Guy Buys PS4 Dev Kit Full Of Data From Closed Studio

You find the strangest things at bankruptcy auctions. Like, say, PlayStation 4 development kits full of stuff from the now-closed developers of Sleeping Dogs.

United Front games shut down in October, and on Saturday morning an auction was held to sell a bunch of their stuff. Among the server gear and office equipment and lamps and TV sets was this PlayStation 4 dev kit (the hardware used to actually make games), bought by kaneda2004.

Older dev kits can be cool keepsakes for console collectors, but are rarely available outside development circles for a machine that's still very much current and on sale (for legal purposes as much as anything). So this was a nice pickup, especially since this appears to be a NEO dev kit, newer models used so games can run nice on the PS4 Pro.

While buying the console is cool, potentially more interesting is what's on it, since the PS4 wasn't blank; there's around 800GB of content on there sitting behind an expired DevKit licence.

A screenshot of the console's front menu, with the expired licence notice.

kaneda2004 can't access these files, as they encrypt once the licence expires (they need to be renewed every 90 days for security this). Rather than just sit on a mostly useless trinket that can't play retail PS4 games, though, he's reached out the members of Assembler Games, one of whom will be taking possession of the dev kit and trying to extract the files to see what was on them.

If it's junk, then whatever. But If it's something of interest, the aim is to get it off the HDD and preserve it, since whatever United Front were working on at the time of their demise would likely otherwise be lost for the ages.


    I'd question the reasoning behind the 'this belongs in a museum' mentality when it comes to un-announced and barely-developed games in their most prototypical form.

    But then it's not that at all, as Plunkett cheekily mentions, it's a security issue through and through.

    I love the game Sleeping Dogs, but this is beyond the pale.

      When I was a game dev our studio bought some dev kits from Midway's fire sale after they shut down . The one that landed on my desk came with a quite playable version of "This is Vegas".

      Unfortunately someone wiped it before I could take any kind of backup or really explore it.

      For people of a certain mindset it's an awful lot of fun to see what other people were working on, even if it is only barely playable. Unfinished or pre-release versions of games can allow you a fascinating insight into the design and development process.

      I disagree. If any game assets (be they from unannounced projects, early prototypes or even Sleeping Dogs) have the potential to be recovered, every attempt should be made to do so as they can provide a window into the game dev process and offer a look to the outside world at what might've been had United Front not been shut down.

    Wouldn't mind one; just to see if copied disks would play so I could keep the originals safe.

    Current legal barriers aside.

      They don't.

      Also, retail games won't play on devkits.

      @bob4: OK, I though it was possible with the difference being retail machines can only play signed games while the dev kits could play anything.

      "To more you know..."

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