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PS3 Jailbreak: How much will it hurt Sony?

Debate: What effect will hackers have on the PS3?

Sony's PlayStation 3 has been a tough nut for hackers to crack.

Generally, this generation's consoles have been as about as sturdy as a block of Country Life butter sitting in a bowl of hot water, but, unlike its younger brother the PSP - which can now play everything from Amiga to Nintendo DS games - the PS3 has put up a strong fight.

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But despite its valiant efforts hackers have chipped away at it and it seems the PS3's pirate free shores are about to suffer a multi-fleet invasion.

After a group of hackers created what they called the 'PSJailbreak' Sony quickly responded by implementing a firmware update addressing the issue and unleashing its crack legal commando unit to put the kibosh on any retailers selling the pesky USB stick.

That was just the calm before the storm though; prolific hacker George 'Geohot' Hotz has since blown the system wide open by decrypting the root key and making it freely available online. The question is, how much will this hurt Sony and the PS3?

Piracy has been the monkey on Sony's back ever since it stepped into the home console business. Every console since the original PlayStation has been a victim, with the PlayStation 2 notoriously popular among pirates. But times have changed.

Pirating PS2 games was simple enough that everyone and his kid brother could do it, whether it was installing a modchip or using a slide card and boot disc, all it took was an hour and a PC.

However, the complexities of the PS3's architecture and media format will likely prevent the propagation of piracy reaching the same heights as the PS2's.

Given the console's 'connected' nature, it's likely that Sony will release regular patches to combat pirates, even if they can't fix the core issue, we're betting they'll make it as hard as possible for people to continue downloading games.

Putting up roadblocks at every new corner is a tactic that seems to have proven quite successful for Microsoft, which regularly banned modded consoles, bolstered its Xbox Live feature offerings and locked miscreants out of these online features.

Most PS3 owners are heavily involved with their consoles on a service level, using features such as iPlayer, VidZone and the PlayStation Store for their media consumption. Would they sacrifice these services by modding their machine?

Uncharted developer Naughty Dog has said that it just about squeezed Uncharted 2 onto a Blu-Ray disc, that's around 25 gigabytes worth of data, does anyone really have the time, patience and more importantly the appropriate internet connection to download a file of that size as well as burn it onto a Blu-Ray disc?

But what do you lot think? Will the emergence of this PS3 Jailbreak have an impact on Sony and its console? If so to what extent and what do you think Sony will do to address the issue?

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