Braben: Hacks and custom firmware “damaging to everyone with a PS3″

Thursday, 24th February 2011 23:42 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Influential game designer David Braben has spoken out against the hacking of the PlayStation 3 and release of custom firmware, describing the freedom of speech argument as “rubbish”.

“There have been suggestions that releasing hacking information is an issue of freedom of speech. That is such rubbish,” the Frontier Developments founder wrote in an opion piece for Develop.

Braben resoundingly damned the publication of the key and proliferation of custom firmwares.

“Hacking into a machine as an academic exercise is one thing. Broadcasting the information is another. We should all be prepared to roundly condemn such people. Right now it is Sony that is hurting.

“Tomorrow it will affect all of us in the development community, so we should stand against it together, now.”

Braben was firm in his resolve that hacking and subsequent piracy harm more than the platform holder.

“These people are damaging to everyone with a PS3, not just to the games dev community, because of future security measures that will be needed, but there seems to be a blind spot amongst some players, perhaps because they imagine it will mean ‘free stuff’ in the future,” he commented.

Braben was responsible for the seminal Elite, an eighties space trader, as well as early 3D title Zarch (Virus). His company, Frontier Developments, is behind Kinectimals, Lost Winds, Wallace & Gromit, and Dog’s Life.

Thanks, GoNintendo.




  1. Quiiick

    I absolutely agree with Braben.

    “Hacking into a machine as an academic exercise is one thing. Broadcasting the information is another …”

    #1 4 years ago
  2. SamaT depends really, of course if the hacks and all that affect others besides the person that uses it…yea it “can” be harmful, but look at some of the hacks on the wii. A lot of those affect only the users that use them. Of course there are cheaters, but still…

    #2 4 years ago
  3. theevilaires

    wii doesn’t have a thriving online community like PSN in which it does effect millions because we can’t enjoy or games we invested our hard money in. Imagine just buying a game and the online component being hacked to your disliking.

    On wii you really don’t have that issue because most games are not online and most people don’t play games online with the titles that have them.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Atrak

    Sorry but my respect for Mr Braben just plumetted. I loved the elite series btw but theres a difference between piracy and hacking a console. The idea of ‘poor sony’ ignores the fact they don’t care about their consumers, removing advertised features and treating everyone like criminals because they want the freedom to make the console they bought do something different hardly makes me sympathise with the giant corporation.

    Of course its sad that opening up a console leads to piracy and cheating. I just wish console developers would embrace the homebrew community instead of vilifying them. Perhaps one day they will and we can leave all this hacking = piracy nonsense behind us.
    (XNA is a good start and OtherOS was a step in the right direction which sadly was removed.)

    #4 4 years ago
  5. mojo

    And the award for the most undifferentiated comment of the year goes to David Braben.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    All i know is this: Since the PS3 was hacked, everything turned to shit. It’s not Sony who’s hurting, it’s us. So yes, it’s damaging.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. ManuOtaku

    Guys i agree that this hurts us too, just as sony, and iam an avid gamer that never had and never will includes other OS on my ps3, but having said that, we also as consumers should be worried too with sonys actions, because they remove an application, a one that they said in luch that will be fully suported in time, and when you purchase the ps3, you paid the full price with this application, then sony one day , tooked it away without any compensation whatsoever, and that is just plain wrong, as wrong as the hacking/divulgation situation with Geo Hotz, and now to put and icing to the cake, sony is saying that this is not your console so you cannot do whatever you want with it, heck even now they can see all you got on your ps3 and what you do all the time, man and people are agianst dictators.

    So this move in sonys part gave an excuse for the hacking, even though sony were afraid of piracy and whatnot, they encourage it at the end, also i believe if iam a big time company i should at least research and prove the product prior release, and see the weekness, not launch it with an application that was added for me, just to dowgraded in a mather of months becuase you did realize it was foolish on your part because maybe it was easy to destroy the secure cyrcle, thats also just plain wrong, and keep in mind this device was not cheap, for the price it came at launch,it should be tested to death prior release.

    Also, dont flame me for what iam about to say, but i believe that the responsability for pressing the button of a nuke device is to the person that press it, not the one that put the button in your hands, is your call, he told the way sure, but is my choice what i do about it. last but not least, this is an example ok,he did also discovered a bug in the ps3 encription that will corrupt all your games and data while doing the hack, and he goes and tell all the world the way you should do in order to avoid it, he would be sue also for this?. i know is a completly different escenario but the actions are almost the same, the difference is the motive.

    At the end of the day i believe this will mark a now and then, no matter the outcome, good or bad, it will change things, and dont knowing full well the reprecusions, it is what iam afraid the most.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. TheWulf

    Isn’t this the same guy that said that people who buy second hand are evil, the spawn of satan, should be strung up, and that developers should do all they can to slaughter the second hand market? Isn’t this the same guy that considered trading games to be an abomination?

    If it is the same bloke, and I think it is, then I really can’t take anything he says all that seriously. He’s publically known for making demons out of people and for being a greedy arse. He has this black & white perspective that says that the only good people in the world are those who buy consumer products and never alter them.

    The PC modding community would probably make his head implode.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. TheWulf


    Sorry to say it but you and Braben are both wrong, objectively so, and the proof is in the PC pudding. In fact, this is how the PC works. People try hacking things and then share the information at a security seminar (which is what fail0verflow did). This information is then used to create patches and tighten security.

    Look at as an example. If people were to hack things and never share the viruses, then where would our defenses against malware come from? Considering that people have found ways to screw with the PSN accounts of others via custom firmware – now imagine if that information wasn’t public.

    This would be like Microsoft suing a white-hat hacker for finding and publicising a security hole in Internet Explorer. This is pure insanity! It’s insanity, plain and simple. Security evolves due to people sharing what they find. It’s just that Sony didn’t know how to approach this, and instead of thanking them, using tact, and then looking for solutions, they broke out the lawyers!

    Again, this would be like Microsoft suing a white-hat hacker for finding and publicising a vulnerability in Internet Explorer.

    Some people have no clue how technology works.

    And the thing is is that people should either read up on these things or hold their tongue, because if they don’t they look like luddites. This sort of thing has been happening with the PC for years. And when someone finds and displays security holes at a security seminar for a PC program, the developers are thankful, not sue-happy.


    Because now that the information is public, the damage can be lessened, and things can be fixed. If it was all kept private then black-hat hackers could’ve done all sorts of damage by now without you even being aware of it. We’re punishing good people for doing the right thing, and telling bad people that they should continue doing what they’re doing.

    That’s what Braben said and that’s what you’ve said in aping the sentiment.

    Has the world gone insane when I wasn’t looking?

    #9 4 years ago
  10. TheWulf

    I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: The only people hurting Sony are Sony.

    (I miss the edit function.)

    #10 4 years ago
  11. albo88

    ps3 till this days was the less hacked system of the 3 now that hacking started look at its sells in Europe
    this could infect developers but not Sony that is selling
    we all know devs dont get money from what they sell forget it they all ready get paid by company’s
    a singer perhaps the money he make selling albums are irrelevant
    the real cash from the concerts he makes epic money just singing there live or with play back for max 2 hours
    that’s real cash not i tunes and bullshit like that that’s just good for apple for the singer thus are just extra

    #11 4 years ago

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