PlayStation Classic Hacked Live On Stream

When Sony announced they planned to release their own classic/mini/plug-n-play system this year, many fans were filled with excitement at the chance to relive countless classic games from the 90s. However, once the actual list of titles were made public that excitement faded as reality set in. So many favorites like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon were left off the final PlayStation Classic list, no doubt due to the complexity of licensing agreements. That will all soon change now that [YifanLu] cracked the PlayStation Classic live on a Twitch stream thus laying the ground work for swapping-in a “more curated” list of classic PlayStation games.

Over the course of three days, [YifanLu] documented the process in real-time of cracking the PlayStation Classic’s security armed with little more than a keyboard. The crux of the hack came from fellow hacker [madmonkey]’s revelation that the firmware update files were signed with a key that had been mistakenly left behind on the device by Sony. Or as [YifanLu] stated, “One key is, ‘Hey am I Sony?’…The other key is saying, ‘Hey I am Sony.’ They distributed the key that identifies [themselves] uniquely and this key doesn’t expire for another 50 years or so.”

Once inside [YifanLu] was able to sideload a prototype image of a Crash Bandicoot over USB. He simply overwrote the first title on the list, Battle Arena Toshinden, and could launch the freshly injected game from the PlayStation Classic menu screen. The video below is from Day 3 of the PlayStation Classic hacking series, so skip to timecode (03:44:45) to see the results in action. For a bit more nuance there are another 15 hours or so of video to catch-up on [YifanLu]’s Twitch page. Here’s to everyone getting their favorite onto the PlayStation Classic in the near future.

Watch Hacking the PlayStation Classic - Day 3 from YifanLu on www.twitch.tv

via [Wololo.net]

31 thoughts on “PlayStation Classic Hacked Live On Stream

  1. I’m pretty sure they didn’t forget the key. Helping the hackers hack makes this console more attractive for lots of people and now everyone can load whatever game they want without Sony having to trouble themselves with legal things.

    1. I’m sure that’s the last thing they want.

      It’s far more likely that:
      A) They don’t care if the game library is well stocked, knowing it’ll sell like hotcakes anyway.
      and
      B) They haven’t made a console (or other hardware) in forever and the small toy-design team they cheaply stitched together to do this just suck.

      1. As a former 1st-party Sony dev myself I’d agree that this was almost certainly unintentional; the idea that devs at these places surreptitiously help hackers is, with very rare exception, a myth.

        The notion that the team “sucked”, on the other hand, is a bit unfair. A more likely scenario is that the team were actually very good but that the product was delayed at multiple stages of development and Sony simply refused to push back release dates. The individual(s) responsible for this mistake would have been squeezed in from both sides, expected to absorb the multiple delays from earlier stages of the project and ultimately pressured to rush a product out the door without adequate peer-review and code vetting.

          1. In my opinion, this whole hacking thing would not have been necessary if only the PlayStation Classic had Die Hard Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil games, Alien Trilogy and more. I don’t know whether this is a desperate move to redeem the console or not. Either way, this will take people on a Nostalgia trip.

        1. Yep, people forget developers don’t get to call all the shots, are human, and often under the pressure of managers/marketing who don’t know or care about technical issues but just want something rolled out the door last week.

    2. Leaving a key behind would be a high risk move. The project is likely in version control of some sort so it would be trivial to check the commit history and see who committed the key. If there is a formal review process in the group that developed this system, then there are also names attached to who signed off on the commit.
      It would be very ballsy for someone to include the key intentionally.

      1. People saying that Sony did this on purpose obviously don’t recall the massive fubar they made not-so-long ago with the PS3 firmware when they forgot to randomise the ECDSA generator and shipped every console with the same key :-D

      2. Only to someone who knows better. It doesn’t seem plausible that the majority of banks are still running windows XP either, until you’ve worked for one and seen it.

        This was probably a low effort, high return project. It’s more than likely the small team of EEs they put together didn’t have a clue what they were doing, being used to designing tamagotchis.

    1. The PSX’s CD drives were of such low quality that nigh on none of them work anymore, and nobody is able to play their old games anymore, even IF the CDs are still good and unscratched (which is unlikely, because the PSX actually scratches them if the drive goes faulty). Sony owes us a little for that, and I speculate that they might have felt that way.

      Now I wish that Microsoft would do the same. Because I still feel somewhat cheated after exchanging Sony with Microsoft because of the CD drive issues, only to find out that the X-Box 360 has its own bunch of issues with the CD drive. After buying two X-Box 360’s, both of which died with an RROD, now I can again not play my old games anymore.

      1. What?!?! Are you talking about the company that shipped discs with root kits on them multiple times? Are you talking about the company who sold the PS3 for years with the ability to use it not just as a console but as a general purpose Linux computer then pushed an update that erased that capability from all existing machines with no concern for those who bought it for that purpose in the first place?

        Is this the company the ethics of whose executives you think lead them to decide they owe their customers something?

        LMFAO!!!! You have GOT to be a troll!

        1. “It Only Does Everything” except for have four USB ports, run Linux, have hardware PS/2 emulation, and every other thing the original release used to have that we (Sony) removed with each new hardware revision or software updates.

      2. They don’t give a toss about “owing” you anything. They shipped that system decades ago and it lived out it’s useful life. It’s your fault if you’re still trying to use one.

        Never project loyalty where incompetence would suffice.

      3. As far as my experience goes the only low quality part was the spindle hub which weren’t hard to get a hold of with portable CD players being around and a butter knife at the time. I recently pulled a fatty PSX out of the garbage with a busted hub, I balanced Final Fantasy 7 on it and she loaded right up it was a nice nostalgia trip from the days of hub hunting. The drives still work…

      4. You might be thinking of Sega CD and TurboDuo, both shipping shitty low quality Audio grade CD mechanisms. I dont remember which one, but one of those even had a habit of catching on fire in early shipped units.

    2. When the majority of people don’t mod consoles anyway? No, letting hackers in is the last thing a company that makes money on the control of IP would want.

      Nintendo has taught them that it’ll sell like hotcakes whether it has games or not.

      1. Also Nintendo have historically always sold their hardware at a profit whereas Sony have not. The last thing Sony want is to is to sell a ton of units at loss to people who are then just going to pirate the games.

        1. That’s how Sony skewered Sega at E3 when the Saturn and Playstation were introduced. Sega made sure to get the first spot and their guy went on about Saturn’s technology then ended with the price. Sony got the second spot and the first thing their guy said was the price, $100 under the Saturn. Probably had orders with price ranges and how much to undercut Sega by in each range, Sony, being a highly diversified company, could afford to sell consoles at a loss and make it up on game sales, or profits from other divisions until Playstation was profitable. Not that there was ever any risk of losing money on it.

          Sega didn’t have the deep pockets or other products so they had to at least break even on the Saturn consoles. It also hurt that they didn’t have the devkit complete long before launch, and they allowed so many games to only use half the console’s capability. If there was something to do wrong with Saturn’s launch, Sega did it.

          With the Dreamcast, Sega did almost everything right. But instead of counting consoles sold to consumers as sales, they counted consoles sold to stores. They also failed to come up with the $$$ to buy DVD mechanisms and the licensing rights for DVD, so they sunk $ into developing the GD-ROM. (Sony was already manufacturing DVD players so it was no big investment for them to make the PS2 a DVD player.) Even so, it looked as though Dreamcast could save their home game. But then Sega cut their own throat by announcing they were quitting home game consoles.

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