Shafted by Sony

I’ve owned a Sony PlayStation 3 since the day it came out.  As a fully paid up geek, it’s full raft of features impressed me.  At the moment, I use it as a blu-ray player, a picture, movie and music storage and media player – and as a games console.  One of the features of the 60 Gb PS3 I purchased was the option to install another operating system, namely Linux.  This attracted me because it meant I could also catch up on emails and surfing at the same time, particularly since the PS3 browser is a bit slow.  When the newer PS3 Slim came out recently, I resisted upgrading on one of the brilliant deals around at the time because the slim didn’t have the Linux functionality and the ability to play PS2 games.  Even though I’ve used a few different variants of Linux for a couple of years now on my netbook, I’ve never actually got around to installing Linux on the PS3.

But now Sony have decided to remove the Linux functionality in a hammer to crack a nut attempt to stop game pirating.  This means that an advertised and documented feature (it’s in the hefty manual!) of the PS3 is being removed.  Something you’ve paid for being taken away.  That’s a bit like your car’s manufacturer coming into your garage and removing the sunroof from your car.  Sony do offer a choice not to download the update which borks Linux, but it’s not really a reasonable choice.  By avoiding the update you also lose access to the PlayStation Network (PSN) – which means no more online gaming, game upgrades and game patches, and a loss of online features and updates for blu-ray movies.  These are features I don’t want to lose.

This catch-22 situation is no choice, either way you go you’re going to lose functionality, and most punters are going to be forced to let Linux go.

So okay, I’ve never used the feature, but really this isn’t about the Linux.  It’s about a feature being removed from someone’s consumer product without the owner’s consent.  This is a poor way to treat customers.  I’ve lost all confidence in Sony, and won’t purchase any more games for their console.  Who’s to say that Sony won’t spring other such scumbag tricks on their customers in the future?  I’ve no motivation to purchase any of their PS3 related products if their usefulness can be taken away at a whim.  Successors to the PS3 (which is still an excellent entertainment and media system) will be treated with a healthy dose of cynicism.

It wouldn’t be too bad if Sony offered something useful to their customers in return, like expanded video codec compatibility or a choice of free movie downloads from the PSN movie store.

Given that the announced update is for April 1st, I’m really hoping that this is a joke, and that Sony aren’t out to screw me over.

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