Working PlayStation 3 Modchip 'Not A Hoax,' Australian Retailer Says

An Australian seller of Wii, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 modchips has posted video showing the famously impregnable PlayStation 3 running "backup" copies of disc games saved in the hacked console. It's the real deal, they tell Kotaku.

OzModChips.com has posted three videos to YouTube showing the alleged hack, marketed as PS Jailbreak, which purportedly is executed by plugging a $170 (Australian) USB stick into the PlayStation 3. The legality of console modchips differ by region. They are not legal in the US.

Such a hack would enable PS3 users to run back-up copies of games, homebrew and, of course, pirated games, something which Sony has long successfully blocked on its home console.

Kotaku has reached out to PlayStation's US division for comment about this alleged hack and will update this story with anything we hear back.

The narrator of the first video says the modchip arrived at their office in Australia this morning, August 19. A follow-up video shows what appears to be a PS3 that has its disc drive occupied with a copy of the game Uncharted while it runs a saved version of Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction. This is proof, the site maintains, that their new "PS Jailbreak" product will work. With the hack working, PS3 users would not need to possess a disc copy of a PS3 game to run it, a potential piracy nightmare for Sony.

Kotaku has no access to the USB stick and can't verify whether the stick works. But we have been talking to a representative of OzModChips.com who tells us that the stick "is not a hoax".

The rep, who would not provide his name and asked to be called "Mr OzModChips", pointed Kotaku to a new video that, unlike the Ratchet clip, shows a TV and PS3 in full view for the entirety of a demonstration of the hack. The video was made to quiet sceptics who think that today's original clips were not proof of a working hack but simply hype and video editing trickery.

In this newer video, a disc copy of God of War III is inserted into the console. Navigating to a "backup manager" on the PS3, the video's narrator flicks through a list of games saved to the system's hard-drive and loads PS3 game Infamous. (Infamous may not have been the best choice to defuse scepticism that games ripped from discs are running on the hack, since that game is available for full digital download through the PlayStation store. But the backup manger does list other games, including LittleBigPlanet and Ratchet & Clank Tools of Destruction, a sign that other games have been ripped and saved onto the console.)

Some sceptics have said that the videos show the hack running on a debug PS3, but Mr OzModChips tells Kotaku he is using a retail system.

Mr OzModChips told Kotaku that the chip stock originates from China or Hong Kong but declined to say who designed the chip or where they are based. His site reports that "apparently 150 games have been tested on" the chip, which he tells us is information gleaned from direct contact with the chip maker. As for how this hack works, given that Sony's machine has been essentially uncrackable for four years, he told us in an email: "I think it tricks the ps3 into thinking its a dev unit, but I don't know to much technical info about it."

The OzModChips website indicates that this chip will be available by the end of the month and works with PlayStation 3s that run firmware 3.41, the current firmware for the console. It is possible that a future Sony firmware update could seal any cracks a modchip exploits in the machine.

Sony's PS3 has long been secure from modchips which are seen as a pathway to piracy. The PlayStation Portable, however, was cracked early in its existence. For several years, Sony and hackers have engaged in a war of firmware updates and new hacks: Sony regularly issues new PSP crack-sealing firmware that gamers are required to install in order to play new PSP games; hackers respond with new software exploits that re-open the device to backup copies, homebrew software and pirated games.

The Xbox 360 and Wii have been cracked for years, and publishers and developers alike complain that some owners of those consoles can and do run pirated copies of disc games on the machines illegally.

Some suppliers of console, such as OzModChips, publicly state that their services are intended only for legal backing-up of games and running homebrewed software.

Mr OzModChips said that this PS3 hack USB device has been sent to other modchip sellers and that we can expect more video to be popping up about it online.


Comments

    $170 is a lot to lay down for something that could be patched away, like you said, in just a matter of weeks.

    I would wonder if such a device itself would support updating so that it can stay ahead of the game.

    If not this is just a crease Sony will iron out.

    Exciting though.

      I would just choose to never update my PS3, heck I haven't done so since they patched away OtherOS.

      One of the sites I've seen this on have confirmed it is updateable.

      It's probably like the old 360 mod, it make more sense to play it offline so you don't have to update.

    OzModChipz is a legit site, I have bought many products from them and have had my Wii hardmodded in person.

    They wouldn't ruin their reputation with this. It's not fake.

      Agree i have done alot of buying through OzModchip and they are great to deal with :D

      I will see how this goes after a few months and then i will consider buying it :) i just hope it does nto require BD's to get the games installed :)

      Agree. The hooked my up re my DS - thanks OzModChips!

      As legit as you can be whilst encouraging illegal activity.

        "Some suppliers of console, such as OzModChips, publicly state that their services are intended only for legal backing-up of games and running homebrewed software."

        Modding consoles is an entirely legitimate way to use backups of games that you own, and is completely legal under Australian law.
        Just because mod chips can be used for illegal copying does not make that their intended purpose.

          Why do people say it's legal to back up games? Where does it say that in the legislation? If you claim games are computer programs, they are not because Galaxy v Sega clearly defined video games as cinematographic films. Moreover, the attorney-general's website also states it is not legal to back up video games as it is not included in the format shifting exceptions under s.110A.

          Also the Copyright Act was amended in 2006, and it now includes an access control provision which defeats the legitimacy of the mod chip because it circumvents effective TPM. Prior to the amendments, the preparatory acts were the only illegal activities. Now unlawful circumvention of access controls are included.

          Moreover, backing up results in illegal reproduction of cinematographic films because the transitory information stored in the RAM of the console will amount to substantial reprduction under s.10 of the Act.

          The recent R4 case here in Australia came close to proving these but they settled out of court because if it did go to court, the defendant would have faced criminal sanctions. Nonetheless, if you read academic and legal literature, they would all say backing up of games and using the modchip is illegal.

            It's kind of a grey area with things like the Xbox and PS3.

            Think about it, these systems allow you to install a game onto the harddrive (or even download a full game) legitimately. The mod chip simply bypasses the 'must have the disk in drive' feature of installing a game. Technically, you're not creating a backup 'copy', you are 'installing' the original and keeping the original disk safe.

            How would this be different to Installing a PC game that doesn't require the CD to be in the drive to play it (such as Tales of Monkey Island)?

            I'm more interested in the kind of homebrew that will emerge from this. Just have a look at what those homebrew geniuses are doing with the Wii and DS, imagine what they're going to to with a flipping PS3?

    Wow... I'm interested, though I'm weary of why this device was posted on an Australian site (Ozmodchips) first, rather than a larger US or HK/Japan based website...

      Most likely because mod chips are illegal in the US/UK and they are legal here in Australia

      Hmm I still disagree though. You're not installing the game per se because installation would still require the original disk to run it. Unless the copyright owner actually permitted you to install the game into the HDD, then all is well. However, from my understanding, even if you install the game into the HDD you still need the disc for the console to verify that you have the game. I think Infamous is the only full PS3 game that is downloadable through PSN however.

      Hence, the problem with this softmod (it is not a mod chip) is that it bypasses the security system which requires the legitimate disk to be in the actual console in order to activate the installed game.

      Alternatively, if we consider the PS3 or 360 as computers, then the provision that best fits this situation is format shifting contained in s.110A of the Act. Unfortunately,s 110AA allows an individual to copy ONLY a videotape into electronic form for personal and domestic use. The legislation does not permit backing up of DVD's (360) or Blu-ray disks (PS3).

      Moreover, considering that games are treated as cinematographic films in Australia, then the provisions of backing up computer programs under Div 4A Part II and s47B will be nullified.

      If you think my analysis are flawed, then consider this review done by the Copyright Office of the Attorney-General released a few weeks ago.

      http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/%283A6790B96C927794AF1031D9395C5C20%29~Copyright+Exceptions+for+Private+Copying+of+Photographs+and+Films++Review+of+Sections+47J+and+110AA+of+the+Copyright+Act+1968.pdf/$file/Copyright+Exceptions+for+Private+Copying+of+Photographs+and+Films++Review+of+Sections+47J+and+110AA+of+the+Copyright+Act+1968.pdf

      Unfortunately it clearly states that private copying of computer games are not allowed under the permitted exceptions available in the Copyright Act 2006.

        Whoops this is supposed to reply Steven on the above comments :/

    wow this looks promising,i still have my modded xbox done in 2003 i think, anyway the sony update is something to worry about and also could they ban your console from going online? guess we will find out soon. i have a phat and slim ps3 so the phat will get sacrificed to this cause lol

    So the internet was right when it said "If you kill the other OS feature people will hack the PS3"... who'd have guessed.

    Anyone who supports this kind of business to play copied games is a jerk. Simple as that...

      Hey, it's a profitable BUSINESS.

      It's not like Activision and such are purest of heart either.

      What about people who HAVE to buy it so they can use a feature that originally came with their console but has since been forcibly removed?

      Because it can be used to break the law doesn't mean it will (it will though who's kidding themselves) but Sony has left the legitimate users little choice.

      Anyone who supports the use of Kitchen knives is a jerk. Don't they realise that each year, thousands of people are killed or held up with Kitchen knives???

        This is hilarious.

        On the comments section, there's a bunch of dumbass, half-literate pirates supporting OzModchips because they've bought piracy-enablers from a dodgy Australian company who deals in the pirate trade. Australia was once a penal colony so it's fitting. OZMC have ZERO reputation in the eyes of the rest of the Western world because they are parasites. Pirate parasites.

        It is probable that their announcement of a dongle hack is a HOAX to bolster their website traffic, grab a bunch of credit card numbers from desperate pirates, and then close down forever.

        Y'know, because they're pirates.

    I'll keep paying so the industry doesn't suffer. These guys work hard for their games (aside from Infinity Ward?) and I know I'd be pissed if someone stole my work.

      Agreed, Im old enough now that i can afford to pay for my games and support the industry.

      Only time ive modded one of my consoles was when i was still in school and didnt have a job to pay for all the awesome games that came out.

        Ditto. I've also been re-buying the legit copies I couldn't afford to replace them. I never was proud having a backup collection as a kid, wished I had the real things.

        Same, I've been hunting down legit copies of all the backups I've owned, sure it hurts the wallet and it takes up alot of space but I rather have the real thing

    I've bought stuff from Ozmodchips heaps of times, and they've never bullshitted about anything and I've never had any problems. Everyone said that Wii mod was fake too, yet they are now selling heaps.

    That being said, I won't purchase this until a few firmware updates go by, or theres some way to block them but still allow online play.

    With regards to "piracy hurts the industry", a lot of these games are grossing $50-100million profit here. Say they lost HALF their customers.. do you think they will say, "Oh no, im not making any more games for only $25million.. thats not enough".

      But profits are then used to fund the next game. Would you prefer the next AAA game you buy to have a $25 million budget or a $75 million budget?
      In some cases, $25 million might not be enough. Sure, you could throw in some investors and share holders, but then your profit share decreases EVEN MORE. And if the game doesn't perform as well as you hoped, you have less money for the next game!

      Do you steal everything you want and somehow justify it with that same logic? Everyone could still survive on less profit?
      What would you say if you had half your salary taken away? Would you shrug it off? Or would you be mad that someone has taken away something you earned?

    Goodbye USB file support ie backups, updates from usb etc.
    All you will be able to do with it is to charge and use controllers.
    You will have their media GO to do any other stuff like transfer pics etc.

    Sony set the precedent with Linux removal, just dont be surprised when we lose this functionality as well.

    pre-ordered!
    for me, the best feature here is not having to swap discs constantly when you wanna play a game. not running the disc drive ragged with the bs games that dont offer an install option. i have 71 legit disc based ps3 games. i would love to be able to pack them away and just have them sitting on a hdd or 2. luckily i have 2 ps3's. i am willing to sacrifice 1 to test this out for a while.
    if anyone other than OMC showed this, i'd be calling bullshit. but these guys have a reputation to uphold. i trust them when it comes to things like this. cant wait for this delivery.

      I would absolutely love not to have to insert discs to switch games. I too have a large collection of games, though for 360 and Wii, and am constantly wishing the systems more closely resembled Steam's install, activate, play method. I won't mod as I am too proud of the legitimacy of my collection. I just wish that taking my console and games to a friend's house was as easy as taking my laptop and games to a friend's house.

    I really wish people didn't bring this up to the public, piracy is already an issue we don't need to advertise it too.

      Noticed a lot of people bring up the big 'P' word, stating that it could bring about the end of the PS3, or something equally drastic.

      As this article said, the Xbox 360 and the Wii have had modchips for years, and they are hardly in danger of dying out. There has been 'rampant, industry-destroying piracy' on the PC since PC games first existed, yet the biggest game of this year was a PC exclusive!

      Piracy is a fact of life. Pirates will pirate, they are NOT lost customers. Relax guys, and think about all the positive things to come from the PS3 finally being cracked (IE: Homebrew and people being able to run legitimate backups without disk swapping)

    All those who worked hard on making games shouldn't have their work stolen, how would you feel if someone stole your hard work and pissed in your face.

    More than anything I like playing games from hard drives. However, with that advent it becomes increasingly hard to do so. Perfect example was my purchase of Dissidia for PSP. To play the game I had to download a copy off the internet anyhow...

    I don't know if I'm excited by this or not. Backups, yes - sony making a new downloadable firmware every week mandatory? Not so much...

    I can't beleive that people are whinging about having to physically swap discs when changing games. It may be a bit of an issue if you're changing games every 15 blooidy minutes but seriously. Get up off your fat arse and change the disc already!!!

    It's almost as if the remote control has just been invented all over again. God forbid we have do do anything ourselves these days.

    Anyway, as for the chip itself. I guess I can see the benefit of having complete games backed up saving the original disc copies from damage (much like most people's cd collections these days), but there will always be those eager to exploit the tech and use it illegally. Rest assured there is a firmware update on the way.

    I too have upwards of 60 retail copies of games and am quite satisfied that they are all 100% genuine copies. When i want to chang games, I get up, remove the disc I was playing and replace it with another.... Simple.

    I bet it'll be killed off by firmware anyway, which is of course if you use any of the PS3's online capabilities.

    All this crap about it being only supposedly for playing 'backups' is absurd and insulting to everyone's intelligence.

    It's a tool of piracy plain and simple.

    @Wayno:
    It's like having MP3s and burning your CDs onto iTunes. nothing wrong with convenience. no-one is whinging about changing discs, just mentioning that the modchip would be convenient for them. do you not use a remote control at home? :)

    @Jim:
    Yeah sure, plebs will see this mainly as a tool for piracy, but for tech enthusiasts out there, like the iPhone jailbreak there's a lot of potential for homebrew with this modchip.
    Things like restoring other OS function, region-free DVD/Blu-ray playback and just being able to run unsigned code in general opens up a whole new heap of doors for the PS3.
    And the modchip's firmware can be updated anyway, which can counter official firmware updates by Sony.

      Yes Cheets, I do own a remote control. As a matter of fact I own more than one. Some of which don't even have batteries in them :)

      Not having to change disc = convenience = the convenience of not having to change disc. More than one post here states that they wish they didn't have to change discs.

    Anyone with small children will appreciate this. Nothing worse then buying a new game only to discover that little Johnny has been using it as a test pad for his crayons. This way you can rip the game onto the HDD and store the original disc in a safe place.

      Hmmmm, I heard of another device to fix this issue. Its called a cupboard. I hear you can even get them these days is sizes bigger than children.

      Isnt technology amazing?

    This shit is so dodgy. I work in a game store and get asked about junk like this so often. Yeah, sure let me tell you all about video game piracy. Why on earth would I want to keep myself employed?

    Lame.

    Homebrew is legal but let's be honest here, when was the last time you've seen a person playing an R4 DS or a modded Wii/360 and used it purely for legitimate purposes? 9 times out of 10, it's for pirating games. The genuine homebrew community is tiny in the scheme of things and people using the homebrew smokescreen are either incredibly naive or using it as an excuse to pirate.

    I'm no saint. I have an R4 DS card I use time to time for the games I can't afford or want to try before I buy (eg Scribblenauts, Professor Leyton) and even then I pay for as many as I can. People throw 'victimless crime' around, like the rich, greed fat cats are ripping off the consumer.

    When you pirate a game, you're not hurting Bobby Kotick's huge paycheque, you're hurting the thousands of hard-working developers under his umbrella. CEO types will sooner cut ANYTHING (including letting an entire team go) before they are personally inconvenienced by a dent in their paycheque. So no. It's not a victimless crime, and it adds up, ultimately costing us when developers don't have the dough to make new games.

    Devices like this aren't the devil, and people DO use them for legitimate means, but the marketing of it as being able to boot back-up discs is very irresponsible. Be honest here, 90% of the people who pay $170 for this thing are going to just 'buy' games under EB's 7 day return policy and rip it.

      Strand, I still to this day use my original xbox (modchipped) to watch movies, with the homebrew media centre software 'XBMC'. I haven't, however, played one single game on the xbox since the PS3 was released.

      I am very interested to see what this could do as far as homebrew media software goes. Extra video codecs to play mkv files, and to be able to use subtitles with divx movies would be great - 25% of my movies would have subtitles which I can't watch on PS3. Have been waiting for Sony to add those features for years.

      PS3 has the potential to surpass Popcorn Hour and WDTV Live, if only Sony would get their act together.

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