As If On Cue, Sony Sued For Making PS3 Less Useful

from the soon-your-new-purchase-will-be-worth-nothing dept

We recently noted how Sony decided to make their Playstation 3 game console less useful by removing the ability to run alternative operating systems. Sony wanted to retain stricter control of the hardware to battle piracy, but it’s something that annoyed some hobbyists — who’d found a number of creative uses for the feature. The decision made it clear that in the broadband age, the product you thought you purchased isn’t always the product you now own — and it raised the question whether products made less useful post purchase demand a refund. One UK customer thought so, using a UK consumer protection law to force Amazon to give him a 20% rebate. At the time, we noted how a class action lawsuit seemed likely in the U.S., and right on cue — Sony’s now facing a lawsuit:

"The suit claims that the "Install Other OS" function was "extremely valuable." According to the suit, the plaintiff he has not yet installed the latest firmware update so that he can continue to use the Other OS feature. The suit also notes that PS3 owners who choose not to update their firmware cannot access the PlayStation Network, play PS3 games online, nor can they play new games or Blu-ray videos that require firmware 3.21."

So with the recent Avatar DRM flap in mind, users not only lose useful functionality, but if they refuse to update their system with the latest firmware — they also lose the ability to go online, or watch/play the latest Blu-Ray titles or games. In other words, if you refuse a hardware downgrade designed to battle piracy (which punishes paying customers), your PS3 console becomes progressively less useful. So what exactly is a Playstation 3 worth if it can’t be used to do anything?

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Comments on “As If On Cue, Sony Sued For Making PS3 Less Useful”

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61 Comments
Zigs says:

Hmm

To me the PS3 is a games console, I’ve got a PC to run other OS’s on.
I distinctly bought the PS for gaming & since then I also use it for media streaming & other fun & useful stuff.

To me taking away the option to install another OS causes me no concern. For instance it has amazing processing power but lacks the memory to run other OS’s as effectively as a PC. So why bother – Its cool for the geeks to tool around with probably, but most owners like it simply for its main purpose Gaming & Media (Blue Ray & Streaming).

Is it really that important?

…awaits some serious comeback, be kind all.

interval says:

Re: Hmm

So what you’re saying is “I’m not a hardware hacker, I don’t see the point, so no one else should be.”

When I buy a product my assumption is that I’ve become the full OWNER of the product I’ve purchased. I should be able to do whatever I want with it. As for the limited amount of memory, again, I should be able to install more if I wish. Its MINE, dammit. If I want to use it as a door stop, that’s my prerogative. I don’t see the manufacturer preventing me from doing any particular thing to MY PRODUCT THAT I OWN. If the man. doesn’t want me using it in any particular way, its within their rights to produce a product that they can RENT. Don’t sell me a widget and then tell me I can’t use it for X, that’s just not right. I’ll buy a product that WILL allow me to do X.

Zigs says:

Re: Re: Hmm

Stop bleating & hack the new update then, you clever hardware hacker. When you have cracked this toy you can then go forth proudly into the world & tell them how clever you are.

Me I just waste my time with my 5 PC’s & a VMware server running Linux & Windows 2007 server.

So when you have hacked this PS3 (toy) let me know so I can enter you into the technological hall of fame and you can be my hero.

Good for you lol

Zigs says:

Re: Re: Hmm

You do assume a lot don’t you!, try reading more.

Just cause it don’t bother me NONE, I’m a Narcissist Hmmm thats very Narcissistic of you- No?.

And by the same measure that all the PS3 owner out there who have no interest in putting an OS onto a games console when they have perfectly good multi-boot PC’s in which to geek out with are Narcissist’s. You would be horrified by the number of Narcissist’s out there.

Idiot – wizened my douche!

Zigsz says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Hmm

Opinions are allowed to go both ways. Just because it don’t follow your philosophy doesn’t make it any less relevant.

Believe that or return to tunnel vision, or whatever I don’t care. I just love troll bashing.

Oh in case you haven’t noticed my ending comment: …awaits some serious comeback, be kind all.

Is totally TROLL bait lol

Zigs says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Hmm

Literally no, if you read my posts. I’m not pro or against I’m stating my that it doesn’t bother me.

So trying to take down my comments appears more like you have something at stake.

If anything, whats at stake here is free speech & the right to defend my comments & opinions.

Funny how peeps like to disect comments to suit themselves:- thats called comment trolling – you are a troll.

If you really want to impress – keep to the topic & post your own opinions, and leave others to do the same without being trolled.

Zigs says:

Re: Re: Hmm

…awaiting a serious pov in order to post a serious comeback – over to the bigot!

Heh heheh

U know what?. You have convinced me. I shall now join you in ignoring other peoples views & just see yours…. but

ENGLISH DICTIONARY
BIGOT :
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion

Does that not make me a bigot now?.

Maybe you should have used something different like: Opinionated.

After all that is what these threads are for ‘Opinions’

pov on

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

I have the same problem

I refuse to update my PS3 to remove this function. I even disconnected the network cable due to the new terms of service stating that they can now update the console without my consent or knowledge. Soon, I will not be able to play new games or watch new movies. You know what? That’s starting to not be a problem for me.

Raptor85 (user link) says:

Re: I have the same problem

Agreed, and to the post above, it’s a daily use for me (mythtv front end), so yes, to me it is important. (not to mention, advertised to me when I purchased it, and spelled out in my manual)

I completely disabled the network on my ps3, luckily my psn wallet was emptied out just a few weeks before when i picked up trine, so I don’t have any funds sitting. I pretty regularly bought games on the PSN, and have a good collection of ps3 games (including ones I imported due to lack of US release, thank you blu-ray regioning!). Now after a month of not buying ps3/psn games, or playing fat princess online, I’ve gotten used to it and have to say it’s nice having the extra money and time again, my $100+ a month video game budget can go elsewhere now. (mostly to GOG.com)

Raptor85 (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: I have the same problem

You have to do it normally though the system menu on the ps3, but it will require re-download and re-install of everything, and it will wipe saves. Most games allow backup to external hard drive though, so if you are planning on wiping you can at the least save your saved data/virtual memory cards. (I back mine up regularly to thumb drive anyways).

You can do a full backup as well, but some games have restrictions and don’t allow data to be backed up (Skate2 doesn’t, i know for sure)

Jason says:

PS3 Software change

It’s not a matter of if you use the features that have been disabled, it’s more of a concern that they have the right to change features post buying a product. The PS3 was released with certain features and it was bought because of those features, they should not have the right to restrict the services that it was bought for. It already frustrated me that they removed my backwards comparability and now the secondary OS is removed, whats next?

Anonymous Coward says:

Some people commented that they wouldn’t mind losing some core features (in this case, the other os feature) if that meant an overall improvement in the console.

I wonder: would they would feel the same way if, for example, Bluray playback was removed in exchange for a better gaming experience (or vice-versa)? Or in a hypothetical case, suppose the console was backwards compatible with the PS1 and PS2 (I think it isn’t, correct me if I’m wrong) and Sony decided to remove backwards compatibility in exchange for other (arguably) more important features, would that be acceptable?

Basically what I’m asking is what are people willing to sacrifice for better/new features and how good must those features be to outweight the potential losses?

I personally wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice anything. If I PAID for those features, even if I don’t use them, it’s nice to know they are there and if I ever need them, I can use them.

A stunt like this only motivates people more to hack the console. It will have the exact opposite effect Sony expected to achieve…

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The removed the PS2 compatibility in the less expensive versions to lower the cost of the system (I don’t think they removed it from all of them yet). They claimed that they were going to update the system to add software emulation but they never did (OK, I don’t know if Sony>/I> claimed that). The PS1 support was always software so there was no extra cost for that.

Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Some people commented that they wouldn’t mind losing some core features (in this case, the other os feature) if that meant an overall improvement in the console.”

Updating DRM is not improvement, but error correction (there is a difference). That’s a whole problem. Even if improvement was the issue, Sony isn’t giving anything of value in return for what they have taken. Historically, when have they ever?

Zigs says:

Re Hmm

Interval : So what you’re saying is “I’m not a hardware hacker, I don’t see the point, so no one else should be.”

Don’t think I did say that. Maybe you should read the post again.

If anything my point was: To me ‘as in’ I bought it for gaming as I have better equipment to tool around with.

I will not assume anything from your post that you have not literally stated, please return the favour.

I assume you are against it. Your point is taken.

I’m still Hmm & not concerned.

Mike R (profile) says:

You have a choice . . .

Many people have said they just unplugged the thing. Subsequently they have not lost the feature they paid for. Simple enough, sony is not sending ninjas to break into your home and update your console. They are not suing you to have it updated. They also are not taking away your ability to play new games. You bought it when the “features” were the games out when purchased. If you want new “features” they want you to stop using alternate OS’s. But it is your choice.

Lose something to gain something else or maintain the status quo. It appears to me most people feel entitled to all sorts of free stuff. I have no sympathy for you.

abc gum says:

Re: You have a choice . . .

“they have not lost the feature they paid for.”
– They have lost other features they were using in order to keep one … or maybe you missed that point.

“sony is not sending ninjas to break into your home and update your console.”
– You are talking about the company that covertly installed rootkits upon unsuspecting cutomer machines, and yet you say this with a smirk on your face?

“If you want new “features” they want you to stop using alternate OS’s”
– Was that clearly stated upon the outside of the packaging such that a potential purchaser would be fully aware of this possibility? No – I thought not.

“Lose something to gain something else or maintain the status quo. It appears to me most people feel entitled to all sorts of free stuff.”

– What free stuff? I would think they are interested in not having things taken away from them.

Monarch says:

Re: You have a choice . . .

Sony shill?
That’s like a car manufacturer to a customer, we removed the cruise control to give you side impact airbags, but if you don’t want the side impact airbags and loss of cruise control, you can keep the cruise control, but you will lose your ability to listen to the radio if you don’t accept our upgrade.

Context Help says:

Re: Re: You have a choice . . .

There has been numerous beneficial updates to the PS3 all free. Now that they have taken something away – the ANALogies start to fly.
Heh – I think this is funny & creative.

To me its simple they have taken away something that some users like & it is within their right to complain.

Eventually Sony may back down on this, but I doubt it.
So they will lose a few customers & appear to be evil overlords to those users. Bottom line from Sony is tackling piracy which works in favour for everyone, better quality games etc with that extra cash that piracy steals.

Sony like every other company is trying to run a business & are at the moment losing money from most of their ventures (Like a lot of companies in recession). It has only been recently that they have made any profits from this media at all (At the cost of Jobs, & cost cutting).

The console market is still heavily influenced by gaming abilities which will win more customers than will be lost against the ability to run linux.

We need a balance that suits everyone. Its a shame that a happy medium can’t be reached, everyone can think & react for themselves.

Jobs losses: Won’t SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Prosumer says:

Re: Re: Re: You have a choice . . .

“There has been numerous beneficial updates to the PS3 all free. “

What companies charge for firmware updates to hardware platforms they sold in the consumer marketlace?

Are there any comapanies that charge for the removal of features the consukmer thought theirr purchase was capable of.
No?
I wonder why that is.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You have a choice . . .

Bottom line from Sony is tackling piracy which works in favour for everyone, better quality games etc with that extra cash that piracy steals.
Granted I don’t own a PS3, I can tell you right now that the way most large corporations so far have tackled piracy has done nothing but screw over their legitimate users. I believe what Sony is doing here is a perfect case in point.
And their efforts to stop piracy and reclaim that cash never gets them anything. Anyone who pirated and would buy would still buy. Any who don’t wouldn’t have bought anyways.

DCX2 says:

Re: You have a choice . . .

Are you a troll? Where is this “free stuff” that people feel “entitled” to? Someone who bought a PS3 paid for it with money.

If they bought one that didn’t support Other OS from the very beginning, that’s one thing. But to go back and remove a feature from a version of the PS3 that isn’t even in production, or otherwise cripple it…that’s just stupid. Intel’s FDIV bug had even less impact than this, and yet that was a PR disaster.

Oh, by the way, did you know that Sony used the Other OS support as a way to circumvent some export taxes? Hm…I wonder if Sony is now going to pay back all those taxes…doubt it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You have a choice . . .

“I have no sympathy for you”

The sympathy of a fool is no sympathy really… and attempting to redefine GAMES that run on a GAMES CONSOLE as “features” assuredly marks you out as a fool. When you need to stretch reality and logic to make your point then it’s all too obvious you have no point to make.

Phil says:

"Buy" versus "License to use"

Sony’s behavior is merely a continuation of the idea that “end-users” never own anything, regardless of how much money they paid for it.

“End-users” only bought a license, and one party has the right to change that license any time it sees fit. The other hapless party in this “agreement” as no rights at all to do anything, unless it was exactly specified by the party which took your money.
It is a pernicious way of thinking which was quite unnatural, and lacking in historical precedent, when it was in its original spawning-ground of software, but is even more ridiculous when it is applied to hardware (often by attaching these requirements to the software which is required to run the hardware).

Sony, and many other companies are now so accustomed to thinking this way, that they don’t even consider that consumers expect that they have a right to know what they are buying, and still expect that what they bought is what they own. It seems that Sony can’t conceive that consumers might be pissed-off when they find that they don’t fully own what they paid good money for.

I truly hope that courts and/or law-makers finally come to their senses one day and see that these “contracts” are not a fair negotiation between parties. They are nothing but a sham.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Avatar

Well, one bit of good news is that here in Ireland, I managed to play Blu-ray Avatar without having to update. I stopped updating my firmware once I heard that OtherOS was going to be removed, so I’m not 3.21.
Can anyone tell me if in Ireland, a class action lawsuit can be started, or something similar? What should happen is that lawsuits should be brought everywhere, not just the U.S.Show Sony that by treating its paying customers like crap will end up costing it tens of millions in legal fees.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Mike R.

“They also are not taking away your ability to play new games. You bought it when the “features” were the games out when purchased. If you want new “features” they want you to stop using alternate OS’s. But it is your choice.”

1) Take away your ability to play new games. Yes they are. If I don’t accept this update, I can’t play new games in the future. This is bad for both parties, I don’t get new games, Sony doesn’t my money.
2) You bought it when the features were the games out when purchased. I think you mean that the reason I bought my PS3 was that it would only ever play the games that were out at the time, is that what you mean? So I should be thankful if Sony allow me to play Assassin’s Creed II etc? I bought my PS3 so I could play Blu-rays, PS3 games, DVDs, Music CDs, PSN, and use Linux. Which were all advertised features. Now, they decide I’m not allowed have Linux. Sorry Sony, I paid for my PS3, I own it.
3) If you want new features, they want you to stop using alternate OS’s. Problem here is, they can’t backtrack and remove a feature I paid for. So what happens if one day, Microsoft realises that optical drives help piracy, and through Windows Update, they kill your disc drives?

Mike R. what most people here are afraid of is that this will make corporations think they still own the products you pay for. Already, games thanks to EULA and DRM are actually rents, not purchases. What’s happened over the years is that consumer rights are being eroded, to the point where corporations in their Terms of Service “agreements” always say “We reserve the right to amend this agreement as we see fit”. If I pay for a product, I own it and can do whatever the f**k I want with it, bar killing somebody. I do not want Sony et al telling me that even though I gave them money, they are taking something away.

Rekrul says:

I can plug in a 40 year old Atari video game system and play any of the games I own for it. It’s completely stand-alone.

In a few more years, video game consoles won’t even be able to play single player games without being connected to the company’s servers. 40 years later they’ll all be nothing more than fancy paperweights after the company dumps support for them.

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Sony, Style Without Substance

Actually both Sony and Apple fit this description. In Sony’s case they are incompetent engineers and try to micro manage they customers and in Apple’s case their engineering capabilities seem to be fine but they chose to intentionally cripple their products in order to hog tie and rape their customers.

Apple seems to be much better at bamboozling the public than Sony. What amazes me is how many people buy into either company’s hype.

I refuse to buy any product which is intentionaly crippled.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.PatentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 – (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

Context Help says:

You have a choice . . .

Think of the children….lol

I have a question for everyone that has posted to this thread-

Sony is sticking hard to their decision so: What would you like Sony to do, to compensate PS3 owners for the loss of this feature?.

I would like to hear everyones answer without troll-like nitpicking of others replies.

Ronald J Riley (profile) says:

Fair Use & DRM

First, I do not think people should steal.

Second, I think that DRM is a waste and doomed to fail. It reminds me of early software copy protection and dongles, many of which did not play well with each other.

Last, I am a big believer in fair use and oppose any attempts to circumvent user rights. Once someone pays for content it should be theirs to do with as they please. It should be a transferable property right and people should be free to make backup copies for their own use. This is especially important where children are using CD and DVD media which are much less tolerant to how a child uses them than tapes were.

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow – http://www.PatentPolicy.org
President – Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 – (202) 318-1595 – 9 am to 8 pm EST.

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