Having just finished a bitter lawsuit with Sony over cracking their Playstation 3 console firmware, George 'Geohot' Hotz has distanced himself from the recent Playstation Network outage - which Sony has admitted was caused by an outside party - claiming to have no involvement and even criticizing those responsible for "making the hacking community look bad".Click here to read more...
Sony has announced that their legal battle with celebrity hacker George Hotz has reached a settlement. Both parties have agreed to put their differences aside, and Hotz has agreed to a permanent injunction to avoid any further investigation and litigation. Full details below.Click here to read more...
The lawsuit between Sony and PS3 celebrity hacker Geohot has taken an interesting turn. According to new court documents provided by the hardware giant, George Hotz has fled to South America in order to avoid a court-ordered seizure of his hard drives.
He couldn't look more guilty if he tried.
Update: Apparently he's just taking a holiday that was paid for months in advance, and will soon return refreshed and reinvigorated to take on Sony's suit. Thanks ODB.Click here to read more...
Click here to read on in the continuing saga of The Hacker, The Corporation And The Big Vague Law...
Federal magistrate Joseph Spero has permitted Sony to subpoena the PayPal account of everyone's favourite hacker George Hotz to try and acquire 'documents sufficient to identify the source of funds in California that went into any PayPal account associated with firstname.lastname@example.org for the period of 1st January, 2009, to 1st February, 2011' so they can determine in which state Hotz should be brought to trial. According to Wired, on top of that 'Sony has also won subpoenas for data from YouTube and Google, as well as Twitter account data linked to Hotz, who goes by the handle GeoHot.'
Have you visited geohot.com to follow the latest in Sony's lawsuit? Checked out one of his Youtube videos or downloaded any of his hosted files?
A clutch of online-related subpoenas have now been approved, granting them access to the IP addresses and "any identifying information" from visitors to GeoHot's site, as well as those who grabbed any of his files (including the infamous jailbreak.zip). It's a worrying precedent to be sure, and we have the details below.Big Brother is watching you. Click here, if you dare.
Hiring the right staff and studios is of critical concern to Microsoft and Sony. The fierce competition between the two companies demands increasingly competent games, which can only be created by seriously smart headhunting. However, there's currently an invisible and unused workforce who have already demonstrated their mastery of next-gen hardware. If hired, they could provide massive profits, great games and invaluable ammunition for the console wars.
Let's start with Microsoft and arguably the most obvious pool of potential developer talent going to waste. Within days of Kinect releasing, an entire community of homebrew coders leapt into action; creating an unprecedented number of applications that pushed the peripheral into uncharted territory. And uncharted accuracy. Fingertip control? Stealth camo? Flying robots?! It's all good. We've already reported that Microsoft will soon be officially supporting Kinect on PC- and the last few months have already provided them with any number of coders who are overqualified for the job.
Why stop with the PC? Hiring these guys on board would allow their expertise to be shoehorned into Kinect's Xbox 360 functionality. They've already created more innovative user interfaces than your first party developers managed, so hurry up and get them on base! Their skills and expertise would be invaluable for better integrating the unique motion control input with the Xbox 360 dashboard. Not to mention for creating more accomplished games.Read on to discover the rest of the forgotten candidates!
Finally! Nintendo have confirmed a March 25th release date for their highly anticipated 3DS handheld- along with twenty five games set for the "launch window." HMV has estimated a £229 retail price for the basic unit that will reportedly ship in either aqua blue or cosmos black.
We can't wait.
This is an odd little story. Putting it mildly. Freelance blogger Jason Koblovsky claims to have engaged in a bizarre dialogue with Activision customer support, where grievances about Call Of Duty: Black Ops' PS3 performance were countered by a suggestion that the servers could ultimately be closed instead of repaired.
The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN.
To be honest, this is probably just a poorly worded response caused by the aggravation of dealing with an angry consumer- not a statement of intent. Activision's social media puppet master, Dan Amrich, has been quick to deny any genuine plans to shut down the servers in a recent tweet.
I do not see "shutting down servers" as an action item here. I think someone's inaccurately implying intent.
There's almost certainly nothing to this, but there's no doubt that Black Ops' PS3 performance is causing both consumers and Activision no end of grief. Are you having problems? Fancy a bit of a rant? Have your say in the comments!
Infamous hacker and homebrew coder George "GeoHot" Hotz is currently embroiled in a fierce legal battle with Sony over a the latest firmware breaches- and has been sued by Apple in the past. However, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 team are taking a very different tack. Microsoft developer Brandon Watson has offered to furnish Hotz with a WP7, stating that they'd actively encourage him to "build cool stuff" on the platform.
It's a nifty marketing stunt to be sure, but with some analysts predicting that WP7 will overtake Android as the fastest-growing OS in 2011, it'll be interesting to see what a jailbreak manages to bring to the table.
Yesterday's announcement that Final Fantasy Versus XIII would be a PS3 exclusive nearly broke the internet- partly thanks to an incredible new trailer that shows off the blend of high fantasy with gritty realism. Well, as gritty and realistic as Final Fantasy games get, anyways. [GT]
The Entertainment Software Association has preemptively attacked a piece of games research that purports to prove a link between gaming and mental health problems in Singapore. The preliminary study conducted by the noted anti-games critic Douglas Gentile has been slammed as biased, incomplete and questionable- before it's even had chance to be officially published.
There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and videogames cause harm. In fact, a wide body of research has shown the many ways games are being used to improve our lives through education, health and business applications.
Throughout our nation's history, those critical of new entertainment forms have sought to blame those creative works for society's ills and some of have sought to use flawed research to support their theories. - Richard Taylor, ESA
It's about time that someone stood up to officially defend our medium from shortsighted and self-serving agendas. We applaud the ESA's decision to get involved at this early stage, and hope that more organisations will aggressively defend our ever-growing and emergent art form. [GI]
In another piece of good news, several MPs including Cabinet Minister Ed Vaisey and Labour's Luciana Berger praised the recent Parliament Games Day in which UK politicians were exposed to the latest games and software. Founder Ian Livingstone was delighted by the turnout and reception; stating that it helped to "dispel some misconceptions about videogames."
In a surprising move, even the notoriously outspoken hater Keith Vaz turned up to watch- and told Eurogamer that he's only ever opposed the sale of violent games to minors rather than our medium as a whole.
I've never been against games. I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing. -Keith Vaz MP
With gaming driving an increasingly significant proportion of our economy, it's only a matter of time before it becomes a major player in Whitehall. We can't wait!
Hacker George "Geohot" Hotz has legally responded to Sony's lawsuit ahead of the first hearing tomorrow morning. His attorney has stated that Sony is attempting to make an example of homebrew coders regardless of whether or not the case is legal- and has highlighted several possible holes in their allegations.
Since Hotz has never created a PSN account, his attorney alleges that he isn't bound by their terms of service- and that the "It Only Does Everything" marketing campaign invites people to take advantage of the PS3's versatile capabilities. More scandalously, Sony's attempt to prove that Hotz is profiting financially from his efforts appears to be supported only by a $1 donation from Sony themselves. Delicious.
Sony will doubtlessly counter these latest arguments tomorrow, and we'll bring you the latest by the wire. However, considering that Hotz has demonstrated his mastery of the PS3's hardware and firmware, it's a shame that they haven't just gone ahead and hired him into their development team or a first party studio. [Gamespot UK]
We caught wind of SEGA's planned Dreamcast collection a few weeks ago... and as we predicted, it contains the two lacklustre ports of Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure that are already available on XBLA and PSN. SEGA Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5: Part 2 will also make an appearance alongside "updated" graphics, achievements and leaderboards.
The Xbox 360 retail version and PC digital download will release on February 25th- though the PS3 version is curiously MIA at the time of writing. Maybe they haven't flogged enough crappy standalone ports yet?
More to the point: where the hell is Jet Set Radio? Oh, that's right. It's coming out as a standalone version first in order to push yet another lacklustre version on us- along with the two other games in the Dreamcast Collection! [Jon, breathe into this paper bag for a while. You'll feel better. -Ed]
Breaking news. EA has just confirmed that a Bulletstorm demo's set to hit Xbox Live on January 25th, followed closely on PSN the next day.
So... yeah. January 25th. Get ready for some brutal slow motion shenanigans!
It looks like we've got a few more lawsuits to add to our already-bulging portfolio of ongoing games litigation. Sony has been "looking into" the issue of their recently-cracked PS3 firmware and the appearance of numerous emulators/homebrew applications... and has now decided to launch lawsuits against GeoHot, the fail0verflow consortium and various other individuals (including, we believe, KaKaRoTo).
Sony alleges that the defendants "circumvented effective technological protection measures employed by SCEA to protect against unauthorized access to and/or copying of PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems" as well as broader piracy charges. A tangled mess of many different violations has also been stated, including Copyright infringement and Computer Fraud. They're currently seeking temporary restraining orders and impounding of both modified hardware and software- but as far as we know, no financial damages are on the table.
GeoHot has published the summons in full here, though the server's currently at breaking point. The defendants have yet to respond, but we assume that the 100 individuals are too busy smashing up hard drives to comment at present. [Engadget]
In other Sony news, VG247 claims that confidential sources have outed a strategy meeting on January 27th as the first official announcement of the long-awaited PSP2. We'll keep our eyes to the East over the next few weeks.
After knocking out Crackdown 2 in less time that most developers spend playtesting, Scotland-based Ruffian studios have announced that they've got two new projects in the works.
Since completing Ruffians first born, Crackdown 2, we’ve now moved onto a couple of new games. Rather boringly as is the case for most nascent projects we’re unable to talk about them in any detail right now. What we can say is they’re really exciting, high action, visceral titles that are heavily focussed on online. Which could be a lot of games to be honest.
One of these nascent (good word, that) titles must be Crackdown 3, since Ruffian have previously stated that they plan to "alter" Pacific City in future Crackdown titles. Their other project, however, is anybody's guess. We hope they'll be able to deliver some cracking games now that they have more time on their hands. [Ruffian]
Castle star and geek idol Nathan Fillion previously campaigned to play Nathan Drake in the upcoming Uncharted film- a move that was thoroughly supported by us dewy-eyed superfans here at Dealspwn- but . Many Uncharted (and Firefly) fans were disappointed by the decision, but Fillion has announced that he fully endorses and supports Wahlberg in the starring role.
Just watched The Other Guys, and honestly excited to see Wahlberg in Drake’s Fortune. He’s got mad skills. - Nathan Fillion on Twitter
What a class act. Hopefully Uncharted can break the cycle of sickeningly mediocre film adaptations... or will be awful enough to destroy the trend completely. Either's fine in our book. [Gamingbolt]
Gemini Rue was one of the most exciting Indie titles at last year's Eurogamer Expo. We were wowed by its noir visuals and Blade Runner-esque vibe, and Wadjet Eye Games have now revealed that it's set for a February 24th downloadable release. Preorders are now available at the official site.
Adventure games aren't going to get much better than this. Miss it at your peril.
Game Buzz is a weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday we’ll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart’s delight. This week, we take a look at Sony's recent firmware update, the controversial removal of the 'OtherOS' option and ask whether or not we should really care.
Several people I know thought it was an early April Fools joke - an update that removes features rather than adding them - but no, Sony has decided to crack down hard on people look to exploit cracks in its system. Although no-one from the big bad corporation has actually released a statement to the effect (all Sony said was that the update was due to 'security concerns'), or even acknowledged the young prodigy's existence, I would assume that this crackdown is due in no small part to George Hotz's (Geohot) successful attempt to finally hack the PS3 and gain access to the console's hypervisor, giving him read/write access over the system memory and enabling full access to the meaty processing power that lies beneath the shiny obsidian plastic casing of the PS3. He completed his breakthrough in January at which point, considering that it had taken 3 years, 2 months and 11 days for someone to work out a way of hacking the console, a fair few media hubs began taking note.
Understandably, perhaps, considering that Geohot admitted that his hack could be exploited for piratical - no not the Johnny Depp/Geoffrey Rush kind - purposes, Sony were rather less than amused. Back in February a new patent from a Sony employee came to light that looked like Geohot countermeasure:
"A method, system, and computer-usable medium are disclosed for controlling unauthorized access to encrypted application program code. Predetermined program code is encrypted with a first key. The hash value of an application verification certificate associated with a second key is calculated by performing a one-way hash function. Binding operations are then performed with the first key and the calculated hash value to generate a third key, which is a binding key. The binding key is encrypted with a fourth key to generate an encrypted binding key, which is then embedded in the application. The application is digitally signed with a fifth key to generate an encrypted and signed program code image. To decrypt the encrypted program code, the application verification key certificate is verified and in turn is used to verify the authenticity of the encrypted and signed program code image. The encrypted binding key is then decrypted with a sixth key to extract the binding key. The hash value of the application verification certificate associated with the second key is then calculated and used with the extracted binding key to extract the first key. The extracted first key is then used to decrypt the encrypted application code." Read the full patent here.
Needless to say, it didn't really work.
Far better, therefore it would seem, to cut off one's nose to spite one's face, or throw the baby out with the bath water, or burn down the house when the...you get the idea. Sony have pulled the plug on OtherOS with a firmware update, clamping down on abusers and ruining the party for legitimate Linux users because of 'security concerns'. Displaying a masterclass of pitfall circumvention, Sony naturally made the firmware update optional, but put some rather nasty little caveats for unco-operative users:
"Consumers and organizations that currently use the “Other OS” feature can choose not to upgrade their PS3 systems, although the following features will no longer be available:
- Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat
- Playback of PS3 software titles or Blu-ray Disc videos that require PS3 system software version 3.21 or later
- Playback of copyright-protected videos that are stored on a media server (when DTCP-IP is enabled under Settings)
- Use of new features and improvements that are available on PS3 system software 3.21 or later
For those PS3 users who are currently using the “Other OS” feature but choose to install the system software update, to avoid data loss they first need to back-up any data stored within the hard drive partition used by the “Other OS,” as they will not be able to access that data following the update."
So no games, movies or PSN for you and if you have been using OtherOS, legally or not, you'll have to grab yourself an external hard-drive to back up all your stuff just in case. The modding community have, as one could have anticipated, turned round with tongue lashings of fire and brimstone, and not just for Sony. Geohot himself has come under serious fire too.Click here to find out why FW 3.21 sucks...