PS Vita: so wait, is it piracy or not?
Earlier today I posted about the recent leak of a PS vita game that can be installed and run by any PS vita running HENkaku on firmware 3.60. I claimed this could mean the beginning of Piracy for the PS Vita, under certain conditions, namely the fact that some DRM stripping actually happened vs. the possibility that the game in question was actually an internal, DRM-less build.
It was the latter. But at the time of writing the article, that wasn’t something I considered public knowledge, and yet I clearly lined out the two possibilities, trying to stay as “professional” as one can be in the context.
I got called out, sometimes quite aggressively, for writing a “clickbait” article with a catchy “piracy” title *. That was not the case, based on the information that was available to me at the moment of writing the article, and that I was allowed to share.
As I said in a comment on the blog earlier, there’s what I’m supposed to know, what I actually know, and what I’m not supposed to talk about, in the information I get from the scene. Based on that conflicting mix, I try to write articles that make sense, give out the required information and what is true at the time of writing, while not throwing a bunch of people under the bus in the process. And this process can be hard sometimes. Preserving trust from hackers by not stupidly giving away stuff they’d rather keep under wraps (at least in early stages), while keeping the scene up to date with accurate (and technically as valid as possible) information is how I try to run this site.
In other words, the article, as it was written this morning, made sense given the information I was given and the information I felt was ok to share broadly.
Many people in the audience of this blog know much more than what actually I write on the blog. Either because you’re directly involved on some of the hacks I talk about, or because you know the right people. Or, for a minority, because you kind of eavesdropped on some conversation that really some people shouldn’t be having in a public place. Gossip travels fast in the scene. As such, yes, it is likely that at a given point in time, you have more data in your possession than was available to me at the time of writing, or that I felt it was ok to share at the time of writing.
With that being said, on that particular article. Is that piracy? Yes, it is copyright infringement, which is what people refer to as piracy typically. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement, it does not matter how the source was technically acquired, or if it had DRMs or not (I’m not passing a judgement here, just pointing out the technicality). Is there a risk of more games being released specifically this way, on a massive scale? Probably not, given that it was now publicly confirmed that this was a development build from a devkit, with no DRM, something that is extremely rare. But is that what matters? No, what matters is that it’s now proven that besides the DRM part, HENkaku lets people run regular Vita games out of the box. That was probably obvious to everyone who’s technical enough to understand that there’s no difference between a .vpk homebrew and a regular (DRM free) PS Vita app or game, but it probably wasn’t for a large portion of the audience of this blog.
As for what’s next, well as I said gossip travels fast in the scene, so maybe next time I write about piracy on the PS Vita, it is likely that you’ll have, again, more details than I feel confident to share. Keep this article in mind next time this happens 🙂
* enough that I felt compelled to write this article. If you’re one of the people who called me out on the article, this new article is not specifically for you, it’s a global reply to the massive amount of messages I’ve received.