Sony plugs PS3 root key hole with Blu-ray serial keys

Sony will introduce a serial key system for its games on the PlayStation 3, according to a “very reliable source” cited by PS3-Sense.

The move follows the revealing of the PS3’s root keys at the beginning of this month, which opens the doors to piracy. The root keys are used as part of the authentication process to verify the legitimacy of a PS3 game, but with them out in the wild hackers can trick their way past the protection measure.

The exposing of the root keys caused massive embarrassment for Sony and could cost it millions in pirated games. It has taken the threat to heart, suing over 100 hackers involved in the case.

That may help recoup some losses or keep the hackers at bay for a bit, but it won’t repair the breach in the PS3’s hull, so clearly it is hard at work trying to find a new authentication system.

New games are expected to come with a unique serial key relating to that specific Blu-ray disc, which must then be entered on the PS3 for verification, much like standard serial keys for software and games on PCs. However, it can only be entered a maximum of five times, obviously to prevent further piracy, but it may cause severe restrictions for genuine gamers also.

Sony is already working on this proposal and has, according to unnamed source, already updated the PS3’s firmware to enact the new protection measure. Of course, old games that have already been shipped cannot have the serial keys introduced, so either Sony will have to forfeit its losses on those or come up with another security measure.