Sony has announced that it will be removing the ability to install Linux on all PS3s in an upcoming firmware update, in what is thought to be a move to stymy efforts at cracking the console.
The feature, much touted at the PS3’s initial launch, was already quietly removed from the PS3 Slim, and will in future no longer be available for older “fat” PS3s.
Users can choose not to upgrade, though this prevents them from using later games and so is essentially a non-option.
The next system software update for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) system will be released on April 1, 2010 (JST), and will disable the “Install Other OS” feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models, launched in September 2009.
This feature enabled users to install an operating system, but due to security concerns, Sony Computer Entertainment will remove the functionality through the 3.21 system software update.
In addition, disabling the “Other OS” feature will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system.
Consumers and organizations that currently use the “Other OS” feature can choose not to upgrade their PS3 systems, although the following features will no longer be available;
• Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat
• Playback of PS3 software titles or Blu-ray Disc videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later
• Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server (when DTCP-IP is enabled under Settings)
• Use of new features and improvements that are available on PS3 system software 3.21 or later
With Microsoft making next to no effort to keep its console free of piracy, and with what efforts it does take generally resulting in banned users being forced to buy new units, it seems two diametrically opposed strategies are at work.
Sony is successfully exerting total control through technological means, whilst Microsoft is so blasé about piracy that observers could be forgiven for thinking it is using the easy availability of free games on the system as a marketing tool, a strategy it seems to employ in maintaining the dominance of Windows as well.
Nintendo meanwhile is suing everyone it can lay hands on in an effort to stamp out widespread piracy on its consoles.
Just which strategy is most effective remains to be seen – it does at least appear that the prospect of no piracy on the PS3 has so far not stopped most publishers ensuring top games are multiplatform, and so effectively free on at least one.