Consoul's Blog Consoul Games: Aus/Euro games do not play well with others & 2.0 uncracked.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Aus/Euro games do not play well with others & 2.0 uncracked.

So, it's official. You can't establish ad hoc multiplayer games between import and local PSP games (at least not with the current crop of games). It was already known that this couldn't be done between US and Japanese games (which isn't that surprising given the language difference), but after yesterday's tests I can now confirm that it can't be done between Euro/Australasian games and US titles either, regardless of who hosts and who tries to join. Despite not being region locked, the Euro/Australasian PSP games have indeed been changed from the US releases. While the inability to connect to import games for ad hoc multiplayer is disappointing, the upside is that some games will be released here with extra features not found in the US versions.

I'm pleased to report that the local release of WipEout Pure has an extra option on the main menu that isn't in the US or Japanese releases: "Teasers", which gives access to playable demos of Fired Up and Medievil: Resurrection. As an aside, there may aso be some reason to believe that the Euro/Australasian WipEout Pure could feature true online (infrastructure mode) multiplayer. I can't confirm this unfortunately (as no wireless router was available during testing), but the "Download" option on the US release's main menu reads "Online" in the local version. This could just be an insignificant wording change, but here's hoping there's more to it.
(You can read my WipEout Pure review here.)

In other PSP news, several websites have been reporting that an exploit has been found in the latest version 2.00 PSP firmware. (example: Tom's Hardware Guide article) Let's set the record straight. 2.00 has not been cracked. The 'method' described (and shown in the now widely-circulated video) isn't an exploit at all, it's there by design. One of the common features of every version of the PSP firmware is it's willingness to attempt to boot firmware update programs. Put an EBOOT.PBP file (with a correctly formed header) in a folder called UPDATE, and the PSP will attempt to run it, after checking that the version number in the header is greater than the version of firmware currently installed. That's been known for some time.

The thing is, once the PSP checks the header and confirms the version number of the update is greater than the existing firmware, it won't boot the program that follows unless it's a genuine, unmodified, encrypted update file from Sony. So the trademark "ding" sound and PSP logo screen displayed after selecting the icon for the "hacked" update file prove nothing other than the fact that some idiot can use a hex editor to change "2.00" to "2.10". The program itself doesn't run after that, because it's not properly encrypted. Hackers cannot correctly encrypt their programs. The 128-bit private key encryption is for all practical purposes uncrackable.

You can't so much as edit a single byte of the update program beyond the header without rendering it useless. What the video that's causing all this fuss shows is not "hacking" 2.0. It's not even a step in that direction. It's the PSP doing exactly what it should do - checking the header, displaying the boot animation and then refusing to run the program, because it's not genuine. This is a guy hitting a brick wall and thinking he's a 1337 H@X0R. Certain news sites need to do their homework.

Finally, to change the subject from PSP for a brief moment (hard to believe I know), I've written a couple of articles for Game Power Australia over the last few months. Here are some links if you're interested:
Tekken 5 Review (PS2)
Full Spectrum Warrior Review (PS2)
PS3 Hardware Feature
XBox360 Hardware Feature


Blogger Robin said...

Quick update: I've just been informed by another person who has access to the Euro WipEout Pure that when they attempted to go online with that option in the game, they only got a blank grey screen with the WipEout logo top right.

That's obviously the WipEout browser not loading a page. The Euro/Australasian WipEout Pure in-game site apparently hasn't gone live yet.

10:32 pm  
Anonymous Steve said...

And that's about the best summation of the situation I've seen so far. Nice work.

7:09 pm  
Anonymous Matt said...

You rule mate!! The greatest site for infomation about the Australian PSP. What a bummer, i was thinking that AUS and US games might be compatible together for multiplayer because of same language. Only thing is, the date for the review was in August but the AUS psp wasn't out until 1st sept so how did you test?

9:59 pm  

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