Sony has disabled a back door in the Chinese version of the PlayStation 4 that gamers used to download games from overseas versions of the PlayStation Store.
The back door was used by holding down specific buttons while resetting the machine, but as it seems it has been disabled. Although, social media users noted that players that had already activated the back door still can access other servers.
The system back door has been used by Chinese gamers to circumvent the Chinese restrictions on games. In China, all games have to be approved by authorities before becoming available to the market, so the selection of games is limited.
Reuters reported that a social media user on China's Twitter equivalent, Weibo, got a lot of flack from Chinese gamers for posting that he had reported the PlayStation 4 back door to authorities.
In response, Sony suspended the PlayStation Store in China earlier this week. The explanation by Sony was that the store is down for a “system security upgrade”. Due to it, any new PlayStation users in China are stuck with no way to get games online, they can only buy physical editions.
Sony Interactive Entertainment in Shanghai, Sony’s Chinese subsidiary, declined to comment.
China lifted a 14-year ban on console gaming in 2014, and Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo were quick to launch localised versions of their consoles in China. Since then, only a limited number of games are approved every year, leaving gamers looking for such back doors and using VPNs to get their games.
“After consoles were ‘unbanned’ in China a few years ago, there was a period of great optimism and apparent prosperity, but it has been a bumpy ride.” said Daniel Camilo, a gaming business developer at APPTUTTi.