Sony’s impenetrable fortress, a.k.a, the PlayStation 3, has been compromised. OzModChips.com just announced their version of a “jailbreak” for the PS3. What they claim to have is a plug-and-play modchip in the form of a USB stick. When plugged into the PS3, it allows an impressive amount of access into the system, most important of all, the ability to backup your retail PS3 discs onto a USB hard-drive, and subsequently, play the backups without the retail disc in the system.
Does it really work? Have the hackers really found a way to exploit a weakness in the PS3? Well, it’s still up in the air. The only proof we have is a few YouTube videos, and confirmation from the team over at PSX-Scene. They claim to have testers with the product in hand and no doubt of the legitimacy of the product. It’s hard to imagine that a retailer, regardless of the sketchy nature of the modchip scene, would put their reputation on the line to sell a bunk product. Their name is attached to the product and reports of a bunk device would sink their business, because they rely on the same people they are potentially scamming. They have a very narrow consumer-base, and most likely, wouldn’t want to shoot themselves in the foot.[youtube]4jOEbZEkp9A[/youtube] People are expressing skepticism due to a few reasons. In the first video posted above, there is the issue of the hacked PS3 in question being off screen during the loading of a backup game. OzModChips have released a second video with the PS3 in full view during the process. [youtube]8IDaGne0u-4[/youtube] Also, we note in the image to the right, there is the option to “Install Package Files” in the game menu of the XMB. This is an option normally found on developer or debug units, not on retail PS3s. The reason could be that the hack invokes the PS3 into a debug state, or, that the hackers have somehow managed to create signed flags for their software, that a retail unit will recognize it, and present the option to install the hacked-package. When viewing the second video, with the system in view, you can see the system in question is not noted as a “test” system on the case. Usually, it would be etched onto the case of the system, right below the PlayStation text.
Assuming the chip is legit, there is a lot of promise for things to come. At the moment, the connected hard drive used for backups has to be formatted as FAT32. Because of this, files are dumped individually, rather than in the form of a disc image, usually, a .iso file. PSX-Scene is reporting that NTFS support is on the way, however, which allows the HD to hold single files larger than 4 GB. Blu-ray discs have a capacity of 50 GB.
Obviously, anyone interested in this product should disconnect their PS3 from the ‘net. Sony has a habit of patching exploits very quickly in the form of system updates. The team claims that the stick is upgradable, so down the road, there may be incremental updates as Sony closes holes in their software, but as seen in the PSP hacking scene, the hackers are never far behind.
All I can say for now, is buyer beware. Outside of PSX-Scene and OzModchips, we have zero confirmation that this is a real product that does what it claims. It will begin shipping August 27th, so if you can manage to wait a couple weeks, we should have an idea if this thing works or not. Or, you could spend $170 and find out for yourself. Stay tuned!