A stunning expose’ into one of gaming’s biggest and most recent unspoken crimes. A community of over 80 million players abandoned, arguably betrayed. A console comprised from billions in research & development labs with a mysterious leap in processor technology modern programmers could not understand. CELL costed $400 million (as of 2001) in R&D alone. PlayStation 3 was considered a joke to economists and gamers, but a hardcore following emerged despite the absence of proof for PS3’s power.
Eventually turned into the ultimate gaming machine through a decade of hard work and listening to fans, developing incredible games, enriching hardware offerings and leading the games industry to proficiency in using the CELL. All of that and then suddenly PS3 is abandoned rather than being allowed to run side by side with PS4 as originally intended. Account Glitches that stop players from getting thousands of dollars in games they’ve paid for years ago, Friends List Glitches that can bring entire games to a crashing halt; over and over again. Could there be more to the PlayStation 3 story than meets the eye? What was Sony’s biggest unspoken crime? And how were they allowed to get away with it?
When the PS3 first released, consoles were being bought up in bulk by the United States Military. It was even reported that to help Sony recover from its losses in R&D, the US Military would pay the factory cost to manufacture each PS3 at the time of launch – which was over $1,000 a piece since Sony was taking a massive loss on each sold unit. Respecting science journals published articles about the hardware and even revealed its primary use and purpose in military campaigns. US Military procedures had designed their own secure systems for quickly arranging an even amount of PS3 units together in the back of a transport vehicle for on-the-go supercomputer technology which they used to rapidly decrypt nearby terrorist communications.
This could mean the matter of life and death for some troops, and although the PS3 wasn’t the most powerful, or first processor to accomplish this – it was found to be the most portable and cost effective at the time (e.g. The Year 2006). The Army had accomplished all of this by installing their own secure systems created by Military Engineers and installed on normal PS3 systems using Sony’s Other Operating System PS3 feature, or “OtherOS” which was controversially removed amid user protest and even led to a lawsuit years later. Military charts of the time were released to the public that had shown Moore’s Law in comparison to theories about future versions of processors using CELL architecture, and the CELL was a line flying literally off the charts.
What happened to the CELL processor Sony and other tech giants like Toshiba and IBM publicly poured half of a billion dollars or likely more into? Was another version of this CELL chip ever made, and if so, is it Top Secret technology? The CELL and Army involvement mark telltale signs but are not the only parts of PS3’s bizarre and long-winded backstory which stand out. Why, after so many years of effort, was the PlayStation 3 allowed to degrade into malfunction? Could Sony have had more reasons behind the scenes than just the obvious? Does the PS3 have something to hide?
The PS3’s CELL Processor:
Mercury Systems is a defense contractor in Andover, Massachusetts, USA which supplies ‘processing subsystems’ to over 300 programs in Intelligence, Surveillance Recon, Radar, Electronic Warfare, Data Storage, and more. What does that have to do with Sony and PlayStation 3?
Although the first and most well known use of the CELL is in Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console, Mercury Computer Systems produce a Dual CELL Server, a Dual Cell Blade Configuration, a Rugged CELL Computer, and a CELL PCI Express Accelerator Board for making existing machines faster with “CELL Broadband Engine Architecture” technology also known to experts as CBEA.
Toshiba had announced plans to incorporate Cell in high definition television sets, but seems to have abandoned the idea. It appears that the CELL’s true purpose was eventually discovered to be in the secretive world of defense technology, meaning Sony had struck gold for their business but perhaps needed to eliminate their teachings of programming for CELL architecture simulations as well as remove PS3’s ‘OtherOS’ feature.
With technology being co-opted by our government’s military industrial complex, perhaps Sony had no more time for games when it came to the PlayStation 3 and its passionate community of gamers, who wound up the target of one of America’s biggest hacks of all time – the infamously nicknamed ‘PlayStation Network Crash’ also known as “PSN Hack” which effected over 40 million accounts including personal information, un-encrypted debit and credit card information, passwords, social account information, and more.
Perhaps Sony had bit off more than they could chew by mixing their PlayStation brand with their bleeding-edge hardware development sector, and the CELL could be seen as a target by creative programmers in other countries who may have had something more than just video games in mind as well. Sony could have been the target of an international threat, not just some gaming legend hackers being mischievous as the media has portrayed.
Experts say, “Exotic features such as the XDR memory subsystem and coherent Element Interconnect Bus (EIB) interconnect appear to position Cell for future applications in the supercomputing space to exploit Cell processor’s prowess in floating point kernels.” – and the rest is untold history.
PlayStation 3 Community Highlights: Uncharted 2 & 3, Modern Warfare 1 & 2, World At War, Black Ops 1 & 2, Ghosts, Resident Evil 5, LBP 1 & 2, Borderlands 1 & 2, Battlefield 1942, Bad Company, BC2, Resistance 2 and 3, Killzone 2 and 3, Warhawk and Starhawk, God Of War: Ascension, Marvel VS Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds: Ultimate Edition (No Longer Available Due To Copyright Issues), Grand Theft Auto IV & V, The Last Of Us, and more.
Sony was on track with the rebuilding of a supermassive video game industry brand. As the holder of the #1 and #2 highest selling home game consoles of all time (Sony PlayStation and Sony PlayStation 2), Sony struggled to eventually regain the throne during the PlayStation 3’s era which faced off against fierce competition from Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
Blockbusters unlocking the full power of the CELL processor finally emerged and took the world by surprise eventually turning over large swarms of fans to Sony’s brand who have followed them to the 70 Million Units of Sales achieved for PlayStation 4 since its release in 2013 with just half the amount of time as PlayStation 3’s sales period. This means the console is selling twice as fast, and there was no threat to PS4 sales posed by the remainder of PS3 functionality which Sony either purposely or accidentally has destroyed and abandoned against the consumer interests and potentially property rights of many PlayStation 3 owners.
The PSN Hack:
The Hack & The PSN Outage of 2011 showed egregious neglect by Sony in enforcement of the legally required security standards of the time.
The 2011 PlayStation Network outage was the result of an “external intrusion” on Sony‘s PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, in which personal details from approximately 77 million accounts were compromised and prevented users of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portableconsoles from accessing the service. The attack occurred between April 17 and April 19, 2011, forcing Sony to turn off the PlayStation Network on April 20. On May 4 Sony confirmed that personally identifiable information from each of the 77 million accounts had been exposed. The outage lasted 23 days.
At the time of the outage, with a count of 77 million registered PlayStation Network accounts, it was one of the largest data security breaches in history. It surpassed the 2007 TJX hack which affected 45 million customers. Government officials in various countries voiced concern over the theft and Sony’s one-week delay before warning its users.
Sony stated on April 26 that it was attempting to get online services running “within a week.” On May 14, Sony released PlayStation 3 firmware version 3.61 as a security patch. The firmware required users to change their password upon signing in. At the time the firmware was released, the network was still offline. Regional restoration was announced by Kazuo Hirai in a video from Sony. A map of regional restoration and the network within the United States was shared as the service was coming back online.
Free Games were given to fans who to this day still receive free-of-charge identity theft protection emails due to the risk Sony has put them at through the vulnerability of the PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Network system and their own mishandling of debit card, credit card information and personally identifying information which were not kept to legally required security standards.
Why were Sony so flagrant in their disgracefully poor security protocols revolving around PlayStation Store accounts? Was this vulnerability already known about previously when the US Military used PS3 systems in their counter-intelligence operations? If so, why was this not made secure by the time of hackers getting ahold of it? Was it true that the attackers who performed the PSN Hack were just underground technology enthusiasts who make money from their intelligence? Or was something much bigger going on, that Sony was not allowed to talk about to the public?
More so than just running away from the bad vibes left behind, Sony can be seen actively engaging in neglegience in regard to known glitches that arise after the release of their PlayStation 4 hardware and rapid adoption by a swarm of fans outpacing PS3’s generation winning sales by twice the amount – leading to today where over 70 million PS4’s have been sold as of December 2017 versus only 30 million Xbox One systems being sold since they have both launched within the same biweekly span of each other in November 2013.
‘Gamesharing’ & The PS3 Account Glitch:
When the PlayStation 3 first released there were not very many games for the system. Programming for the CELL architecture took AAA game development studios a long time to figure out, and with the help of Naughty Dog, they eventually did. But at first, Sony had a wide open loop-hole for gamers to abuse and through design of a backup system which was later taken away, allowed Sony to overlook the mass piracy of many of their downloadable PlayStation Network games – especially in the early years.
In order to provide gamers with a backup of their games throughout their household (while owning multiple consoles) or at times within other households, though the latter was not technically allowed, it worked and no one would stop you from doing it. This was a system for people with multiple homes, multiple PS3 systems, or a close-knit family member community of gamers and siblings, parents and children – gaming together and sharing their games together.
Eventually, Sony began to reduce the capability of this system from 5 PlayStation 3’s and a PlayStation Portable to 4, then 3, and eventually only 1 or 2 PlayStation 3 consoles depending on the game and content type being downloaded could be active at one given time.
The huge problem with this, was that PS3 systems you no longer had access to could not be removed from your account without use of a 1-800 phone line run by PlayStation Support, who didn’t always perform the requested fix if they could get you to admit fault. Later Sony released a website tool as part of the PlayStation Experience that could be used to control the amount of consoles attached to your account, allowing a short period of time for users to remove consoles that they no longer had access to – such as a console that died and never booted back up. This website was later taken away as well, meaning that any players who failed to get a brand new and hopefully reliable PS3 system as well as remove all derelict PS3 devices from their account will no longer have access to download potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars of games they paid for in full and have owned for years.
It’s happening to gamers all across the world, and Sony is letting it fall primarily on deaf ears. As one PlayStation Account Specialist told me, “if you even forget your password a certain number of times, we don’t have to give your account [and games] back to you. It’s called Account Negligence and there’s no proof of the glitches you claim effecting you being Sony’s fault.”
One upset PS3 user tells RGN, “There was even once instance where the PlayStation Network Account website gave the option to change the primary email address of the PSN User Account which prompted in PlayStation Support telling me that my none of my email addresses, username information, passwords, bank cards, or even personal information would be enough to get my games back. This was a glitch that their own website caused but suddenly I was the bad guy for wanting my $1,500 worth of PS3 / PSN / PSP Video Games, DLC, Themes, Season Pass vouchers, PS1 Retro Games, and Films / TV Shows that I paid hard earned money for over all these years.”
When the PlayStation 4 came out and users picked up the system, they noticed that logging into their pre-existing PlayStation 3 accounts caused the next-gen consoles to hang for a number of varying hours until finally the PlayStation Network could activate the Sony PS4 and welcome the user into their new game system. Upon enjoying the PS4 then returning to their PS3 system for a quick log-in and gameplay session of titles not available on their PS4, users were shocked to discover that adding friends to their PSN account using their PS4 to a number above what the PS3 could handle caused a great number of their games to be toast. This was a mean and cruel thanks for Sony to leave unfixed and give no warning to a community who had now supported over a decade of their business with PS3 and PS4 game systems, games, accessories, services, and more.
The PS3 Friends List Glitch:
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 PS3 Glitch:
This game starts out working fine as it did before the PS4 came out until over time begins to glitch and freeze completely at the start screen. Two users with seemingly unrelated situations experience the same exact glitch after playing many games together over the years and never having a problem. Eventually, the game discs which have no scratches or fingerprints on them at all – are sold on Ebay to users who don’t operate PS4 systems who claim the games work fine.
Burnout: Paradise PS3 Glitch:
The racing game built upon online multiplayer and open-world social online aspects comes to a screeching halt as random names are listed in the online friends section of the game for at least a significant number of players who have upgraded their console collection to contain both the PS3 and PS4 systems. Seemingly unrelated, the game will now work on ever user account except for that of the user who has signed into the PS4 and added more friends. For this user, the game is completely ruined. Since it is a game based around beating your friends records and meeting up with them in-game, and everytime the user loads a friends list it glitches and freezes completely crashing the game. There’s no point to continue playing and the title is eventually sold on Ebay to somebody who only plays PS3 and as with the C&C:RA3 issue, experiences no problems playing the game.
What do these two games have in common? They were both published by EA Games. EA Games is well known for their lack of character and integrity, being known specifically to the video games industry as an untrustworthy games company who would do anything to make a dollar, and try to cover it up. Countless other games fell to smaller issues that didn’t always break the game, but still impacted the player by forcing them to reset all progress in a new PSN account, use other means of joining friends, or just accept that the game they once enjoyed was now ruined by a Sony glitch.
These were only some of the devastating issues found in PlayStation 3 experiences going forward, as Sony seemingly sabotages their own cash cow without the need to do such a thing since PS4 was already shown to be a great success. Was Sony just done encouraging CELL programming advancements altogether for favor of moving the CELL product to a market of secrecy? How could a game company spend so much on a platform which has been greatly embraced, only to turn around and miss out on endless potential opportunity keeping the console alive as a second-string market as originally planned? What were the factors of such a turn of events, beyond the simple almighty dollar?
Play PS3 Games on PS4:
So this is what PlayStation 3 has been reduced to? Cloud Rentals of games without the features, without the characters and progression you’ve had before, without the hundreds or thousands of dollars of games and DLC content, Season Passes, mini-games, and more that players have invested into their PS3 systems? It’s great that some gamers are able to still enjoy PlayStation 3 without fear of some of these game-breaking glitches, and that some gamers still buy a PS3 to this day to go onward starting a new adventure of enjoyment.
It’s just unfortunate that those who supported the platform the most have been essentially robbed of their PS3 experience even though they were willingly buying into the PS4 next-gen market in record-breakingly high sales numbers. It’s a shame that Sony has something to cover up and hide on the PlayStation 3, and couldn’t even do the courtesy of checking your PSN profile for what PS3 games you should already have the right to digitally stream with their new cloud emulation service, which honestly seems like a poor effort to give a half of an apology, without ever actually saying the word “Sorry” to gamers for what happened with PS3’s final crashing halt.
What PS3 Accomplished for Gamers:
- Provided competition to Xbox 360 involving one of the most surprising and long-running console wars of all time featuring great pivotal moments and tons of successful, fun to play games.
- Achieved a new quality of standard for narrative storytelling merged with gameplay thanks to developers like Naughty Dog.
- Brought back LAN and Self-Hosted Server Gaming to games which could be allowed to live a long healthy life in the homebrew online multiplayer experience community of the Internet.
- Over 75 3DHD (3DTV) Games supported pushing the same technology behind VR devices like PSVR, Vive, and Oculus while giving users a sneak peek of what 3D Gaming ahead of time.
- Increased quality of game programming teams and games overall.
- Massive Online Community of players who supported on at times over 15 – 30 titles per year per buyer and often times buying 5 – 7 full priced AAA games on average per year or more.
- Bringing Blu-Ray into the home standard that it is enjoyed as today and also bringing High Definition Media Interface (HDMI) technology into the home standard that it is enjoyed as today.