October 30, 2007 // 2:45 pm
- In Asia's gaming culture, piracy has been common place for every major game console since the NES. In the mid 90's a device called the UFO, allowed ROM games stored on floppy disks to be played on the SNES via a disk-drive like device that sat on top of the SNES. The 32-bit era saw the rise of mod-chips and insane swap-tricks to get past CD region lockouts.
Not much has changed in the generations that followed. Even today, the Xbox 360, Wii, DS and PSP have all fallen victim to heavy piracy. The advent of torrent sites and faster download speeds don't do the major players any favors either. The PS3, on the other hand, remains a different story. I have been keeping an eye on the local pirating scene, and with almost a year after the PS3's release, it appears to be the only console piracy free. On that note, I have concluded these reasons for the PS3's success in the anti-piracy war. (Note: despite the tone of this article, I have no doubt that eventually, technology will catch up and savvy pirates will have their way)
4. Hardware complexity
Let me preface this by saying that I'm by no means an engineer or have any expertise with console hardware, but from what I've heard from around the Net, I've decided to include this point with some doubt. With the Xbox 360, all that is needed is to flash the DVD drives firmware, for the Wii, a simple modchip install. The only hiccup would come with future software updates. The PS3, unlike the Xbox 360, does not do incremental firmware updates, each PS3 firmware update completely replaces the previouslt installed version, leaving me to the think that any exploited areas in the software would be eliminated. Unless someone out there commits to creating custom firmware, similar to the PSP homebrew scene, running something like the a HDD loader or installing a modchip seems an unlikely option.
Despite the whole next-gen format war, Blu-ray has served Sony on multiple fronts. First of all, touting a size limit of around 50gb for a dual layer BD-ROM. Very few sane people would go through the trouble of downloading or uploading such a large ISO file. Also, Blu-Ray disc burners are still out of the price range of the mass market.
2. Region-free games
As hard as it is to believe, there are people out there who have their consoles modded for the sole purpose of importing. With games such as Kingdom Hearts 2 : Final Remix available only to the japanese market, its hard to ignore that any hardcore gamer has gone through the whole importing process before. with the PS3 being region-free, with most games released in Asia already coming with an option for English as the primary language, Sony has appeased the importing community. Importing, was also the primary justification for shops to carry mod-chips in the first place, this move thereby eliminates this excuse for pirates to hide behind.
1. High price point
With the early adopter having to shell out $600, anything with even the slightest risk of bricking the system will give any PS3 owner nightmares. This seems to be the prevailing sentiment on many forum threads I've read, many people just don't want to risk the PS3 the same way they did with their past consoles. As a side-effect to having a high price point, the installed base isn't as high as the Xbox 360 or the Wii, bringing little payoff to those who would have to go through all the trouble.