In part, it's a desire for this type of grassroots interaction and activity that leads some to "jailbreak" their iPhone or PS3. One of the things highlighted by Sony's ongoing problems is that a significant number of people are passionate about having an open console to some degree. "In an ideal world without piracy, I don't think Sony would lock the system down. I don't think they wanted to prevent the users using Linux or open-source (heck, they even tried to offer Linux at the beginning!) but when it comes to piracy, there's not much choice for them. An open-source console in the mainstream market would mostly only work with small, cheap games. No major release titles, as this would be a potential risk for those big companies."
For many, it's among these small, cheap games that the best of gaming is currently found. Indeed, as ED suggests, "many indie games are nothing more than commercial homebrew games. Some homebrew made the step to become a commercial indie game as well: think of Cave Story, for example." It's in this kind of creative landscape that the Pandora will flourish; it has already seen ports of Gish and Lugaru. So, what's next? "The device itself is awesome and turned out better than we imagined. However, there are still some things we want to fix and that could be a lot better. Production is reliable now but still pretty slow. We hope that can be sped up." And will there ever be a Pandora 2? "First we need to solve the last few issues with Pandora 1 and deliver them to the folks waiting! But yes, we already have a lot of ideas for Pandora 2 ... but if it happens, it will probably take a while! Let's enjoy the Pandora 1 for now!"
ED has his priorities right: without the community, without the dozens of people giving freely of their time and skill, without the friendships, the Pandora wouldn't exist. But I had to know - other than community - what does he like best about his Pandora? "I finally have a proper console to play all the PSX RPGs I bought years ago but never found the time to play. Now I play them in bed, on the train ... Homebrew also rocks. I love how almost each day new stuff comes out to try and play, and how these games improve upon users' feedback!" Even with its setbacks, the Pandora still has a following that large corporations, for all the millions of dollars spent on brand loyalty, should envy.
Douglas Heaven sometimes gets to play with his wife's Pandora.