By now, you should all be well aware that we don’t really like piracy. So we don’t tend to cover much of the custom firmware scene because, although not universally used for piracy, it’s difficult to separate the enthusiast homebrewers and hackers (who often breathe great innovation into the industry) from those who want the fruits of their labours for nefarious means.
But this one is quite interesting, if true.
A user on GAF claims that the PlayStation 2 software emulation used to power PS2 Classics on the PSN Store has been completely reverse engineered. It’s apparently possible to manually replace the disc image of a PS2 Classic bought through the store with any other PS2 disc image you’ve hacked and encrypted with the newly released tools. Then you can install that new disc image and run it on a hacked PS3 running custom firmware.
The GAF user in question, who shows off screen photos of Persona 4 running on his PS3 Slim, is predicting that within a week it should be possible to automate the patching and encryption process and easily switch between games. He also postulates that it shouldn’t take too much to get them running from an external drive.
There is plenty of discussion around some of the PS3 hacking sites that would seem to back up this claim. So, if it’s possible to emulate all PS2 games in software, it begs the question: why doesn’t Sony just unlock this feature and allow backward compatibility again?
It’s easiest to jump to the conclusion that this is a purely mean-spirited business decision on Sony’s part. Basically, that they don’t allow it because they want to re-sell popular PS2 Classics on the store or as HD remakes. But perhaps there are licensing issues at stake? Perhaps it requires users to rip their PS2 discs to the PS3 hard disk and that presents potential security risks?
With the PS4 release on the horizon, is there still enough interest in PS2 games to warrant widespread backwards compatibility?