Homebrew and Emulators Appear On PS3, What Will Sony Do?

Yesterday Geohot released his modified firmware ‘Jailbreak’, and, a little later, tools to sign homebrew to run on his version of the PS3’s 3.55 system software so that anyone developing their own applications could get them to run with minimal effort on ‘jailbroken’ PlayStations.

Overnight, a series of homebrew classic videogame console emulators surfaced, including Super Nintendo, Arcade and Megadrive – updated versions of those that previously required a little more effort to get running on the PS3 before Geohot re-entered the scene with his modified code.


According to sources, the installation of Geohot’s code is simple, and, with a little knowledge, so are these emulators (a list of which is here on NeoGAF) – some of which already feature save states and a number of graphical filters, the SNES emulator in particular at an advanced state.

Which brings about a number of questions, not least what is Sony going to do about this.  Reports suggest that the name of the emulator is displayed under your profile on the XMB like it would if you were playing any other game, meaning that it’s also being transmitted to Sony when you play online.

Will there be bannings?  Will you lose your ability to connect to the PlayStation Network if you’re found using these unofficial apps, which also include SCUMM emulation, basic FTP tools and a file manager? Indeed, the EULA is quite clear on what Sony collect from you with regards to your console’s details:

Each time you sign in to Sony Online Services, we will collect information automatically without further notice to you, for example:

Your Online ID;

Your IP address and device MAC address;

Information about the hardware you are using and how you have used it, such as model and serial number, parental control settings, photograph and music settings, remote play settings, information about devices connected to the hardware, how many items are stored on the hardware or have been used with the hardware and other related information;

How you use Sony Online Services, for example, what games or music you play, what content you browse or download, what services you access and for how long, including how often you use chat, message boards or other communication services;

Your gamer profile, game matching, uploaded scores and rankings, your Friends and block lists and your appearance on other user’s Friends or block lists.

It’s obvious that, if they chose to, Sony can see what you’re up to.  Will they ban PSN accounts, though, given that people have invested lots of money on purchases from the Store, or will they just focus on the consoles themselves?  Our advice is, if you’re thinking of jailbreaking, hold off for now.

Sony’s silence over the weekend will surely be shattered this week as they react to the last few days of releases.

TheSixthAxis does not condone piracy and does not recommend the modification of your console – doing so is against the Terms of Use of the console and is possibly illegal.



  1. I would like Sony to release a FW update so no future Jailbrakes are possible. It damages the industry and potentially affects every PS3 owner. I dislike Geohot…

    • I agree with this, piracy damages any industry it is related to. Just give me my original games and when I played them I’d like to complain (or not) about the game cost me too much money for its value. Anyway, I’d be happy to give them my money for a game, if that leads to them creating more games for me to spend money on

    • Sounds so simple when you put it like that Turrican, don’t know why Sony didn’t think of that themselves ;)

      • He does have a pure way with words.

    • OMG – I’ve just realised…. Turrican on PS3!!!

    • Sony can’t release anything at this point that will stop it. It’s too late. No FW can stop these guys at this point. Sony sat on their hands for too long, and underestimated these guys. I don’t approve of Geohot’s actions, but that’s what he does! Sony should have been 2 steps infront people like him since the first time he attempted to hack it.

    • yeah don’t like him (Geo and all hackers) either they will ruin the fun.

    • i totally agree i mean im not going to lie its fun to use custom software but when people take advantage of it its not cool! NES and SNES similar games like that not a big deal to me current games and technology yes big no no!

  2. Everything that is plugged in or even has been plugged in to your PS3 (unauthorised USB Device) is transmitted to Sony every time you connect, what Sony do with that info is up to them but it is obviously within their T&C to take action.

    Sony obviously can’t tell if people have a 2nd offline PS3 which many experimenters will have that is never connected to the PS3

    • *PSN

    • Just because it’s in the T&C does not make the information OK to collect. Just because I agree to the term and conditions does not make it legal.
      We have very strong privacy laws in this country, whether or not these laws can cover this issue is one that needs to be aired in court.
      Are Sony breaking these privacy laws by collecting so much information? Sony might not be sharing the information, but gathering all the data that they do could be illegal.

  3. I don’t condone piracy in any way, but wouldn’t it be nice if these people partnerd up to create official apps for the PS3. Even though there is Vidzone and Qriocity and the movie players,I feel that if these two sides partnerd up they could make something new and original for the PS3.

    • i doubt there could be an official snes emulator for the ps3 though. but other stuff would be cool.

  4. I dont get the fuss around emulators. Why people want to have them on their ps3 is beyond me. lets face it, most of the games are (obviously) poor by todays standards, and even worse when emulated, the nostalgia soon wears off, and many ‘fans’ still own the original console

    • There’s still some classics – a lot of the SNES Nintendo stuff is ace, regardless of age.

    • I totally disagree. True classics never age. My favourite game of all time is Super Mario Bros 3 and I can still play that today and get totally engrossed once again.
      Also, many emulators actually improve the original games by upscaling graphics, increasing frame rates and cleaning up sound.
      Indeed, the PC Wii emulator Dolphin (admittedly, when run on a gaming spec PC) makes many games look a lot better than the Wii itself!

    • Totally agree with you Mikey, the PS1 games are pain full enough on the eyes as it is without some 15 year old games.

    • I am replaying my NES games now, on the PSP emulator. You are wrong. I get fully engrossed in the games as before and I don’t have my original console anymore, it broke and I can’t get it fixed, so I emulate.

      • I’ve been gaming since 1980 and the last thing i would want to do is play old video games, i don’t get this gameplay over graphics debate at all. An example would be Syphon Filter which i bought again from the Store, it killed my loving memories of the game when i played it! It was just hideous to play!

        The only thing i would welcome is an emulator for MAME.

      • Early 3D games will seem clunky these days – crude graphics and poor framerate will hamper the experience. However, 2D was once mastered, and games such as Super Mario World and Zelda: A Link to the Past are still my favorite incarnations of those game series, even today. They play smoothly and the design of the graphics are still great, and the gameplay perfect!

    • Same here, Mikey. Not really interested in emulation and old games. However, it’s still piracy (running emulated games) so I hope TSA takes an equally dim view of such actions.

    • Spikey, get a grip.

      I suppose you’re one of those whiners who don’t get the fuss about chiptunes either. Right? Just because you don’t get the fact that art can exist in minimalist or ‘archaic’ forms doesn’t mean your opinion is relevant for everyone else.

      • dont tell me to get a grip pal, just because my oppinion doesnt suit you. i dont like emulators, personally, i dont see the point in them with all the new and exciting games that exist today. I know what i’d rather play. If i knew what chiptunes were, i’m sure i wouldnt give a fuck about those either. Plus, it my oppinion and i can express it if i want. knob

  5. I’m really surprised at how quickly those emulators have been got to work, practically overnight. I thought they would have to be built from scratch or at least would take a certain amount of porting /changing the code.
    While emulators themselves aren’t illegal, using the ROM images of games certainly is and that’s something Sony would not want to allow. It’s going to be an interesting week for sure.

  6. Does emulation of old games count as piracy? I go online on my PS3 a lot, so wouldn’t risk something like this, but I would love something that could run all my old megadrive and snes games on my PS3!

    • Emulators themselves aren’t piracy but running the ROM images is. However, if you only possess ROMS of games you still physically own it could be argued that you are not ‘stealing’ a license because you are playing a single copy of a game you paid for. It becomes a bit of a grey area then

    • Yes, it is. 3shirts is right, however. If you own the originals then you probably are 99% safe but most people running games on emulators don’t have the originals and are thus breaking the law.

      • I feel better knowing that I’m 99% safe from being called a pirate.
        All the games I emulate, I own (tends to be SEGA games… Sonic to be precise) – So I guess I’m one of the few good people out there.

        Just waiting for a SEGA MegaDrive/CD/32X Emulator to hit the PS3 now (Really glad Geo didn’t add backup support).

    • While running the emulator itself might not be considered piracy, you’ll have to break the law (jb the system) to actually be able to run it on your PS3 so the result is the same.

  7. Piracy I’m firmly against, but homebrew and emulators I absolutely adore.

    Such a shame one can’t seem to exist without the other.

    • that last bit of your comment is exactly the same as the harry potter prophecy :P

      • No, it’s the opposite, “neither can live while the other survives”

      • oh yeah my bad :P i read it wrong :/

    • i completely agree DJ Judas, homebrew creators can work wonders these days, sometimes alot better than the big companys

  8. its a legal loophole I believe. im pretty sure its legal to own ROMs of games that you own, as you already have a licence for the content, hence them being called ‘backups’ or to download them for 24 hours for trial purposes. daft in my opinion

  9. I wonder what Nintendo and Sega think of these emulators appearing on just about anything they can? Are they happy people still love their classics or are they pissed off that they are not getting any money for them?

    Hey Nintendo & Sega how about creating a license to allow these emulators and roms?

  10. I have no interest in any of this at all. If I wanted Snes emulators and the like then I could buy a Wii to play legitimate software emulators on. The PS2 had a few collections of retro games released on disc that could easily be released for PS3. Also after three YLOD’s, I would not consider sticking some alien usb stick in one the slots of my PS3…hell, they break using a default setup.

    • These Sega ‘MEGA ULTRA ULTIMATE’ collections usually contain games which are junky. Very few people really want to play ‘Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine’, ‘Flicky’ or a poorly ported version of ‘Space Harrier’.

      This is where console emulation comes in – created and supported by real fans of the console. I know for a fact that as soon someone releases a Sega MegaDrive/MegaCD/32x emulator, I’m going to play the fudge out of it!

      I know it can seem a bit dodgy sticking some unknown software or application onto your system, but a lot of these custom app/firmware teams are legit. At the end of the day though, it’s just being aware. Read comments, etc before downloading – should you ever wish to attempt it.

      (Please keep in mind, the games which I emulate – I physically own).

      • It makes you wonder – do these companies even refer to the fanbase when creating these ‘MEGA ULTIMATE OMGZ’ compilations; so many great games in the catalogue and they choose crap like that. Where’s Vectorman? Bubsy the Bobcat? Shaq-Fu? (ya rly – love that game). This is why Emulation of this sort will always win, because they consistently fail to give the public what it wants. If they released an official PS3 Sega emulator with all SMS and SMD games included, & charged £30? Instant buy.

      • Sure, there are some shitty games on it, but the PS3 collection has great games like Sonic 1,2 and 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Streets of Rage 1,2 and 3. Hell, it even has Vectorman you want so badly (and Vectorman II!).

        One game I’m missing is Toejam & Earl.

        Sure there’s junk on it as well, but I prefer these legit outings a lot more (lots of background info, trophies!,…).

        I hope the Dreamcast collection will fulfill my expectations…

      • Toejam and Earl (one) is probably my all-time favourite! What a game!

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