Sony Deletes Feature On PS3's; You Don't Own What You Thought You Bought
from the the-digital-age dept
It used to be when you bought a product, you owned it. Simple, right? And once you owned it, you could do what you want with it? But, lately, thanks to digital products and an always connected world, many companies have changed things around — so the products you thought you owned, you actually rent. But, it can go even further than that, where a product you thought you owned can be irrevocably changed without your permission, long after you bought it. Take, for example, the recent story of Sony deleting a feature on the PS3 that let users (not owners, apparently) install other operating systems, such as Linux. It’s going away. Sony announced that when the next PS3 firmware upgrade comes along, it’ll wipe out this feature, whether you used it or not. The only way to avoid that is not to upgrade, but that will also greatly limit what you can do with your PS3.
So why is Sony retroactively taking away a feature that it sold to people? Apparently because some people might possibly use it in a way that Sony didn’t intend. The EFF has the whole backstory:
The backstory is that Sony provided the Other OS feature in order to support IBM’s Cell Project, which produced the PS3’s CPU and made it practical to use PS3 consoles as compute nodes for a scientific supercomputer. The U.S. Army did just that, buying more than 2,000 PS3s to build a supercomputer. Lots of hobbyists also made use of the Other OS feature, using it to write their own games and creatively repurpose their PS3s.
Recently, however, a hobbyist named Geohot announced that he was able to use the Other OS feature along with a bit of soldering in a manner that gave him more control over the PS3 hardware than Sony had intended. Sony responded with the “upgrade” that removes the Other OS feature.
This is, frankly, obnoxious — and I half wonder if there will be a lawsuit over this. People were sold one thing and then Sony retroactively decided to take away a feature that some found quite useful However, I imagine that in a world of interconnected devices, stories like this are going to become more common. Isn’t it time that someone created a movement to highlight what products you actually own once you’ve bought them?