Will some sort of Sony crackdown start taking place soon? Eh, I tend to doubt it myself. Sony is not nearly as hyper-paranoid as other gaming console companies are these days.
Less than two weeks after Sony released its long-anticipated PlayStation Portable, a handheld gaming device with multimedia capabilities, the device’s most ardent fans began spreading details about their successful hacks. Among the more ingenious: Web browsing additions, instant-message chats, and TiVo-recording playbacks.
The PSP is already a strong seller in that short timeframe. Reviews of the multi-function device are almost universally positive, and with the heavy overlap between hardcore geeks and hardcore gamers, it seems a natural fit for hacker interest to run high. What’s more, the unit comes with 32MB of memory, music and movie playing capabilities and built-in WiFi access, meaning it offers plenty of tools for hackers to play with.
Sony has been mum on the hacks so far. The company didn’t respond to TechnologyReview.com’s request for comment.
However, the company’s history with product hacks suggests that it will tread this situation very carefully. In 2001, Sony forced a fan of the company’s robotic dog toy Aibo to remove code from his site that allowed the dog to do such things as dance.
That fan, known as AiboPet, was served with a lawsuit for his efforts. As a result, Aibo fans boycotted the robotic dog and Sony eventually relented in its efforts when public outcry over the crackdown grew.
The lesson learned: Sony might do well to let the hackers run their course with the device — it would likely engender an even more slavish devotion to the device. [Read the rest]