Sony is apparently taking its fight against PS3 jailbreaks a step beyond court injunctions with a new firmware update that blocks hacks meant to let users play pirated games on the system.
System software update 3.42, made available for download Monday, contains features that PS3 owners report patch the exploit used for PS JailBreak, a USB dongle that would allow PlayStation 3 owners to dump borrowed games onto the system's hard drive. It's probably the most publicized of the hacks; PSGroove, open-source code that allows homemade games to be played on the console, is also reportedly impacted by the firmware update.
Sony, for its part, made just a brief statement on its PlayStation blog, calling the update "minor" and noting that it includes unspecified "additional security features." The update is mandatory for those wanting to access PlayStation Network features.
Even though Sony wouldn't confirm whether the v3.42 update disables the functionality of the PS Jailbreak, visitors to the PlayStation blog's message boards were quick to make the connection. "I think we all know what this update is really for," one wrote.
Wrote another: "Oh, come now. At least be honest about the update. We all know it's the first of an expected hundred-plus firmware updates to block the Jailbreak. Now you'll be doing these every day like with the PSP instead of actually taking the time to give us updates we actually need or working on making the system/service better."
Other users applauded the update.
"Finally...no more jailbreaking from the low-life basement dweller, wrote one poster. "Thank you Sony for this update and keeping the integrity of the system." Said another: "I hope this fixes those greedy buggers for good. I'll support PlayStation by buying my games thank you very much! Developers work hard on their games."
In a statement, Sony said: "Since this is an overall security-related issue, we will not be providing further commentary with regards to this case; however, as we always have we will continue to take necessary actions from both hardware and software to protect the intellectual property of the content offered on the PS3 system." Last month, following its successful move to halt sales of PS Jailbreak in Australia, the company made the same statement.
Sony also filed suit in California last week against online retailer Zoomba, which was attempting to sell the PS Jailbreak.
As for PSGroove, Mathieu Hervais, one of the developers, told the BBC News that it was "safer not to update" to the new firmware if users want to continue employing the hacks.