types of security to make sure people do not run downloadable games or content that they have not purchased. Here's a brief rundown of how they work:… Read more