First PS3 “modchip” arrives

Allows for disc backup to hard drive

SONY’S PS3 WAS long deemed unhackable, at least until today when videos appeared on YouTube of a solution that allows you to back up the Blu-ray media that the PS3 games come on, onto either the internal hard drive of the PS3 or an external USB hard drive while remaining playable. The solution is called PS JailBreak and unlike previous solutions for older consoles, it doesn’t require the console to be opened, nor does any soldering have to be performed.

Now don’t think for a second that SemiAccurate is condoning piracy here, as we’re not, but having the ability to store, load and play your games from a hard drive instead of the disc it came on sounds like a great idea to us. This means that you don’t have to worry about scratching your game discs and it reduces wear and tear on the Blu-ray drive. Considering that optical drive failures are far more likely than hard drive failures on a console, we’re all for being able to keep our games on a hard drive, especially as they’re also said to load faster.

So what is PS JailBreak? Well, it’s a small USB dongle that plugs into one of the USB ports on the PS3 and it’s accompanied by a piece of software that is installed on the console. It’s meant to work with all PS3 consoles, fat and slim models, although it’s intended for the latest 3.41 firmware only. No details as to what’s inside this “magical” USB dongle have been revealed as yet, but it’s made by an outfit in Hong Kong.

The YouTube videos are clearly showing several games copied to a hard drive and they’re easily accessed from the PS3 menu. However, it appears that you need at least one disc in the console to be able to play any of the games stored on the hard drive. The console is also doing a very quick reset when a game is loaded from the hard drive which seems a bit peculiar.

So far the PS JailBreak dongle is only available for pre-order and as far as we can tell, only in Australia. It’s not cheap either at AU$169.99 ($151.50), plus the fact that you need a fairly roomy hard drive for all those Blu-ray backups. As we see it the PS JailBreak dongle could be a completely legit accessory as long as it’s used in the “right” way, however we very much doubt that Sony agrees with us. It’s very likely that Sony is already working on a way to disable it, although as it’s not known how it works at the moment, this could prove tricky. The PS JailBreak dongle is also said to be firmware upgradeable, so the makers might be able to offer updates that circumvents Sony’s attempts at disabling it.

The original source has had some server issues as the news ended up on Slashdot and Engadget as well as many other publications and as such the owner of the site has taken it offline pending a server upgrade. The PS JailBreak website also seems to be experiencing server problems, but we did manage to visit it earlier today. It didn’t contain much in terms of details of the product or anything much else of interest for that matter. However, the YouTube videos can be found here and shows the dongle itself as well as it working.S|A

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