I’m not sure if people realize what a serious breach of security the PS3 has suffered in the past few weeks, but now that it’s starting to directly impact gameplay, owners of the system might begin to shuffle uncomfortably. A few weeks back, a hacking team called Fail0verflow essentially decimated the security of the system in every way. Their hack allows users to create more or less custom software for the machine, and even lets them take control of the PS3’s operating system. What that means is that the PS3 is now as free to modify as any PC, with the only limits being the hardware under the hood.
Many hail this as a victory, saying that you should be able to have complete control over all aspects of a product you’ve paid good money for, and it will allow for a playing experience free from the constraints and rules of Sony. This means a lot of things, like it’s much easier to play pirated games for the system, but now repercussions are surfacing that hurt gamers, not just Sony and publishers.
The security hack reportedly has now rendered Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2 “in total shambles and unplayable” according to players. Players can be placed into a hacked server, which formerly relied on the PS3’s security for protection, and instantly lose all their stats. Infinity Ward says they have no way of fixing this, and they offer a bleak outlook on the current state of their game on the system.
“Games rely on the security of the encryption on the platforms they’re played on,” Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling explained on the game’s official forums. “Unless the security exploit itself is resolved on the platform … updates to the game through patches will not resolve this problem…at this time, we do not have the ability to restore or adjust individual stats.”
He then goes on to add that “we are looking at every option available to us to help any user affected,” but his solutions for a fix are to submit a grief report to Sony, play closed, custom matches with your friends, or switch to in-house rival studio Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops, which doesn’t rely as heavily on console security.
The problem is that Sony doesn’t really have a fix for this. They’re suing the lead hacker GeoHot for exposing this flaw, but that won’t turn back the clock, and the hack is out there. It’s not something that can be fixed with an easy patch as it’s a core part of the system. Will they find a solution or will this one hack be the stone that brings down Sony’s Goliath?