"Software terminated, console may have been modified"
The "SOFTWARE TERMINATED. CONSOLE MAY HAVE BEEN MODIFIED. CALL 1-888-780-7690." ("強制終了しました。 本体が改造されているおそれがあります。") error message is an anti-piracy system present in a selection of games for the original PlayStation. It tried to counter piracy, but looks like it failed.
The PlayStation, just like every single console in the industry, is no stranger to Video game piracy, but the latter is one of what suffered the most (no different for its sucessor). Being aware of this issue, Sony created some measures to protect the game discs from illegal copies.
One of the measures is the use of black-coloured CD-ROMs, which is used to see if the disc is counterfeit or not (as if the distinguishing of CD-R and CD-ROM wasn't enough). Other measures include having a code printed on the disc's reading surface (to see if the code is missing or invalid) and Regional lockout encoding.
Another measure used to "discourage" piracy is a code built-in on the disc to see if the console's hardware has an irregularity. It was introduced later in 1998 (first in Japan), with the earliest known game having the code built-in being Poporogue (a spin-off of the obscure Popolocrois franchise).
How It Works
As seen on ConsoleCopyWorld.com, an extra code built-in, called LibCrypt is able to detect if a modchip was being used. When detected, the game does not boot up and shows a black screen with a big red "blocked" sign and the text "SOFTWARE TERMINATED. CONSOLE MAY HAVE BEEN MODIFIED. CALL 1-888-780-7690." ("強制終了しました。 本体が改造されているおそれがあります。" for Japanese).
The LibCrypt protection uses a Digital ID (16-bit key), which is stored in the subchannel of a CD-ROM. Until now (the article has been published in 2001) there have been 4 different protection schemes: LC1, LC2, LC3 & LC4.
Possible Games With The "Software Terminated" Measure
Why It Sucked
- The error screen itself can be nightmare-inducing for some viewers. The black background with a big red "not allowed" sign and the message's extremely serious tone is unsettling.
- Even worse for the psxfin emulator, which the text's font color and shadow inverts and becomes unreadable, and even creepier!
- As said above, it detects irregularities on the console, rather than the disc, meaning that even a real (legal) copy of a game cannot boot up. Because installing a modchip is irreversible, this means your console is trashed forever (at least for the games said above).
- Adding to WIS no.2, it's a massive low jab for those countries that can only get the console via gray market imports (which "from factory" comes with a modchip installed).
- The measure does not work on the PlayStation 2, which has full backward compatibility, probably because of different architecture or more advanced modchips.
- It is still possible to bypass, such as opening the disc tray at a certain point, even if some games like Spyro: Year of the Dragon have many additional layers.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- There are now modchips that bypass the modchip detection and other methods like the disc swap trick, action replays, cheat discs like the Game Shark, boot discs like the PS-X-Change, and the recent exploit tonyhax which don't trigger the :Software terminated, console may have been modified".