Not long after an Australian retailer unveiled what purported to be a fully-functional PlayStation 3 mod chip, Sony got a temporary injunction from the Australian federal court to block distributors from importing or selling the device in the region.
It's unclear who actually created the modchip; it's only known that it comes from China or Hong Kong. But retailer OzModChips.com sent video to consumer websites like Kotaku that appeared to show
a PS3 running disc games from backup files -- minus the disc, seemingly demonstrating a fairly rare occurrence for the tough-to-crack PS3.
Sony has obtained permission to physically hold all retailers' mod chip stock until the injunction's deadline, August 31. Between now and then, Sony will make its case for the illegality of the devices. Should the company fail, it will return the mod chips to the retailers September 1 to be sold again. The retailer publicly maintains that it sells the devices only for use in creating legal backups.
Mod chips have largely enjoyed legality down under, but earlier this year, Nintendo successfully sued an Australian distributor
for selling R4 cards used to hack its portable hardware. The company won $520,000 and the retailer was ordered to cease selling them, a development that could now come into play as Sony aims to stop devices that circumvent its own hardware.
To avoid security exploits, Sony recently implemented a firmware upgrade
that disabled the PS3's "Other OS" feature, effectively prohibiting users from running non-native operating systems on the hardware. The decision was met with some contention from users.