PSLS  •  News

To PSjailbreak, or Not to PSjailbreak

August 20, 2010 Written by Allen Tyson

PSJailbreak has my attention. The device has gone from fiction to fact in a short time since the original details surfaced yesterday. PSJailbreak distributed test units too – Each reviewer echoing the same thing: It’s easy and it works.

After running around in a circle like Eric Cartman trying to get cake from his mom, the geek in me settled down — When that happened I asked myself a question:

Do I need the PSJailbreak?



That question is one that I struggle with. Consoles are more social in nature now than they were even a few years ago. Online multi-player is a crucial aspect of titles for most gamers…and it increases replay value. Voice chat during gameplay, video conferencing, and even messaging are integrated into the way we play our games. The explosion of Downloadable Content (DLC) continues to keep titles from becoming obsolete and allows us to return to a familiar experience in a new and exciting way.

Something like the PSJailbreak immediately puts those things in jeopardy – Being online with the jailbreak could result in a ban. Even if doesn’t, its good practice not to get on the PSN anyway just in case. Pulling the RJ45 or disabling the wireless results in the loss of the social environment. Maybe it won’t happen, or maybe I have a little of that Jerry Fletcher syndrome (which is possible). Personally, that aspect of gaming I don’t want to lose.

My PS3 aggregates most of the media content in my home. Sure, the PS3 doesn’t play everything I want it too natively (hooray for ps3mediaserver) and I still use a Home Theater PC (love Boxee). The Cell powered wonder is getting their though. The utopian future I dream of where I have single box that does everything is coming extremely close to a reality. The PS3 needs to add more video services, more music services, and bridge the PC gap. I still don’t have Pandora on my PS3 and I don’t know why. I believe these services will come through the PSN ultimately. This is where the argument could be made for the PSJailbreak: homebrew. Users generating the applications they want, and accelerating the evolution of the console. To add those services requires sacrifice. Sacrifice your PSN/Gaming sociability for homebrew? Tough choice – I really don’t want two units in my living room.

To date,  the mod (as far as I am aware) still requires the original physical media to copy your games to the hard drive. A departure from the current scene ability to secure an ISO or ROM and either burn it or load it depending on your platform. For ease of use, tinkering and to protect your original’s ISO/ROM acquisition makes sense. But with online places like BlockBuster and GameFly, and more recently Redbox getting titles for evaluation is much easier than it was before — The days of going in to a Blockuster or Hollywood video and hoping you could find the title you want are gone. Which made me ask myself: if I am already going to need the physical media, why not just play it? If I love it I am going to buy it anyway — If I hate it, I might catch the mail-person before they leave my neighborhood.

Even with the disclaimer PSJailbreak puts on the device, they know it will be used for piracy. Peruse the forums and you read person after person stating they can’t wait to increase their library by renting games and dumping them. I won’t comment on piracy, but I will say that Sony read’s those comments too. When they read those types of statements, Sony immediately (I imagine) gears up for an Enemy at the Gate’s style of engagement as they prep a firmware release. I can understand their logic: games and DLC sales make money, consoles don’t.  If it were truly just for homebrew, if the dominating comments centered around that, they might engage the community more, and open things up a bit. Wishful thinking? Quite possibly.

What’s the solution? I think if you identify a problem, try and find a solution. I am not sure I have a solution — I do have an idea though. Hiroaki Kobayashi, Marketing Director for Sony Ericsson mobile talked about Apple’s business strategies. Kobayashi-san made the point that one of Apple’s three  sources of income is their market for applications — Sony Ericsson is now looking to generate profits from those three sources. I think of that and wonder how would a PS3 eco-system look if Sony Computer Entertainment did that? If they opened up the system, allowed anyone to build applications based on the PS3 SDK, approved or denied it, and then let us choose what we wanted. Sure, it could still end up in a PSJailbreak exploit just like the iPhone. At least then users would have more choice and content providers would have a better outlet of getting their content on the PS3.

When it’s all said I done, I think there is more to lose than to gain from the PSJailbreak. You might agree or think I am an idiot. In either case, you’re probably right.