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. Can I just say well done on keeping the article completely objective. It’s an emotionally charged topic so I think it’s important to just report the facts

  2. Surely whether or not Sony can track use of the hack through PSN is a moot point. Is anyone actually going to connect a hacked PS3 to the PSN?

  3. what i’d like to see is sony provide an official way to creative coders to get their work on ps3, much like the net yaroze from the ps2 and that linux kit for ps2, and like ms are doing with the xna indie thing.

    give the lone coder a chance to create ps3 software without needing to spend, well i don’t know how much but i’d wager a lot, to buy a dev kit.
    that way they can develop for ps3 without needing to bypass the ps3’s security.
    and not all the hackers trying to break the ps3 security are doing it to pirate, but people will use what they did for piracy.

    if sony get into an arms war with the hackers, i just can’t see them winning long term, the only way to make something totally hack proof is to make sure nobody get’s to use it or touch it.

    provide a legal, structured way to create software for the console and there will be fewer people trying to hack the ps3.

    and you and the coder could actually make some money on it by selling the software on the store.

    i really don’t understand why sony haven’t set something like this up already, they led the way with indie content with the net yaroze for ps1, i’d love to see what indie coders could come up with for the ps3.

  4. I always enjoy the Megadrive emulators as they tend to run so smoothly. Alien 3, Predator and Flashback always gets some playtime. a SNES emulator running all the classic RPG’s on PS3 does sound enticing, plus Id finally get to play Earthbound without spending £100+ for it…. not that I would of course, but I like the idea of it.

  5. ♫♫
    “If I had a banhammer I’d banhammer in the morning, I’d banhammer in the evening…”

    • whose avin’ it fella? ;)

    • “all over your skull”.

      couldn’t help myself, i played a lot of dcuo the last couple of weeks. :)

  6. I must admit, I’ve ran emulators before, purely for nostalgia. I only ran a couple of Pokemon games, I only did it to the ones I already owned, I’d just rather play them on my laptop over the console themselves. My view on piracy is that if you own a legitimate copy of anything, you’ve paid for the rights to use that content, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be aloud to download a digital version from the internet, so long as what you own/download is for you and only you and no one but you uses/watches it.

    • Steam and Valve are leading the way here, with the ability to download either Mac or Windows versions of their games (where supported) after buying either. Shame the rest of the industry is sitting on its backside and not following Valve’s example though.

  7. I think Ars ran a good article about why the PS3 went unhacked for such a long time, and it came to the conclusion that while Linux was on there, even with it’s rather tough restrictions, it kept the comparatively white hat hackers who only want to do homebrew and mess about happy enough. Whilst the black hats that want to hack through to piracy don’t have the skills to pull of something like this.

    I’m somewhat torn on what Sony will do next though. If they wait 3 months and then ban every sucker that logged on with a hacked PS3, then people would potentially lose a ton of money, and as has been shown by recent studies, it’s often those who pirate media that actually spend the most. Does that make them in the right? Of course not, but it does beg for a little leniency.

    Oh sod it, ban their PSN accounts, sign their email address up to hundreds of penis enhancement spam sites, go round and break in their back door (to their house) and then overheat their PS3 whilst they sleep causing it to catch fire and burn their house down.

    • Oooeer… I was kidding, by the way. Also, house burning doesn’t mean I want them dead, everyone should have regularly tested and maintained fire alarms installed in their house. I just meant destruction of property.

    • I’d go along with Ars’ article, people who want to tinker & see what systems can do were reasonably happy whilst they were able to play around and develop in OtherOS, the removal of OtherOS accelerated efforts to find another way into the console.

      I think Sony made a mistake in not issuing an update to enable Linux to use more SPE’s & the RSX itself as it became clear that the tinkerers were getting restless having pretty much exhausted all development opportunities.

      I remember in the very early days of the PS3 it was possible to copy a game or 2 to the HDD through various Java exploits, these security holes were quickly closed off and that appeared to be that on the piracy front for a few years until Geohot looked at ways to access the system at a much lower level to avoid the hypervisor and access the raw power of the PS3.

      Whilst I backed Sony’s stern action in removing OtherOs in an attempt to stop his efforts to circumvent security, but in retrospect what they should have done was engage with him & his peers and say they were looking at ways to allow OtherOS to access more of the system resources. This would have stopped their security-circumventing efforts dead in the water.

      Now the PS3 is the least secure of all the consoles, far less secure than the PS1 and PS2 which required basic electronic & soldering skills to hack. Of course the PS1 and PS2 are the two most successful consoles ever despite piracy being relatively common with far more than just an underbelly of people knowing someone who knew ‘a man’ who could sort it.

      I’d like to see if there’s any upside to platform holders that piracy offers, especially as I have a slight nagging doubt at the back of my mind that the PS3 was hacked at the exact point in its lifespan that every single unit sale makes a profit and no longer incurs a loss to Sony.

      • In your last paragraph you say you have a nagging doubt.
        Is that because only a few months ago Sony started to make money on each console sold, and it coincided with an important leak from sony repair centers and an acceleration in hacking?

  8. I can see how hacking can be seen as a sport or hobby in some respect. Fair enough, Geohot and crew wanted to prove that they could break the PS3’s security systems. However, they shouldn’t make these tools and methods available to the public.

  9. If this has caused hacked lobbies in Call of Duty on the PS3 then I hate Geohot! I’m sick of them! lol

    I had one yesterday that unlocked all the challenges, Gave me all the guns, Gave me a laser pointer on my guns, Changed my can tag, Changed the names of my weapons classes to the people in the lobbies names, Had a map where you could see the direction people where running etc at all times, Displayed FPS and other information on the screen.

    Was also in a game before when one person could not die on it which just 100% spoils the game as it’s pointless playing!

    • I’m guessing this would be on the Xbox, yeah? – I personally find those hack-lobbies incredibly fun, especially if they make all guns fire shit loads of grenades.
      because as far as I’m aware – there aren’t any hacks for the CoD games (as of yet.. and I hope it stays that way).

      • Sorry to double post.. “… there aren’t any hacks for the CoD games on PS3 as of yet.. (and I hope it stays that way).

      • Nope it is PS3 that I have. It has been happening lots on my PS3 on COD4 and I think MW2 as well (Thought I have not experienced it on the Official Playstation Forums people are saying it is happening in MW2)

    • i agree.if ya wana play the game then play the god damn game.dont be coming over to my screen cheating cos the end of the day if ya cheat the games playing you.

  10. WHY EVEN BOTHER. THE BLOGGER KEEPS FORGETTING THE END QUOTE! im capping this bc last time it never got fixed..

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