Sony recently launched its Bid for Greatness campaign with a website allowing Playstation gamers to use their earned gold trophies to bid on and win actual items. When I heard about it I thought it was a great idea and headed on over to the site bidforgreatness.com and checked it out. To an avid gamer and fan of Playstation there are some really epic items up for auction that many would like to have. It’s simple, sign in with your PSN ID and it pulls the number of gold trophies you have earned to use as your bidding currency. Sounds great right? Think again.
Being a hardcore gamer, I have talied 444 gold trophies which I thought might get me a chance to win one of the items being offered. At the time I got on to the site the first item up for auction was a Killzone Shadowfall Black Hand Costume, already with the highest bid at 462 gold trophies. I did not think that was too bad, being that I can go and knock out some more gold trophies. It quickly jumped up to 975 and finally ended with the winning bid of 1050. When the auction closed it showed the winning bid amount and the ID of the winner, REDSOXFAN95.
I was curious to see how many gold trophies this person actually had and what they would have left to possibly bid on other items. I headed over to the site I use for tracking my rankings and trophy progress at psnprofiles.com. The site itself tracks many details and makes it easy to see trophies laid out with time stamps, time taken to platinum a game, as well as many other stats. I put in the winner’s ID and it came up with an error, but I was still able to proceed to the profile. It was easy to see within the first 25 games or so that something was not right.
Ok, 18 games completed all on the same day, possible if they all have one remaining trophy. All of them taking 1 week 11 hours to complete: impossible. They were all started on the same day. If you click on any one of these games you will see the exact same information for the trophies earned. All 18 platinums were earned on January 10, 2013 at 10:37:16 AM. Impossible. Every other trophy on these games were also earned at the same exact date and time, January 2, 2013 at 11:03:55 PM, the time the game was started. Impossible. Without counting each trophy, on average a game has 50 trophies plus 1 platinum, 18 games would be somewhere in the area of 900 trophies, not only in one day, but at the same exact time. You can look further into it, there are many other things that dont add up with other games. Red Dead Redemption completed 100% in 0 seconds, the list goes on. Below you can see the details of just 2 of these games with the time stamps.
This is just one blatant example, which up until now really meant nothing other than bragging rights. I have been aware that this was going on for a long time now. Looking into the subject, this situation is most likely using a modified PS3 with custom firmware and a program that just allows you to go into trophies, check off which ones you want and presto, instant trophies. That explains them all having the exact dates and times. Easily enough, they could take a bit more time, and use the same process, and just make sure they spread them out over time and it would be less obvious. What would be the point? Up until now it didn’t matter for anything and those that are really into trophies could call someone out on it. Now we are told we have a chance to win cool, rare, and awesome prizes, now it matters.
This is one example of request for save files. I completed the game the day it came out, the 20th overall person, and this is just one of the requests I received.
Another method is using another user’s save file. I myself have received many messages asking for my save files for games. People using sites like psnprofiles.com can view stats such as the first 50 gamers to acheive the platinum for the game as well as the most recent 50. From those lists, most often from being in the first 50, other gamers have messaged me asking for my save files, claiming the game is too hard. They have even asked me if all my trophies were legitmate and, by their own admission, have not legitmately earned all of theirs. Where has the fun in gaming gone? I know many gamers that get a great feeling after putting in hours on a game, and earning some difficult trophies.
Now, getting back to the Bid for Greatness auction and the winning bidder on the first item. I was able to contact the crew at psnprofiles.com to get more info on how their process works. “In normal situations his profile would be completely deleted but I’ve added it back to show people the issue”. So this user’s profile has been added back to allow everyone to see that not only should this person have not won the item, they should not even be allowed to bid. So far Sony has made no statement regarding this issue despite the many comments on their blog post and twitter. This is something that should have been thought out before opening up this auction. How does psnprofiles.com make this determination? “Currently the detection is all automatic based on trophy time stamps. We’re trying to get a team together to (also) go over profiles manually and spot inconsistencies”. Other trophy tracking sites have their own methods and some do process it manually. Trophy tracking sites just read the info off of Playstation’s own website, and that info is posted according to the info on the PS3 when trophies are synced to the server. All this information is available to Sony, and other users have been banned for such violations in the past.
Reading through the numerous posts, many gamers are outraged. Even the ones that dont have many trophies say they know they don’t have a chance at these auction items, but they do not want to see “cheaters” win. The gamers that do have lots of trophies, putting in their own time and gaming also lose out to someone who can just rack up 900+ trophies in 1 second. If this matter is not corrected or addressed, what message is Sony giving to its consumers? On top of that, the audacity of someone like REDSOXFAN95 to even participate and think no one would notice. You can view his profile for yourself, http://psnprofiles.com/redsoxfan95, and you can see in the comment on his account “Acheived Greatness”, and there is nothing that was acheived nor any greatness about it. These items are meant for loyal Playstation fans who put their time and money into gaming, many that put blood, sweat, and tears (and maybe some rage quit and broken controllers) and feel pride in unlocking their trophies through dedication. These are the gamers that deserve to win. Shame on you Sony.
(screen captures used under permission from psnprofiles.com)