Technology marches on at an outstanding rate, in a few weeks time the Playstation 3 hits Europe and gamers still clinging to their ‘retro’ consoles will slowly start on the migration to a newer and sleeker technology heaven. Many, like myself, will still keep their old and superseded hardware along with many of their favourite titles.

The console manufacturers want you to upgrade. The games publishers want you to upgrade. The third party software/hardware developers want you to upgrade. Your old games console is obsolete and you should be playing the latest and greatest on something that costs the about the same as 100 visits to the cinema or a feast fit for a king.

As time passes the old file formats get abandoned, superseded with newer formats for new software and machines.

I would like to see software developers and hardware producers open up these archaic file formats to the public. They’re not going to loose any money from it and it may even rekindle some interest in their particular device or software.
Many file formats are already cracked, but having the offical specifcations and internal structures would allow utility makers to polish their code, finish features and more.

Playstation 2 saves

Playstation 2 saves come in many different formats, most have been cracked by talented individuals such as Vector who created PS2 Save Builder. However some formats, notably .max and the newer Xploder save format, remain barely documented and to this day, people still cannot support these formats in their tools.

Releasing these specifications to the general public would allow those utility makers to support that format natively, instead they ultimately recommend alternative formats, which are now fully documented, such as the once barely known .psu save format. uLaunchELF has recently added .psu support to it’s feature list which has resulted in an upsurge of .psu format saves being used and new utilities to be released

Is it too early to release the file specifications for formats such as .max to the public? Probably. Would it affect sales? At this late stage it’s hard to tell.

One thing I do know is that my choice of products to purchase, and to recommend to others, is heavily influenced by the file format used, specifically if it is open or unencrypted. If it is encrypted or purposely protected in such a way as to stop people sharing, or creating utilities, I will look around for other products and recommend others do the same

Should legacy formats still be secret? I don’t think so and would like to see more developers giving the information to the communities built around their product rather than gathering digital dust on some developers long forgotten hard drive.