On April 1, Sony will release the next firmware update for the PS3, bringing it to v3.21. It seems the sole purpose of this update is to remove the “install other OS” feature from pre-Slim models of the console. SCEA’s Senior Director Corporate Communications & Social Media, Patrick Seybold, says the move is “due to security concerns”.
Sony is quick to point out the install is “optional”, but then, if you refuse to upgrade, you’ll no longer be able to sign into the PlayStation Network or play any PS3 games (or Blu-Rays) that require v3.21 (or higher). So no, for many people, it’s not really optional.
This of course doesn’t affect owners of a “Slim” PS3, as the feature was never present in that model in the first place.
People who already have Linux installed and choose to receive the v3.21 update should move any relevant stuff somewhere else, as they “will not be able to access that data following the update”.
This doesn’t really mean anything to us, but it sucks for those that used the feature. I suspect that Sony discovered a security hole, or just are concerned by even the slight possibility of opening up the system to hacking and bootlegging of the games.
The PS3 is a notoriously secure system to date, but clearly Sony fears people using Linux for evil purposes either way. I wonder how long until the first string of popular games require this firmware update for no other reason than to slowly force it on the masses. Granted, for the majority of players, loss of PSN access is already enough to force their hand.