The responsibility of hackers
Every announcement about HBL recently seems to generate more fights between the pro-hacking and the anti-piracy clans than the fights between the republicans and the liberals in the US. I thought I was used to haters, but this is because I only cared about the ones who came here. I used to be insulted by people because my work didn’t allow them to run isos, and I couldn’t care less.
But at least these guys were right. They wanted piracy, and my work did not provide it to them. Nowadays, however, I’m a bit more angry at the reactions I’m seeing in some comments on some generalist technology websites, where many people assume, without even checking who am I and what kind of work I was involved with, that I’m a filthy pirate, and if not me, other hackers will take care of it for me (which apparently makes me as bad as those guys). I guess that’s the price I pay for being more “mainstream” than I was 3 years ago.
I want to emphasize one more time that HBL does not allow people to pirate any PSP or Vita games. People who say HBL is “opening the door” to PSP/Vita piracy have not followed the PSP underground scene and don’t know what they are talking about. HBL has been available freely for 2 years now, and was never used to enable piracy. Other, unrelated exploits, were found on the PSP that led to Kernel access and CFW (which, among other things, allow to run isos). People who actually tried to use HBL’s source code in order to run pirated games never succeeded in its 2 years of existence, and let me tell you that many have tried.
It is also important for me to remind people of the projects I’ve been working on since I joined the psp scene: Wagic, an open source card game for the PSP; HBL, a homebrew loader which is perfectly harmless to Sony’s business (see explanation above); and the Genesis competition, a friendly contest for homebrew developers, which resulted in the creation of gems such as Lamecraft (a brilliant Minecraft clone), the PSP 3D plugin (allows to play PSP games in 3D with colore glasses), and Localizer (allows you to translate the PSP menus in the language of your choice, especially languages not supported by default on the PSP). None of my activities are related to piracy, or to putting anybody out of business, including Sony (I couldn’t care less), and especially game creators.
Certainly, my site gives explanations on how to install a Custom Firmware on one’s psp, and Custom Firmwares do allow people to run isos. However people who’ve been following this blog for more than 2 days know that I am personally against piracy, and will reject any question about where to download pirated games or even how to install them. Let me use the opportunity to remind new members that our community is also strictly against piracy, and any mention of piracy on our forums usually leads to a ban.
Now, does it mean I feel completely unrelated to rampant piracy on consoles? Honestly, yes. Piracy is not my responsibility, not only because I never worked on any tool that would allow people to pirate PSP or Vita games, but also because even if I would, piracy is a matter of personal responsibility. It is perfectly lame to blame a handful of hackers for the childish behavior of hundreds of thousands of people who pirate digital contents: games, music, videos, you name it.
Speaking of individual responsibility, I’m also asking people to look in their own mirror. I’ve met enough gamers in my life to know that those who pretend to “help the gaming industry by buying games” are in parallel pirating movies and/or music and/or all their PC software. Lots of people are seeing two versions of the laws of copyright, depending if it’s video games or other intellectual property… (“Oh yeah, but that’s not the same, I got this album from a blog of fans, they’re just sharing their passion for the band, it’s free promotion, that’s completely different. Plus I plan to go to their concert… also check that fake Rolex I just bought!”). As a matter of fact, I believe I could probably challenge most people who said that I’m a pirate, to see who’s the hypocrite.
In addition to that, I find it very ironic that some people can’t believe that me and others in our community are actually ready to pay 30$ for a video game just so that we can run “crappy” homebrews. In these people’s mind, if I’m ready to spend 30$ on a game I don’t like, just for HBL, surely there’s more than homebrews as a result. Well, sorry to disappoint, no. Funnily enough, these people are closer to the way of thinking of pirates than I am. They are already in a frame of mind that leads them to think that the only interesting reason to pay for an exploitable game is if it leads to piracy.
Finally, I’ve seen people mentioning the Playstation Suite, and wondering why I am not giving it a try if my goal is “only” to run homebrews. There are many reasons for that. First, the playstation Suite has been reported to not work for the playstation Vita yet, with absolutely no date given as to when it would become available. Second, I did register for the Playstation Suite Beta and didn’t get in. Third, I believe (although I can’t tell as long as I don’t have access to the open beta) that the playstation suite will be way too restricted for me to do what I want with it. So all people who are mentioning the Playstation Suite as a valid alternative to homebrews, as of today, are only speculating. And even if it was, trust me, indie devs will make more money on iOS and Android than on the low user base of “playstation certified” devices. (Which is not helped by the poor reviews Sony’s latest tablets got).
I also have to apologize for the bitterness and not-so-funny post when I announced wth’s exploit this morning. Not everybody is a born humorist. Although if I had to guess, I’d say people who didn’t find it funny are the people who actually bought Ridge Racer 😛 . Seriously though, my point was not to sound arrogant towards Sony, but to announce the release in a humorous post. So, apologies to many people on other websites who apparently didn’t catch that, I agree it’s difficult to understand where this post is coming from if you haven’t been following this blog regularly.