Sony speaks: PS3 hackers will be permanently banned from PSN

The Sony vs George Hotz case is still young –  just two months old. But it’s been an eventful two months.

What started with a hacker from NJ barely old enough to purchase liquor busting the most high-tech gaming console on the market wide open led to an aggressive legal counter by Sony. In that short time frame a temporary restraining order (TRO) was approved, an expedited discovery request asking social networking sites to provide personal client information was denied and somehow, someway George Hotz – the defendant himself – starred in a rap video, mocking Sony. Though it doesn’t quite match that spectacle, Sony made an official statement today regarding the use of hacked or pirated software on its PlayStation 3, and what it means for “unlawful” users.

Sony’s statement – found here at the official company blog – is nothing shocking:

Notice: Unauthorized circumvention devices for the PlayStation 3 system have been recently released by hackers. These devices permit the use of unauthorized or pirated software. Use of such devices or software violates the terms of the “System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System” and the “Terms of Services and User Agreement” for the PlayStation Network/Qriocity and its Community Code of Conduct provisions. Violation of the System Software Licence Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System invalidates the consumer guarantee for that system. In addition, copying or playing pirated software is a violation of International Copyright Laws. Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently.

To avoid this, consumers must immediately cease use and remove all circumvention devices and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation 3 systems.

In short, if users are caught running hacks or playing pirated software, their PlayStation Network accounts will be banned forever.

This is bad news for those who were using their hacked systems not to disrupt online players or steal games, but run homebrew programs. However, the legions of legit players who’ve had their online experiences ruined by cheaters may be less dismayed. For “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” players who’ve had their in-game stats deleted by hackers, it’s a small consolation.

What’s surprising, however, is the length of time before Sony released this official statement. News about failoverflow’s PS3 hacking venture broke in late December when the self-proclaimed “curious hackers” detailed how to run executable files on the console. Two weeks later, Sony served Hotz – who used fail0verflow’s work to jailbreak the PS3 – a TRO. And now, nearly two months later, Sony’s first official public notice is posted.

To be fair, building a case was likely higher on Sony’s ‘to-do list’ than updating a blog with an obvious warning to cheaters and pirates.