back to article Sony's PS3 firmware update shows how retailers can be exposed

Retailers face payouts to consumers that they will not be able to reclaim from manufacturers when software updates disable products' functions, an expert has warned. Consumer law protects the buyers of goods if their functions change, but retailers generally cannot pass those claims on to the device makers who made the change …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    is the word for it..

    Nobody has pointed out how much Sony have given PS3 owners for FREE over the last 3 years. Things like DLNA Media streaming, Profile 2.0 BD, upcoming 3D support, Trophy support, Home, Video download service, DivX support and loads more besides.

    They never charged for ANY of those, and each one added significantly to the product.

    A few idiots (Or Microsoft viral marketeers) seem to be leading army of clueless idiots into a battle they previously did not care about.

    Lets not Forget that Microsoft and Nintendo have already done the same, but the media seems to have swept that under the carpet.

    Microsoft removed the ability to batch download all titles from XBLA in the NXE Update.

    Nintendo removed the ability to play MP3 in a firmware update for the Wii.

    Glass houses and stones?

    1. rastansaga

      Re: Pathetic

      And who bought a PS3 with the expectation or desire that those supposed 'new features' would be added? Absolutely nobody. Who bought a PS3 with the desire to use the advertised functionality (such as OtherOS)? Many, many, many people. They've been scammed by Sony, no argument against it.

      Using your braindead logic, how about Sony decides "next firmware update will disable playing of games on none Brava TVs, but it's okay because as compensation we'll let you choose your start up sound"

      As for Xbox 360, it never had the ability to batch download all titles from XBLA. You can add them in bulk to your download queue though, if you want.

      Nintendo updated the photo application to play AAC instead of MP3. You are free to install and uninstall this as you desire, switching between the AAC and MP3 version. It's not even a firmware update, it's an application update.

    2. Mad Hacker

      What updates? Sony hasn't added anything I use/care about

      You are saying I should be thankful for a bunch of updates for the PS3 that I don't user or care about? DLNA media streaming? It's a game system, I didn't buy it to stream media to. Profile 2.0 BD? I use a Panasonic Blu-ray player to play my DVDs, not the PS3. The PS3 is a horrible DVD player. Trophy support? My login to Sony's game network never registered correctly so I was never able to use that. Video, DivX, etc. again not using those.

      So by your logic they owe me even MORE money because those updates didn't apply to me since that's the only way you justified this move.

      1. iRadiate


        You just negated your own argument. You state yourself that 'its a game machine'.

        So go and play games on the thing. Stop bitching about no linux support which is basically what this is all about.

        So by your own logic they owe you nothing.

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Stay with the facts

      Sony was under no obligation to supply such updates, and frankly, I don't care one iota about it. It's like giving me genuine Havana cigar while I don't even smoke. Besides, the damn thing is expensive enough.

      However, they DO have a formal, legal obligation to supply as described as that is the basis on which a consumer decides to buy a product. In this case the description failed the Trade Descriptions Act because it didn't include the statement "until we feel like withdrawing it" with all the features described. The only difference between the ability to install Linux and it playing back Blueray is that it happens to make them money, but as features they have equal value under law.

      What sucks is that the retailers get it in the neck. I'm not 100% in agreement with the author that a vendor is powerless - depends on their size. What's more, if one shows some balls most of them will join.

      However, I think this is by now a waste of time. Those who are intelligent enough to want the Linux feature are also intelligent enough to realise they can no longer trust any kind of Sony kit.

      A vendor who is prepared to remove functionality after you have bought a product simply cannot be trusted. I, for one, will not buy Sony again. So, the good news is that Sony saves a few bucks, the bad news is that that is several thousand pounds pro annum in sales gone.


    4. Thomas Bottrill

      RE: Pathetic

      "Microsoft removed the ability to batch download all titles from XBLA in the NXE Update."

      You are talking about the ability to automatically download XBLA demos.

      This was never a feature of the original Xbox 360 firmware. It was added in a later firmware revision. Further, I'm not sure that Microsoft ever used this feature in their console advertising, whereas Sony advertised the Other OS option as part of the PS3.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Probably hard to make it stick, though.

    How does this apply to software which is missing features that were supposed to be present at launch, but over a year later are broken, or completely absent?

    (In this case, thinking of the horribly buggy and feature-incomplete Bibble 5 "pro", but you can substitute for your software of choice).

  3. Vitani

    INAL, but ...

    "[Sony] told reporters that the machine's main function was as a gaming console", yet I'm sure I've read that Sony got the PS3 (unlike the PS1/2) classed as a computer instead of a games console to avoid additional taxes on electronic entertainment devices in the EU.

    If this is true, will they now be liable to pay all those taxes?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      You could be right - El Reg could ask

      Actually, I think this is a question El Reg could ask HMCE, because it's their turf. Would be a very cool update to the article IMHO. Excellent suggestion.

      El Reg - comment?

  4. Fatman

    Sony's PS3 firmware `update`

    Ah, yes, SONY!!!

    What other anti consumer moves have they made in recent years, can anyone remember?? I seem to recall a `rootkit` fiasco a few years ago. I guess Sony will never learn. There is only one way to protest this arrogance - vote with your wallet.

    Just remember - "Sony, we don't want YOUR baloney" (a parody of one of their advertising `tag lines` from many years ago.)

    Remind them that `money talks - bullsh!t walks!!!`

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Vote with you inbox

      Not that I've an axe to grind against Amazon/Game/etc., but if enough people claim back for the lost feature maybe retailers can then pass on the cost actual, and costs legal, of settling this with Sony.

      Dammit this is supposed to be capitalism not ingsoc.

      And on ingsoc, can we have this added to the comment icons... pretty, pretty please:

  5. Anonymous Coward

    SKy+ and Sky HD boxes

    Given the text of this article, how are Sky allowed to disable the PVR functionality of a SKY+/Sky HD box if you no longer subscribe to their services. The Sky+ and Sky HD box is perfectly capable of recieving free-to-air satelite broadcasts but as I do not have a subscription to Sky any more the PVR functionality is disabled. Surely the action of limiting the functionality of the box after you have purchased it and used it with the PVR feature when you had a subscription for this feature to be disabled is equally against the law?

    Anyone know how/why Sky are allowed to get away with this?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      They probably get away with it...

      ...because nobody has challenged them on it yet.

      Over to you.... :-)

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Well duh

      Because Sky's packaging, advertising and website have always made it clear that an active subscription is required to enable the recording features. Sky has also always been synonymous with pay TV. You'd have to be incredibly stupid and/or ignorant to buy a Sky PVR without knowing that a subscription is recommended.

      In any case caller ID capable telephones are sold with warnings that you often need a subscription to activate the feature. In fact telephones have always been useless without some form of subscription. Cars are sold without the dealers having to point out that they require an annual subscription and refuelling.

      Put simply:The law is there to protect you against shoddy workmanship and malicious retailers. It is not a replacement for basic common sense and knowledge of what you are buying.

    3. Rasczak

      Re: SKy+ and Sky HD boxes

      That is slightly different in that it is within the initial specs of the Sky+ box that you need to pay a sub to get the PVR function, and so what they are doing is stopping a service that is no longer being paid for, in the same way as you can't get Sky 1 as you don't pay a sub, although the EPG shows it there.

      IANAL but to me the main difference, (at least legally, morally may be different), is when you get the Sky+ box you are, (or should be) told that PVR costs extra and can be removed, with the PS3 buyers were told that the feature was integral with no extra costs and therefore should remain available.

    4. Anonymous Coward


      It depends if that was in the original sale agreement of the PVR.

      If they state that the functionality is only enabled with an active subscription then I guess you are stuck with it.

      In this case, when somebody bought a PS3 at the time that "Other OS" support was widely touted by Sony (for their tax break I believe) I don't know of any contract wording mentioning that they reserve the right to withdraw this facility at any time and for any reason as a part of retaining access to PSN, another advertised feature of the console.

    5. Natty


      You pay Sky for the feature and when you stop paying them they remove it. I paid for a console which allowed me to install another OS... now I can't.

      Hope that helps


    6. MidnighToker

      They're all crooks.

      I always got the impression from both Virgin Media and Sky that you RENTED the PVR service as well as the hardware rather than owning either.

      Its a little different knowing I'm stuck in an x month subscription to get the services I want from a company, rather than paying cash for a product that I *own* only to have the game changed on me.

      tl;dr: I believe what virgin/sky do is legal (opposed to what sony have pulled) -but it still sucks.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    just wandering

    1- doesn't the fact that the update was *optional* matter?

    2- the update clearly indicated that the said functionality will be lost if it was applied, yet the user went ahead and applied that batch, doesn't this matter?

    3- how do you measure the price of the extra feature? I for one never used, and it is not a core feature, so how do you measure the refund value? you can't just say 25% of the price, can you?

    4- doesn't the user need to prove that s/he was using the feature in order to claim damage? If the user never used the feature then the update never effected the user, doesn't this mean that the user is getting a refund "while fully satisfied" with the product?

    1. Annihilator

      "Wander" all you like

      Let me tackle the first two points:

      1) The update was optional, yes, but if you wanted to retain the ability to use the PSN for online gaming (another feature selling point of the console) you had to apply it. So really the choice was lose Feature A or Feature B. That does not make an optional update.

      2) See above. If I ask for your wallet at knife point and you give me said wallet, is it no longer theft?

    2. MidnighToker

      optional my arse.

      Going with the virgin/sky+ comparision above, its like telling customers

      "Optional Update; you can EITHER watch live TV or watch the stuff you have already recorded".

      The choice is yours, but it kinda cripples the functionality of a combined system.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      like there was a choice eother got the update installed or you could no longer use PSN

      thats an interesting form of contact....and non-negotiable either.

      Sony have messed up, they've removed a feature present at purchase (I dont care about any features added since purchase...i didnt pay for those in the shop) - and lost a lot, if not all, of my trust.

      i believe the otherOS feature was there also to get it rated as a computer system and thus avoid some tax. i'm sure some people will be interested in ensuring ALL back-pay is now given to the tax man

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Vat Man

    Being as they got a 'benifit' from importing the PS3 initially as a computer will they be paying back the vatman then?

  8. Annihilator

    Sarbanes Oxley

    It's funny, I'm pretty sure that SOX was the reason that Apple *had* to charge some users for a firmware upgrade, as it delivered new benefits to a consumer (similar to when they charged for the 802.11n upgrade to the Macbooks Pros). You would think that the opposite applied in this case and that Sony owes its customers for removing a benefit?

    I'm tempted to try and get a refund for my fat PS3... and use it to buy a slim PS3 instead ;-) I care not a jot about the "Install Other OS" option, but if I can use it to my advantage...

  9. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    It's like buying a TV then they close down the TV station.

    Or, closer, you buy a device that receives TV and radio, then they say to receive continued service you need to take a free upgrade that means your device will receive TV or receive radio, but not both.

    See, online games playing is television in this analogy, and running an alternate operating system is radio, and what you ACTUALLY decide to do is take their system upgrade so that you keep televisiuon or lose radio, or DON'T take their ACTUAL upgrade, and then you can keep radio but you don't get television any more.

    But,swhat would be the legal position if they just closed down their online play facility outright? I bet they have language in the contract or specification to try to protect them.

    And if retailers have given customers refunds, that doesn't always mean that they legally HAD to. Sometimes a refund is just cheaper than either spending time handling an unhappy customer, or just ignoring the unhappy customer and having them complain loudly in public. Even when the customer's unhappiness isn't something that you're legally liable for.

    1. MidnighToker
      Thumb Up

      In the UK

      the retailer is very much the one responsible for the customers happiness.

      That's why Comet are fixing my washing machine 8 months after the manufacturers warranty has run out.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    It's not something I have taken an interest in for ages, but if I remember correctly, most of these hacks to put Linux on games consoles are just that - they often involve some very strange and dark fiddling. It seems completely unreasonable to expect a manufacturer to support such operation (deliberately preventing it in some control-freakery kind of way - aka Apple, and probably in this case as well - is another point entirely).

    Even if the manufacturer has said "runs different OS's", I'm sure they were referring to possible official future support. I'm sure the promo material doesn't say anything like "supports hacking about with the bios and generally mucking about with the firmware".

    As such, this is way outside the normal intended use of the product and I am very surprised any retailer would provide a refund under the circumstances. I wouldn't.

    1. Rob Beard


      The thing is, it isn't a hack, OtherOS is a feature (at least until you install this new firmware update) on the older PS3s (the fat model).

      I believe that Sony even made a song and dance about running Linux on the PS3 and actually funded the port of Yellow Dog Linux to the PS3 (well I say port, YDL runs on PPC anyway, but they just added support for the PS3).

      Installing Linux was easy too, it was a case of going into the system menu and selecting the option to install OtherOS. It would take you through an easy wizard where you specify how much hard drive space you want to allocate (10GB for PS3/rest of the space for Linux or 10GB for Linux/rest of the space for PS3) and then you popped in the CD/DVD (in my case Xubuntu) and install it.

      Certainly wasn't a hack as it was to install Linux on the XBOX (which required some software or hardware modifications).


  11. Alastair McFarlane

    Sale of Goods Act

    INAL, but don't the goods have to be FFP (fit for purpose) at time of sale? (which presumably they still were)

    After 6 months doesn't the consumer have to prove that they weren't FFP at that time?

    1. kyndair

      re: sales of goods

      not if it's known manufacturing problem (in this case an introduced manufacturer problem).

      It's why you can get your RROD xbox fixed years after purchase

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re... SKY

    Unless you bought the Sky+/SkyHD box outright then I suppose they are perfectly entitled to disable functionality since it's still their box.

  13. Timo

    going to lose-lose situation

    So a company can be penalized for reducing the functionality of something. Which makes sense at a very high level. However companies like Sony who add functionality get no specific additional revenue from that (as AC#1 correctly identified.)

    So if this goes too far, the lawyers will win, and no company will be willing to update their software for better or worse reasons. Then you'll have a "Playstation 3.1" or up-revs of hardware that you will have to buy to get newer software. In fact as most companies only really have a handle on shuffling boxes around and software is hard to pin down I'm surprised it isn't more common.

    But what that then creates is that you get everybody whinging "but I just bought this and now there is another one out", and/or "company X, *give* me your new software on my old kit, for free."

  14. Adrian Jackson

    What did Sony give me for free?

    Because I distinctly remember paying £425 for my PS3, and I distinctly remember Sony getting plenty of other money from me since for PSN purchases and games. Sony gave me the video download servcice for free? Seriously? Because from where I'm sitting, not only is it the most expensive video download service out there (do some quick price comparisons to iTunes, Microsoft's offerings and buying the videos on DVD) it's also something they won't let me use if I want to run Linux on my PS3.

    Unsurprising to see the Sony shills posting anonymously and throwing around preemptive personal insults, I suppose. I've kind of got used to it recently.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    A precedent ?

    What if a manufacturer deliberately disables a more prominent feature of the console ?

    Or even an update that renders a proportion of consoles unusable ?

    Does all the liability fall onto the retailer - this could put people out of business.

  16. David Austin


    Interesting, although I should imagine not many people will fall into this category:

    - The Slim PS3's have never been able to install Linux.

    - The original, Linux enabled PS3 SKU's were end of life by October last year

    - To install the patch, you have to accept the EULA, which warns you what it would do.

    with the Common Sense hat on, only customers that bought an original PS3 new (Not an easy feat), with the 3.x firmware pre-installed would this apply to.

    If you bought a fat PS3, then updated, then missed it, then it's a case of RTFM before clicking accept.

    This doesn't take away the fact Sony leave you with the choice of Linux Workstatation OR Playstation Network Support, which does leave a bad taste. Sony are the closest it comes to open in console hardware at the moment (Standard, user upgradeable hard disks, the ability to backup your data to USB, broad Codec/Memory card/File sharing support..) So it's a shame to see them take a step back.

    1. Annihilator


      Never mind your "RTFM" suggestion, try reading the article. By *not* accepting the EULA, you're agreeing to losing the PSN/online gaming.

    2. NightFox


      Sorry, you're saying that you don't think there are many owners of fat PS3s out there?

      1. David Austin


        I'm sure there are many, but I don't think it would be possible to buy a new Playstation 3 that's advertised with the Other OS Feature, which already has 3.x firmware installed. You'd have to install it yourself, which means agreeing to the downgrade (And Let's not beat around the bush; that's what it is) - in that case, would this piece of legislation apply, or would it fall into the same Catagory as Sky Boxes, as someone else mentioned?

  17. Dan 55 Silver badge


    In Nintendo's case, the Photo Channel update is optional, it removes MP3s and adds AACs and the ability to change the photo shown in the menu.

    If you have a Wii which came with the ability play MP3s, you can install and uninstall that Photo Channel update as many times as you want. Completely different to the PS3's case (a forced update which removes features which you paid for).

  18. DaveB

    This is only going to get worse

    While I wonder how many users are using the "Linux" capability, I do know that for a friend of mine it was the "tipping point" in his buying decision. Something like well the kids can play games and if I want I can run Linux on it.

    The interesting problem for any supplier is that Amazon, if the story is true, do appear to have put a £80 price tag on the loss of this functionality, and as such have opened the flood gates for anybody owning this particular PS3 to go get their refund from their supplier. Clearly if everybody who own one of these get their £80 pounds back companies like Amazon will extract their losses from Sony.

    Their is a worry that as more consumer goods get wired up to the "INTERNET" to get "the latest update" the product you bought will change. Some of this is going to be good, like since the firmware update my washing machine will open the door at the end of the wash cycle. Some will be bad like my Sony TV will no longer receive BBC1 Watchdog as its considered a security risk by Sony.

    While I do feel that in this case the manufacturers product functional description have proved as solid as a Labour Party Manifesto. I also feel that the consumer should have some direct recourse to the manufacturer if he feels that the product as sold has been "damaged" by a software update.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    You're missing the point....

    Interesting article, but it misses the pretty fundamental point that Sony hasn't forcibly disabled this functionality on anyone's PS3. Every user was perfectly entitled to reject the Firmware update and the machine would have carried on working as before with the "Install Other OS" feature working as... er, not advertised.

    The thing Sony has changed - and is perfectly entitled to change at any time under its terms and conditions - is the EULA for accessing its *free* PSN online service. If you want to use that, you have to accept the latest Firmware upgrade (actually, this has always been a condition for using PSN, I think) which in this case disables the Other OS function.

    Unfortunately, this leads to the scenario where you're forced to choose between Other OS and PSN, but at the end of the day, Other OS is a seldom used feature for most users and PSN was always subject to your acceptance of the EULA for the service and any future modifications to it. It's a free service, at the end of the day, and Sony are *legally* free to do what they want with it.

    I do agree represents something of an unfair, no-win choice on consumers and I'm not saying I condone Sony's actions from a moral point of view, but legally I think they're on pretty safe ground. Ultimately, that's the price I suppose we have to pay for one notorious hacker's self-promoting glory trip. Blame him.

    1. MidnighToker

      read you're own writing.

      You've missed your own point.

      "Sony hasn't forcibly disabled this functionality on anyone's PS3. "

      "'re forced to choose between Other OS and PSN..."

    2. NightFox
      Thumb Down


      No it's not OK, it's called duress.

      "Agree to my terms or something bad will happen to you" does not a legal contract make.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      "Every user was perfectly entitled to reject the Firmware update and the machine would have carried on working as before with the "Install Other OS" feature working as... er, not advertised."

      No, it wouldn't. You either lose "otherOS" (if you accept EULA) or you lose all on-line games (if you don't accept the EULA). Either way, you are being shafted by Sony. Again.

      Tell me how this is "working as before" again? And how much Sony paid you to make plain lies to public forum?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Another exaggeration on this update!?!

    Sony NEVER guaranteed this facility - it was instead something useful that was added to the finished product through nothing more than a gesture of grace. It's just like expecting your sony Blu-Ray player or TV to come with another menu system to the built in system.

    It amazes me how many updates that have been welcomed are conveniently forgotten about and instead trolls will down-vote these comments (and thus prove my point!).

    I have no objections to this update. Afterall, if you purchased the PS3 for it to be used like a PC, then you were better off purchasing a laptop or desktop computer. The vast majority of people purchased the PS3 for what it was, a gaming console (with excellent media centre capabilities!).

    Get a grip people!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Peaved, but is it a big deal?

    I was quite peaved when I heard about this. I thought it was cool that I could load Linux on my PS3. Of course I never did, but heck , I might, one day?

    Truth is it aint a real world issue for the most of us. Seems a lot of people are jumping up and down on ethical reasons even though its unlikely to effect 99.99% of Sony's PS3 users.

    The guys that are using the PS3 for computation farms wont be effected as they just wont upgrade and probably havnt upgraded since their farms were set up.

    I understand they did to prevent piracy. I cant blame them for that.

    Guess we got to thank DVD John or whoever it was that broke the PS3 security. Of course he did for the good of mankind... what a great guy, ...... now Sony closed it up so no-one can play.

    But its ok, freedom tards will continue to blame Sony. Most of which dont even have the console.

  22. Mage Silver badge

    Sky PVR

    It's made clear at purchase that all PVR functions are subscription based, only the basic receiver works without a sub, on FTA channels.

    I have 100% sympathy on that, but KNOWING this is the basis on which it's sold I'll only buy a Freesat or other non-Sky PVR.

  23. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Are the reg attracting Sun readers?.....

    Because those saying IANAL then following it up saying this story is trash and this won't stand up under fit for where the story came from......Pinsent Masons........big fecking company full of lawyers.

    As for those saying you can ignore the update and keep using it, not if you want to play games. You arent allowed to connect to PSN if you don't update....and most games wont play(or save) without PSN.

    As it has already been stated, Sony used the Linux OtherOS to make the device a computer and get a tax break, they have now turned around and said its a console while still telling the taxman its a computer.

  24. Adrian Jackson
    Thumb Down

    More anonymous shills?

    Let's put the "but it was optional!" lie to bed, shall we? Sony removed functionality from the PS3. Either it was the ability to run other operating systems, or it was the ability to connect to the PSN, play your purchased media, download game updates and play future games that require firmware > 3.2.1. That they give you the choice of how they cripple your console is entirely irrelevant to the fact that they're doing it.

  25. Lister

    Sony Not That Bothered

    As a long time Playstation fan I bought the original PS3 at its peak price. I know I could have got it much cheaper if I had waited and flame me if you wish but I knew I was paying a premium at the time for new tech, I also loved the previous Playstation consoles and I had expected big name titles sooner so money didn’t really come into the decision, and hindsight is also wonderful thing. When I made the purchase I was very aware of the other OS feature and I can’t help but think that at some point Sony must have made me aware of it via their marketing. A few weeks ago I decided to contact Sony about their decision to disable the other OS feature via email just to see what they had to say. Now I'm not going to make out that Linux on the PS3 was ever going to be a suitable replacement for a primary computer but I did actually make genuine use of this feature and it came in handy a few times as a substitute system for tasks other than gaming. Furthermore I'm quite keen to keep it but I'm not left with much choice and this is my biggest gripe. I explained the dilemma I now faced in the email - to upgrade and lose the feature or not have access to PSN going forward etc. A member of "management" phoned me in the end and his only explanation was that they had looked at other possibilities but the decision was solely around security and this was the easiest option for them. He was pleasant enough but I mainly got the usual evasive “I understand your disappointment go away" talk. It’s a real shame they couldn’t have worked on a better compromise. The fact of the matter is companies such as Sony simply couldn’t care less.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Ignrant of the law....

    So, Joe Blogs a few years back went down to the local electronics shop and bought a PS3. First of all, you have to ask what his motives were for buying said console...

    Joe said that after reading the advertising it was his understanding that he could install a version of linux on his ps3 AND play games AND downloads content from PSN,,,

    he takes his console home, sets it up, agrees to the EULA, installs linux, plays games watches /download content from PSN and uses the install of linux to check his emails, brows the web, play on farmville or mafia wars..... all as described in the original advertising, the reason why he bought the console...

    a few years later, Sony get a little windy about how people may be using linux on the hardware so decide to change the firmware to now take away functionality... they say you don’t have to install the new update, but if you dont you loose the ability to use PSN.. Well i will want compensating for the lack of PSN.

    If the EULA states that sony at any time may alter the functionality of the console at any time or withdraw access to a service at any time and you have to agree to it to set up your PS3 you could argue that this is an unfair term as you have to agree to something that you may not agree with as you don’t know what it is... what if sony wanted to change functionality to block the use of the BR drive? you have already agreed to it so is it fair? also, how may parents bought the PS3 for the kids? what is the legal age to agree to a contract? you cant even argue that it is the purchaser of the console, it says it in the EU bit of EULA.

    Legally, end user licence agreements are very iffy... I have very serious doubs to how most of them will stand up to a serious well funded court action.

    End of the day, they took something away that was part the reason you bought said item... I would want compensation.

  27. kyndair

    retailers do hold some power

    (Big) Retailers hold the power over manufacturers for the simple reason they're the ones who decide what the customer gets to see, if the manufacturer wants a good spot in the store or on the web site (or even just to be there at all) they give the retailer a reason to do it (rebates, discounts, etc.). Leaving them with a big expensive mess will just mean the buyer will ask for more from the manufacturer next time around.

  28. asdf

    Don't worry sun is setting on Sony empire

    Was going to go on long rant but fact is Sony's electronics side has not been relevant for quite some time now (see disappointing sales of PS3 and Blueray, and fact we say iPod instead of iWalkman). The reason is because the media side of Sony calls the shots and the fact is people are not stupid and reject Sony's lame DRM laced products. The fact is when one purchases hardware they consider it THEIRS and don't much care for a company dictating how must use that product. Hey Sony answer this if it was so critical to remove this functionality and keep the PS3 unbreakable how come the PS3 has been so much less profitable than the easily hacked WII or even Xbox 360 (would be even worse if M$ were not so incompetent at building hardware). Remember public continue to say no to big biz telling us exactly how to be a sheeple consuming what they selling, mortgaging our future.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    What do you expect ?

    That'll teach people for doing business with the evil that is Sony.

  30. asdf

    what sucks about El Reg

    Bah when you do get article worth posting on, by the time us merkins get to read and post usually the author is already having pints down at the pub. By time comment appears article on page 2 :(. <flag waving>Oh well still better to live in the greatest country in the history of mankind woohoo! </flag waving>

    1. Goat Jam


      You should try reading it from Australia mate.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      " the time us merkins get to read and post usually the author is already having pints down at the pub."

      As a merkin, you should be used to being shafted.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "What other anti consumer moves have they made in recent years, can anyone remember?? I seem to recall a `rootkit` fiasco a few years ago. "

    I do remember that the rootkit was Sony BMG (half owned by Bertelsmann AG, i.e. not Sony ) - but I never heard anyone moan about the 'Bertelsmann rootkit'. If you care to observe, you may notice that Sony Music Entertainment (as they became after Sony bought out Bertelsmann) have slightly improved their general behaviour since becoming Sony proper.

    1. asdf

      nice PR move

      That right try and blame BMG when after all it was a Sony VP that was canned for doing Sir Howards dirty work. Don't the unwashed masses understand how much better the world would be if big media could dictate exactly how consumers should behave? Ah the world was a better place about 1900 when a handful of trusts could do exactly that (bring back childhood labor, 80 hour 7 days a week jobs and strikebusters with golf clubs for those that get out of line).

  32. asdf

    Sony media > electronics

    Sony is the perfect example of why media companies generally fail at consumer electronics. Too much vested interest in controlling how the sheeple consume their media and as a result even Joe Sixpack eventually resents DRM and the pain the butt it causes (what cant play legitimately purchased disc from another region, what can't play your PS3 on March 1st because Sony bought a dodgy clock and assumes the whole world are thieves). In addition the DRM generally only stops the hackers for hours instead of minutes. Joe votes with his wallet and the result is Blueray adoption sucks, the PS3 is in third place, and Sony starts recording unprofitable quarters. Ah how the free market punishes broken business models.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Okay - suck on this analogy!

    A person joins a bank in order to issue cheques. However, in view of the amount of cheque fraud the bank have been hit with, as well as the fact that it is not a popular method of making payment now - the bank have seen fit to stop issuing chequebooks to customers' and will be phased out.

    Why should the bank continue to pay for and supply a facility that is flawed, causes financial loss for the bank and is not commonly used.

    The bank are acting this way to prevent loss that would be detrimental to its future and to move with the times (environmental etc.).

    However, the chequebook facility was advertised as an available facility at the time the account was opened.

    Why should this person complain? And how many of you have complained over the several banks who no longer issue chequebooks? How many of you will complain that the remaining banks are phasing this facility out also?

    Fact is, not many of you. If you do complain it will be for the hell of it and no other reason.

    Same argument with Sony. This facility is not used by many people when compared against the remaining customer base. Fact is, the vast majority of people who purchased a ps3 did not intend to use it for Linux and instead as a games console/media centre.

    So people... Go and buy a laptop or something if you want to continue using Linux.

    1. asdf

      all hail the shill coward

      Thats right the coward and Sony knows whats best for us. Thats right how dare we use our hardware we bought to run programs we have the right to run (note to Sony just because you don't get a cut doesn't mean all software is pirated). Sony never had any desire for people to run linux anyway. This was just a bait and switch so that Sony could get the lower VAT and tariffs on computers instead of consumer electronics. I hope the Euros do what they do best and tax the crap out of Sony for admitting they were gaming the system.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


        Just let the coward be. I've learned that some people just can't see when they are being f**ked by someone. They are used to live on handouts that someone else gives to them - council house, cash benefits - so they don't know the value of private property. Big Brother gives, Big Brother takes it away. The right place for them to live in is the North Korea.

    2. Busted

      Do you work for Sony or something.

      Just to shoot your analogy,

      1. did I buy the bank?

      2. did I buy the account?

      3. can I go and open another account at no extra cost to me?,,3.yes

      A better comparison would have been if I purchased a Worldwide Ticket that let me fly return anywhere in the world and then they decided it was only a single.

      Big government and business sucks Sony included!

    3. John Bailey

      Slight flawin the analogy

      So when you can't use cheques any more, the bank can refuse you access to your money yes?

      Sorry.. Doesn't work like that. Cheques are being phased out yes.. But the money is still yours, and there are several ways of getting it out of your account, and into the hands of someone else.

      The problem with using real world analogies to defend the down right consumer abusive practices of computer/media companies is that there is no real world analogies that fit. Nobody would have the nerve to pull some of the strokes they do.

      With the Sony firmware update, as far as I know, they took away the ability to run Linux, and enforced the update by making it impossible to access already purchased content that plays through an on-line aspect of the console. So basically held the content hostage. This is not really acceptable. Even if only half a dozen people are inconvenienced by it.

      You have a choice. Use it as a computer, or use it as a games console. Can't do both. This is why people are annoyed. The numbers don't really matter, and Sony was I'm sure, fully aware that this would annoy many people. But why would they care, they can't be touched by this..

      Personally, I hope enough people kick up a big enough stink over this that Sony get a nasty little shock.

      Me? Sorry.. Not stupid enough to rent content. So no console. And I use Linux, so my computer gets more functional every update.. Not less.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    There is hope..

    1. Anonymous Coward


      It was that guy's meddling that caused this stink in the first place!!!

      So why isn't this guy the target for all of your hate?

      Troll on people!

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Trolltard, he decided to open up the PS3. At no point has he ever condoned piracy (which is really all your bleating about). If i buy a car and then modify it to make it do something else, the manufactures DONT then decide to en mass disable that feauture. When i BUY something its MINE to do with what i like, and if thats reverse engineering it, then so be it.

        I see that you dont even have the minerals to display your real name.

        I'll tell you this, twats like you will be the first in the queue when the PS3 mod chip arrives whilst you still hide behind your anonymous tag. Least i DO have the stones to say this,

        My 360 is "chipped" my Wii is chipped, my PS2 is chipped, in fact everything that i own that CAN be modded, is so!

        Doesnt mean im a pirate! Just a consumer exercising the right that what i buy is mine to do with whatever i see fit.


  35. asdf

    PS3 it only does ...

    everything that Sony's shareholders approve of. Like I said this issue would not be so bad if Sony hadn't bold faced lied several months back that they would keep the OtherOS on the fattys. As for security, ok Sony you have the most secure console in the history of mankind now hows that attach rate working out for ya? What the worse in the industry? Hahaha. Curse the Welsh with veneral diseases for giving us the demon spawn that is Howard Stringer.

  36. Cowboy Bob
    Thumb Up

    The Law

    No need for speculation, the law is very simple and clear as is demonstrated in the article. The Sale Of Goods Act trumps any EULA or any contract that you may or may not sign with whatever small print may be buried in it. I know, I've been there and done that and got the refund. The general rule of thumb for an electronic device is that it must be working with all its *original* features for about 6 years (not always that long, but nearly always - its estimated on "expected" lifetime) or you are entitled to your money back. The word "original" is important. You can add new features, but you can't take away features that were present at the point of sale. It's as simple as that. Ignore what any shop assistants/managers say, they will always try to wriggle their way out of it. Especially ignore what the manufacturer says as it is not them who you will be dealing with. You don't even need a receipt - the manufacturer can verify which retailer a given serial number was sold from.

    On top of that, the EU directive on consumer protection allows the retailer the same rights as the consumer upwards in the chain. Sony WILL pay out when the retailers come calling or they will find themselves in a court case that they will definitely lose.

    Thank $deity for a decent set of consumer protection laws this side of the pond.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Boring me now!

    Wow... So many 360 fanboys pretending to be annoyed PS3 owners!...

    Fact is - nobody seriously cares about the 'other OS' feature.... FACT!

    Go troll somewhere else!!!

  38. Paul

    bought my phat from sainsburys specifically to get otheros

    I bought a remaindered phat from sainsburys, knowing it was more power-hungry than the slim so that I could install linux (ubuntu as it happens) after upgrading the hard drive to 320GB

    I am now stuck as I have credit in the PSN Store which I can't access, even though I did the DNS + web server hack to fool the PS3 into not expecting a firmware update.

    I shall dig out my receipt and phone sainsburys to complain; perhaps they are big enough to have a fight with Sony?

  39. Anonymous Coward

    take it back, take them all back...

    and watch Sony burn their sales channel...

    and also their blu-ray seeding programme.

  40. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Jobs Horns

    I learnt...

    Never to trust Sony ever again.

    I wholeheartedly advocate the condemnation and global boycott of all Sony products. Sony are as evil as this fuckwit I have iconised for this post.

  41. David 141

    engineers vs PHBs

    Bit simplistic to say that Sony = Evil

    More likely it is PHB = Evil. I doubt the engineers decided to remove the alternate OS option.

    (Where is the PHB icon?)

  42. Anonymous Coward

    re: Don't worry sun is setting on Sony empire

    Clearly the Microsoft shills are out..

    Ouch... This is also US only, imagine what that pie would look like if it includes Europe and Japan, where the PS3 is killing the Xbox in sales...

    You might also want to look at the Blu-Ray sales increase news on El-Reg from a couple of days ago.

    Back on topic. Nobody cares about OtherOS. It was called "gimped" by the few people that did use it, it got abused by hackers, and is now gone. It was never advertised on the box, handbook or Sony marketing, so can't really be called "bait and switch" (which is a US term anyway, which shows where the Microsoft shills are really from). Finally, the EULA and Terms of use state that Sony can change the experience. 99/100 this means they will add features for free. this time they took something away.

    Some people need to get a grip on reality it seems.

  43. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    C'mon people

    Stop complaining.

    Buy PS3

    Buy Blu-Ray

    Buy games on Steam

    Bend over - it's your civic duty to be screwed.

    Those who complain will not be given any free vaseline.

  44. Adrian Jackson

    Seriously, why are all the shills anonymous?

    It annoys me. We have a number of people (or maybe a single very insistent individual) who don't have the guts to reveal who they are, crying that we should all ignore our legal rights and allow Sony to set anti-consumer precedents. They're also relying on feeble ad hominem arguments.

    To these people I say this:

    Screw you. You have no right to make assumptions about me and my use of or interest in Other OS. You have no right to tell me that I shouldn't be worried about the erosion of consumer rights. You ignore the legal aspects of this case (hell, we're discussing it in an article where people who *are* lawyers are expressing the opinion that the retailers are on the hook for this illegal activity and you're still coming out with the same tired bad analogies and excuses) and try to put the blame for Sony's actions in places where it doesn't belong - Sony are the ones changing the product that I've bought in a way that reduces functionality. Not GeoHot. Not Microsoft. Sony.

    They're hoping the problem will go away. If it does go away, then as consumers we're accepting that manufacturers get to change the functionality of the devices they sell us without any good reason and without any form of compensation. It's that simple.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Blame Sony.... blah blah blah

    I think that only Sony PS3 owners should post here as its clear from the tone of many posters that most don't own and never will own a Sony product yet alone a PS3.

    I got a PS3 and a few other Sony products. Guess what I like them!!! . (Oh yeah, I got some Apple products and some Microsoft products too. I like them also. I also use Linux when i want to get in touch with my freetard side. )

    I would have been happy if that retard hadnt broken the security of the PS3 and forced Sony's hand.

  46. asdf

    Re: Boring me now!

    >Wow... So many 360 fanboys pretending to be annoyed PS3 owners!...

    Umm see many on here actually have decent paying jobs and don't only own only one system because that is all mommy will buy us. I have owned all three and basically like and hate all three for different reasons. I am also a rare owner that actually has used the otherOS in the past (gave up and just run F@H now) to run BOINC programs to actually benefit science in gaming downtime. Too bad the Cell BE turned out being such a dog that even IBM is no longer making new versions, so loss of computing power with OtherOS gone is not all the significant any more (Tesla cards so much faster). Basically all three companies do suck in various ways but Sony is the only one funding the RIAA and MPAA and at the same time forcing trojan horse electronics on us.

  47. asdf
    Thumb Up


    >As a merkin, you should be used to being shafted.

    Some would say karma but then again people finally starting to look positively at America again. Still if our government and media weren't so evil and corrupt wouldn't be so many of us on this site. Brits still pretty much the bastion of good journalists these days.

  48. asdf

    3 years in and the fanbois haven't admitted defeat

    >Clearly the Microsoft shills are out..

    Lmao hardly, the only two companies I rip on more than Micro$haft are Sony and Adobe and yes Microsoft also sucks balls for trying to control what software I can run on MY hardware also(which is also likely to fail in in epic fashion) and is the reason I gave away my Xbox 360.

    >Ouch... This is also US only, imagine what that pie would look like if it includes Europe and Japan, where the PS3 is killing the Xbox in sales...

    Lmao just the fact you are bragging Sony is finally passing the afterthought that is the Xbox with its massive hardware fails shows just how bad things have gotten for Sony. Never mind the PS3 would need to sell at least 3 times as many boxes as it already has just to catch the WII or even the PS2. Much like Nintendo learned in the early mid 90s you get arrogant in the console market and another company will come along and bury you. Yes the WII is lame, the games are for those without pubes, the hardware is so 2003, but at least I can run whatever software I want on it (also LMAO at Nintendo's lame attempts at DRM). The only redeeming quality about my PS3 imho is that I can play exclusives that I can't play on my PC (which for most part Xbox rarely can claim) but no way if I could go back would I spend $600 again just to be able to play the at most 3 high quality exclusive games a year actually worth buying (no PS3tards Lair does not count, lol).

  49. asdf

    Kevin Butler stfu and quit going anon

    >Finally, the EULA and Terms of use state that Sony can change the experience. 99/100 this means they will add features for free. this time they took something away.

    You keep believing that shrink wrap EULA are be all end all and by pressing the O button you can sign away legal rights the law says can't be taken away. Also keep believing Sony is out there to give you free stuff, and not to take away not only your money but your rights as well.

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