Aiming to stem counterfeit and unlicensed PlayStation 3 controllers, Sony's warning its consumers about the possible downsides of such products. With its latest firmware update, the company's disabling their use -- and reportedly dinging USB devices in the process.
Recent firmware update 3.50 doesn't disable officially licensed third-party devices. In a consumer alert, Sony Computer Entertainment America said it "advises consumers to be cautious when buying PlayStation 3 Wireless Controllers from uncertain sources as the quality, reliability and safety of counterfeit products is uncertain, and in some cases, may be dangerous."
"It is possible that some counterfeit product may ignite or explode, resulting in injury or damage to the user, your PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, or other property," the company warned. SCEA also said that users who use counterfeit or unlicensed controllers risk losing the ability to use them -- without Sony's support, future firmware updates could make those devices stop working.
According to the report, the firmware device has disabled some adapters, such as the Yobo PS3 JoyBox, which lets PS2 controllers be used with PS3; the XCM Cross Battle Plus, which adapts Xbox 360 controllers to the PS3, and other adapters that allow players to use PS2 Guitar Hero controllers with PS3. Some users also say their direct-USB controllers have stopped working, or that their licensed PS2-PS3 adapters still work.
Although it appears that third-party devices officially licensed by Sony aren't affected, the company hasn't elaborated on any specific lock-out intentions behind the 3.50 update, aside from the consumer warning -- which the company released on the same day as the update itself.
The primary function of update 3.50 was ostensibly to add support for 3D Blu-ray movie playback, for users with compatible televisions. It also expanded on the platform's Facebook integration, so that some games can pull friend lists, profiles and other info directly from Facebook itself. Its third key point was a new "Grief Reporting Function" that lets users report abusive or inappropriate messages directly from the XrossMedia Bar.