The future of the PS4 MTX Modchip already uncertain before its release
We’ve mentioned a few times the upcoming PS4 MTX Key, a modchip that allegedly allows PS4 owners to share games with an unlimited number of friends, technically allowing piracy.
It seems multiple people have known about the vulnerabilities used to create the modchip for a while now. Some of these folks started speaking out on scene website psxhax, in a glorious display of typical scene drama.
In particular, one user Freeplex says the Chinese groups behind the PS4 MTX got the modchip designs from him, and started reselling those without his consent. As a retaliation, he claims he has shared the details of the vulnerability with Sony’s security team, which if true would ensure the device will be blocked in the next firmware update. (not to mention, independently of that, as I have already discussed, that Sony will be monitoring suspicious activity on PSN account and close those suspected of piracy. There’s no need for any leak to their security team for this to happen).
To add to the drama, it appears that Freeplex had actually received knowledge of the vulnerability and information on how to build the modchip from other groups, and was himself trying to sell these modchips at the much higher price point of $5000. References to Freeplex’s own little modchip business can be found back as far as 2015.
Sanyok111777, also a pshax member and long term hardware modder on the scene, states that one MTX Key should be enough to mod multiple consoles (solder the chip, do the setup, unsolder it and move on to the next console), but that the resellers will of course not make that obvious to potential buyers. His whole post is pretty enlightening (source), emphasis mine:
I’ll just leave this here before any more people get ripped off by the Chinese folks.
You indeed only need a single chip (yeah just 1 of those units is enough to pirate on multiple cons).
It works as a flasher/programmer which backs up the activation info and then mirrors it back into your ps4’s nor. Since, apparently the syscon verification occurs on power cycle, in-circuit flashing does the trick just fine. After this stage has been completed you’re all good to go — you can now desolder the chip and proceed wiring it up to the next victim-> repeat this as many times as you want until it inevitably gets patched.
Apart from making the Chinese sellers rich, the only reason why you would want to get a few of those ‘modchips’ is convenience. If you fudge something up i.e. go-online(—yeah no-online play on this pos)-> forget about it or all your shared games get locked. Anyway, in this case, provided you’ve soldered a chip to each cloned ps4 and the trick still hasn’t been patched (highly unlikely), you simply won’t have to take your consoles apart again to re-solder the chip. Just follow the tutorial and use those 2 buttons —> bingo, no locks again.
Again, the Chinese have no idea what they are talking about they just want to push more units. You can try blocking certain addresses in your router and risk playing online, but just remember Sony ain’t fools. So unless you’re fully aware of what you are doing before you even attempt to do something to your ps4 and invest your hard earned cash into this lame piracy technique, consider this:
–Sony have patched several prev. iterations of this trick, in fact this chip is most likely DOA now that the info has been leaked and the steps are out in the wild.
–If you (de)activate too many times or multiple people show up online with the same master profile, this activity will be logged and it will look suspicious. Potentially, both your main psn profile will most likely get flagged and all ps4’s ever associated with it will potentially get banned either.
–In many places piracy is also illegal, you can even face legal problems. (My dad, for example, got a 1 year suspended sentence for running a cardsharing server.)
The Chinese, of course, will try their best to keep you in the dark about all this, they don’t want you to know you just need 1 chip for all your consoles. And they want you all hyped up about it and make you believe this trick is a big deal to make more money. It’s just pure marketing talk, while in reality this chip may turn out to be a useless piece of junk before it even arrives at your doorstep.
TL;DR Buy 1 chip and use brain.
On a side note, GaryEdmunds, also a long time user on the scene, mentions the modchip designs might have been “stolen” by hardware mods guru Max Louarn (who has been involved with console hardware mods for as long as there has been consoles, and among other things created scene site MaxConsole and owns Divineo, a console hardware mods company that has been sued multiple times by console manufacturers such as Nintendo – for NDS cartridges – and Sony).
GaryEdmunds claims he will be sharing the designs of the modchip to thwart Max Louarn’s attempt at profiting from the scheme. See below, emphasis mine (source).
The person behind the stealing of your work freeplex is Max Louarn this is nothing to do with Paul Owen as Paul Owen has left the modscene long time ago and sold his interest in Xecuter website to Max.
Paul Owen is currently involved in Cronusmax and no other console mods.
Just as a little bonus as Max tried to steal from me a long time ago I have the gerber files and other files for this clone chip and I will release them free to the world on the day the first modshop that is aligned with Max has them in stock to ship.
It is worth mentioning that none of the statements above can be fully verified or trusted given that we were not able to verify the actual involvement of these posters with the modchip.
Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear now that the PS4 MTX modchip could have a very short shelf life and end up patched as soon as it reaches the market, and also potentially become open source pretty quickly.