Hacking (Question) Regarding ACT.DAT file

MDashK

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I've seen over the months/years and specially over the latest few days, a lot of talking about the act.dat file.
Yet, I have something on my mind that I still haven't found an answer yet...

More specifically: I have a Vita with a JP PSN account, updated to the latest FW 3.61. Nothing new here.
However, (and this is probably applied still on this latest FW version) back when it was on FW 3.60, I noticed that there is NOT any act.dat file on my system!

Infact.. I play all the time online over PSN (with cartridge based game) and have downloaded quite a few game demos from the official JP PSN store (some of the demos even need a license, for example: Odin Sphere, Superbeat Xonic and DOAX3 » these 3 won't work if you try to install them using PKG Installer. They must specifically be downloaded from the store, so that the license gets generated into your PSN account data).
Then again, I never bought any game in the JP PSN store, so that only leaves me to one conclusion, AFAI see it:

- The act.dat file is only used to confirm that you BOUGHT those specific games. It's not used for Demos (even the ones that require a license file) nor to play online using PSN.

Only this theory explains to me why my JP PSN Vita does not have the file, and yet, my EUR Vita has the file (because I bought P4G on PSN).

Is this safe to assume?
 
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metroid maniac

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The activation file states that this console is approved by Sony to use games for this PSN account.
Each game has with it a license. That license states that this PSN account is approved by Sony to play this game.
 

MDashK

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The activation file states that this console is approved by Sony to use games for this PSN account.

That makes no sense if I have a game on a console that uses PSN services and does not use the act.dat file.

Each game has with it a license. That license states that this PSN account is approved by Sony to play this game.

That, I belive, is correct.
 

cearp

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Then again, I neve bought any game in the PSN store, so that only leaves me to one conclusion, AFAI see it:

- The act.dat file is only used to confirm that you BOUGHT those specific games. It's not used for Demos (even the ones that require a license file) nor to play online using PSN.

Only this theory explains to me why my JP PSN Vita does not have the file, and yet, my EUR Vita has the file (because I bought P4G on PSN).
yes... if the stuff you have installed didn't have drm, then you wouldn't need the act.dat i guess.
but keep in mind some free content DOES have drm, so that (free) stuff would have given you an act.dat.
 

metroid maniac

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Maybe a generic license file is in use for those demos.

The easy way to test this is to take two Vitas on different accounts with the same demo and compare if the license files are the same. Or, to see if an installed .pkg and a transplanted license is sufficient to run one of these demos.
 

cearp

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Maybe a generic license file is in use for those demos.

The easy way to test this is to take two Vitas on different accounts with the same demo and compare if the license files are the same. Or, to see if an installed .pkg and a transplanted license is sufficient to run one of these demos.
yes, it is why we can install demos and some stuff, because no drm.
drm relies on your act.dat. delete it and your drm stuff won't work.
 

metroid maniac

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yes, it is why we can install demos and some stuff, because no drm.
drm relies on your act.dat. delete it and your drm stuff won't work.

Read OP again. OP states that there are some demos which you can't install simply with package manager because they require license data.
It's likely this requires activation just like paid content does. That or there's a generic license used for every installation of this content. I don't really know, probably the former.
 

cearp

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Read OP again. OP states that there are some demos which you can't install simply with package manager because they require license data.
It's likely this requires activation just like paid content does. That or there's a generic license used for every installation of this content. I don't really know, probably the former.
ooh cool, yeah i guess some demos do have drm, not a one size fits all case :) i missed that bit sorry.

so... if the op got their act.dat and put it on the vita, went to psn website and logged in, and 'bought' (for free) the demo... it would be on your account (maybe not needed)

then they could install the pkg. -- but yeah, it wouldn't install because we can't install drm pkgs.
(but if we could install it, it would work in this case)
 
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MDashK

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ooh cool, yeah i guess some demos do have drm, not a one size fits all case :) i missed that bit sorry.

so... if the op got their act.dat and put it on the vita, went to psn website and logged in, and 'bought' (for free) the demo... it would be on your account (maybe not needed)

then they could install the pkg. -- but yeah, it wouldn't install because we can't install drm pkgs.
(but if we could install it, it would work in this case)

Read again... There is NO act.dat.
 

metroid maniac

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Read again... There is NO act.dat.

So if there is no act.dat but there is a license file because it won't run with Package Installer alone, that suggests there's a generic license file used for all copies of the game that doesn't depend on your PSN activation. Investigate that.
 

MDashK

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So if there is no act.dat but there is a license file because it won't run with Package Installer alone, that suggests there's a generic license file used for all copies of the game that doesn't depend on your PSN activation. Investigate that.
Yeah... Well... Unless those files/info are in the Memory Card (that's linked to my JP PSN) and I use it in my IDU Vita... I can't... Because the Vita that has the JP PSN account is in 3.61 already.
 

metroid maniac

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Yeah... Well... Unless those files/info are in the Memory Card (that's linked to my JP PSN) and I use it in my IDU Vita... I can't... Because the Vita that has the JP PSN account is in 3.61 already.

License data is stored on the memory card, unlike activation data which is stored on internal flash.

(This is why it's possible to swap a memory card between two Vitas that are activated with the same account and still play the games)
 

MDashK

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License data is stored on the memory card, unlike activation data which is stored on internal flash.

(This is why it's possible to swap a memory card between two Vitas that are activated with the same account and still play the games)

Hmmm... Not quite.
Those 3 demos I mentioned earlier, if you try to run them on another Vita, that has a different account, even without the act.dat file, and by unslaving the memory card, keeping the data installed, when you try to run the game, it will give you an error and tell you that you have to re-download the game from the PSN store...
 
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metroid maniac

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Hmmm... Not quite.
Those 3 demos I mentioned earlier, if you try to run them on another Vita, that has a different account, even without the act.dat file, when you try to run the game, it will give you an error and tell you that you have to re-download the game from the PSN store...

Maybe the license data is bound directly the console? What happens if you run them on a Vita with the same account?
 

MDashK

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Maybe the license data is bound directly the console? What happens if you run them on a Vita with the same account?
On another Vita with the same account? Well, I don't know, but it should work. Because games are not console-bounded, but account bounded, AFAIK.
That's why you can use QCMA and transfer games between systems that share the same account, be it a Vita or a PSTV.
Infact, I believe most, if not everything, is account bounded.
 

metroid maniac

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On another Vita with the same account? Well, I don't know, but it should work. Because games are not console-bounded, but account bounded, AFAIK.
That's why you can use QCMA and transfer games between systems that share the same account, be it a Vita or a PSTV.
Infact, I believe most, if not everything, is account bounded.

Then I guess your conclusion is correct, that act.dat is only used to assert that your console is able to play purchased games for that PSN account.
 

cearp

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Read again... There is NO act.dat.
yes i know, you read again (quoing myself lol)
so... if the op got their act.dat and put it on the vita
= you can get your act.dat

or... what is stopping you?

anyway, i was just talking about an idea, you don't have to do it lol... calm down



anyway, keep in mind, act.dat is nothing new, you/we are not discovering any secrets about it lol, it has been in use for ps3 (which has real cfw) for years.
so no 'theories' are needed, just find the right wiki or forum and it should all be said already.
 
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MDashK

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oh ok. i know it's not there. but you can get one. sorry, i thought you knew.
i thought you were just asking 'theoretically'.
https://github.com/ZombieWizzard/vita-activator

Yeah, I know about that. But the thread is not about getting one. I have no need for it, as I stated earlier.
The point of the thread is to give me some insight on why I don't need it, taking the various facts I explained, that, supposedly, would make me need one.
 
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