Fans expressed disappointment when Sony revealed the 20 games included on its PlayStation Classic, from the absence of popular titles to the inclusion of more obscure ones. Just one week after its launch, hackers have managed to break the encryption built to prevent users loading whatever they wanted onto the system.
Notable console hackers madmonkey1907 and Yifan Lu gained access to the system thanks to seemingly weak cryptography in the PlayStation Classic, reports Ars Technica. This opens up the nostalgic-infused grey box to a number of possibilities, including the ability to load games not included on the device via a USB drive.
Documenting their process online, the hackers noted that Sony had left the key to decrypt the console on the device itself – the equivalent of leaving your house key under the outside welcome mat. The PlayStation Classic also forgoes online connectivity and houses no method of checking what software it’s running at any given time. Lu utilised the key to introduce Crash Bandicoot via USB, a game presumably left out due to the release of the N.Sane Trilogy remake last year.
Diving into the code is often an arduous process that enthusiasts embrace, however GitHub console hacker Pat Hartl has gone as far as creating an open-source tool to make the method significantly more user friendly. Despite this, the method isn’t advised for two reasons. Firstly, Sony isn’t keen on the breach of its copyright and the downloading of games that haven’t been paid for is the illegal practice of piracy. Secondly, the publication notes that this method has yet to be perfected and does have the potential to brick the console.
The breakthrough is more of an experiment to see what hackers have the capability of doing, as well as a comment on the strange lack of security on Sony’s Classic device. Given the difficulty of procuring Battle Arena Toshinden and the original Grand Theft Auto, the PlayStation Classic still remains the best place to legitimately play either.
KitGuru Says: While I adore the nostalgia that all of the Classic devices bring with them, I can’t help but dislike the limitations of a locked-down system where I’m unable to purchase more games if I choose. These developments might sound appealing to those in the same boat, but this isn't an advised method meant for consumers.