The PlayStation 3. For a long time, it was a rather well-protected machine, and it wasn’t until early this year that George Hotz finally managed to crack the thing wide open. In essence, it was now possible to jailbreak the PlayStation 3 like you would jailbreak your iPhone, but of course, Sony wasn’t pleased. With the recent firmware update, v3.50, Sony went from surgical precision to the battle axe – they blocked all non-Sony
USB devices controllers (and a lot of PS2 > PS3 controller adapters) from working.
Sony is pretty much being thrown into every corner of the ring during its fight with the jailbreak community. The PlayStation 3 has been hacked using any imaginable USB peripheral; you can jailbreak it using an iPod, Pandora, Dingoo, and, as a final uppercut in Sony’s face, using its very own PlayStation 3 controller.
While that last one requires a little soldering, it’s still pretty awesome. Practical? No. Symbolic value? High. Sadly, it’s as of yet unclear whether or not the controller hack is blocked by version 3.50 of the firmware, but if it isn’t, Sony might be in for a bit of trouble since blocking its own controller from working would be, uh, unfortunate.
Part of the problem lies with Sony itself. Microsoft has been much more accommodating to independent developers with the Xbox360 and XNA, while all Sony had to offer was a limited way of running Linux – a feature it removed from all PlayStation models earlier this year.
While Sony is busy fighting jailbreakers and removing genuine features in the process, Microsoft is launching a brand new Xbox system software update (later this year) with a new user interface, and a completely new audio codec and infrastructure for much clearer Xbox Live chat. In the meantime, Sony still hasn’t introduced cross-game chat.
Way to listen to your users, Sony. Keep it up. There’s a reason your PS3 has been number three consistently.