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The Playstation Network Outage | How, Or Will, Sony Recover?

Felix Kemp
Features, Playstation 3, Playstation network, Sony

The Playstation Network Outage | How, Or Will, Sony Recover?

Since April the 20th, last week, the Playstation Network has been out-of-action. What appeared at first to be routine maintenance or a low-level bug soon to be fixed has now erupted into a four day-long issue, with Sony at a loss to explain how it happened or when it'll all be over. At first, it seemed like the work of hacker cabal, Anonymous, who'd been threatening to attack Sony since the latter's law-suit with George 'Geohot' Hotz reached a not-so-amicable end.

And while Sony works night and day to repair the situation, Microsoft has rolled out a free weekend of Xbox Live. For the bank holiday, of course, but the timing couldn't have been better. The crash is a serious blow to Sony's efforts to usurp Microsoft from the online stage, who'd argue their service is paid-for to avoid situations just like that. It begs the question, though; what can Sony do to recover?

I own both an Xbox 360 and a PS3, and while I much prefer the latter's hardware stability and next-gen appeal, I'd go with Microsoft's console every day of the week when its comes to online. It's no secret Sony is playing catch-up to Live's slew of features, and while offering customers the chance to game online for free is a major differentiator, Sony has yet to reap the rewards of their generosity.

The Playstation Network has made major leaps forward in the last couple of years, but an outage like this - where Sony is scrambling to find out what or who caused the problem, and how they can repair it - makes me glad I invest in Xbox Live's stability. I bought my last Xbox Live Gold Membership for thirty pounds, and it included an extra two months free. That equates to less than three pounds a month. For that, I can enjoy all the best parts of Xbox Live and feel safe in the knowledge that a crash - if it were to occur - is more likely to be a hardware glitch of malfunction and be repaired very soon.

What's most concerning about the Playstation Network outage is just what caused it. We don't know, and Sony doesn't seem to either. Of course, they claim to be 'investigating every possibility', and have even had to admit an outside party may be responsible. The obvious answer was Anonymous, although they've been pretty explicit in stating they are not behind the attack. Whether they're telling the truth or not is unclear; but I'd imagine they'd be pretty chuffed if they were.

More is at stake than Sony's reputation, however; paying PSN subscribers store confidential information on their accounts, and with the attack bringing down the entire service, it's not beyond imagination to think accessing accounts is possible. What if those responsible hacked all our accounts and stole precious data, like credit card details? Then the issue would be far more dire.

The Playstation Network won't be back online today. And by the looks of things, it won't be back tomorrow, either. Sony's rhetoric so far has been less than comforting. They appear worried and worryingly baffled. When the service is back up and running, it'll be interesting to see how Sony can convince us it won't happen again? It obviously requires further safe-proofing, but would that mean Sony needs to now start charging for being a PSN subscriber? That might sound ridiculous, but major network improvements require manpower, and that demands money. Sony has only recently started making money off just subscribers - with their PSN + option - but could we see them employing a model similar to Microsoft's in the future?

Rest assured we'll be all over the PSN outage situation in the coming weeks, and will report on it as soon as developments occur. In the meantime, enjoy your bank holiday, Dealspwners!

Add a comment68 comments
damm al hackers  Apr. 24, 2011 at 18:18

i hope george hotz die!!!!! someone shoul kill him.

PSN plusser  Apr. 24, 2011 at 18:23

They could always give away a free copy of "undertow" to paid subscibers of PSN+, it seemed to make people forget xbox live being up and down like a yo-yo over holiday seasons :p

The fact its down isnt a biggie, its been the lack of communication, dont wait for your userbase to be so pissed of they demand answers, get the answers in there first, the answer then given has been uninformative to say the least.

gsrfd  Apr. 24, 2011 at 19:08

Argument makes no sense. Live had a similar outage a few years back.

Jonathan Lester  Apr. 24, 2011 at 19:26

I truly hope that this outage is making friends get together and play SPLIT-SCREEN multiplayer. If so, it's a blessing in disguise.

bob  Apr. 24, 2011 at 19:43

And thats pretty much the only time live has been down unofficially, that one christmas when CoD:MW1 was released and every rushed to buy 360s and swarmed the servers, everything else has been planned maintenance. Even when it did go down it was still possible for people to get on LIVE all be it it was sluggish, but still possible.

Difference between LIVE and PSN is LIVE is pretty much a paid service, again, microsoft didnt have to had out compo but they did. PSN has been down so many times its never a surprise when it is down, maybe something should be given to playstation plus members, but i doubt they'll do it.

Sony is now the lines "we're rebuilding our systems", so someone did a good number on their systems and either damaged stuff or has Sony scared, theyre pretty much following the best plan of action for a severe security breach, especially if they don't know if the attacker still has access or what exactly they've done. Its bad news for PSN users in the long run though because if Sony is rebuilding their internal systems its probably going to take quite a lot of load balancing/configuration tweaking/etc of their internal systems to get things smooth. Could be a while before PSN is acting as "normal" again.

Should have bought a PC instead of a wannabe ponybox...

A7X MARINE  Apr. 24, 2011 at 19:51

So PSN went down the day that portal 2 came out.......Maybe the valve ARG is not over........Maybe Glados is still hard at work........... Who knows..........

gsrfd  Apr. 24, 2011 at 19:52

There's been no such outage for PSN in the past. While it's certainly true that PSN has odd blips here and there, on the whole it's online. Not as consistent as Live, but that's not the point.

And how do you know Sony won't give out some free game? Microsoft did have to give compensation as it's a paid service. If the service goes down then the customer would be paying for nothing.

JoKEr82  Apr. 24, 2011 at 20:02

No warranty is given about the quality, functionality, availability or performance of Sony Online Services, or any content or service offered on or through Sony Online Services. All services and content are provided “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” with all faults. SCEA does not warrant that the service and content will be uninterrupted, error-free or without delays. In addition to the limitations of liability in Sections 1, 2, 11 and 13 of this Agreement, SCEA expressly disclaims any implied warranty of merchantability, warranty of fitness for a particular purpose and warranty of non-infringement. SCEA assumes no liability for any inability to purchase, access, download or use any content, data or service

Muramasa  Apr. 24, 2011 at 20:09

Split screen? isn't that for poor people who can't afford to buy their own copy of a game, so they have to go play someone elses with them?

bob  Apr. 24, 2011 at 20:44

Actually Microsofts SLA pretty much means they don't have to give anything, be it paid or free, i'd imagine Sony have a similar SLA, if anything Sonys probably says its provided as is and they don't have to do squat.

Sony might hand out a game to try recover some publicity from this whole nightmare, as days go on it gets worse and worse for them. The more days that go on the more likely, but if it suddenly appears tomorrow, i can't see them handing anything to free members.

Wow  Apr. 24, 2011 at 21:01

Live has been out like this before and for longer, keep overstating things for site hits.

barbarous black  Apr. 24, 2011 at 21:08

The pure lack of answers from Sony is worrying. Ive stuck by Sony since ive owned the original ps, but this is gettin a little severe. Yes its free and its not like its gonna b gone forever but these things shouldnt happen to a company as big and modernized as Sony. Fact

slak  Apr. 24, 2011 at 21:20

Yeah.. 'Cause Microsoft are just the epitome of security! Are you serious? Just because this HASN'T happened to Live doesn't mean it COULDN'T happen to Live. It being a paid service or being run by MS has nothing to do with it.

xDeFecTz  Apr. 24, 2011 at 21:22

Lmao, if it goes on to next week, I'm trading all my shit in for a xbox. Nuff nuff

gsrfd  Apr. 24, 2011 at 21:22

No SLA ever says the company can be held responsible for anything. In real terms however, by charging for the service, they would need to offer something if there was a serious issue.

SonyPuppetNoMo  Apr. 24, 2011 at 21:53

why the hell would paying for the service prevent shit like this from ever happening? please explain, i'm paying for PSN+ and that didn't help me to stay connected to the service

Tom Ato  Apr. 24, 2011 at 21:55

Hardly makes a difference, whether the PSN is down or not that doesn't change the fact that the 360 has crap graphics and no exclusive games. Sony are hardly in danger of losing their appeal to the hardcore gamers.

PSN has only being down for 4 days and people are already in Y2K mode. How come nobody's wrote an article on why Microsoft's last - gen crap machine hasn't had a SINGLE exclusive game worth playing in the last 2 YEARS???

I guess when you 360 fangirls go your whole lives without knowing what a AAA exclusive is you don't miss it as much.............I know i'd rather play great offline games like Heavy Rain, Demon's Souls and Yakuza 4 then play the bad - graphics trash on the 360 with a bunch of screaming 8 year - olds.

Shawn  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:10

360 does have several great exclusives. Graphics on multiplatforms are the same and better/less glichy on the 360. So stop ya psfanboy lies, you just look dumb doing so.

F XBOX  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:11

jesus you sound like a XBOT fanboy. I love how all the fanbys start out saying I OWN BOTH A XBOX AN PS3. an then start talking crap about the PS3. i remember 2007 XBL was down for 24 hours AN many times after that AM I WRONG? NO! i remember i to OWN BOTH. ps3 is better AN please please believe me when i say IM NO fanboy XBL TAG perf3ct shooter

PS3 better AN more first party games, PLAYSTATION HOME,BLUERAY,INTERNET BROWSER,better graphics because the PS3 is more powerful. PSN:PERFECT-SHOOTER OVER 2700 TROPHIES 19 platinums im the hardest CORE GAMER EVER! an i love all consoles i just know PS3 is better FROM experience i play HALO REACH AN GEARS its all xbox has to offer really

Carl  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:12

I think Felix Kemp is a bit lost and stupid to think this cannot happen to the xbox, free or not free every things hackable just because you pay for subscription doesnt guarantee anything.

Tony  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:17

Wow, Tom 'fangirl' Ato vomitting the same drivel that PS3 owners have been doing since its inception, well played Tom o_0 .

As for the outage itself, its the only weekend in my entire life where I have actually needed PSN, and that was because of the portal release ! I thought rather than limit myself to the PC and pay £29.99 I would buy it on the PS3 and get the free download for Steam on the PC also . Turns out you have to link up your steam account with your PSN account in order to be able to download it on the PC ! Damn you PSN , the one time I have needed you, you fail me !

Bluemoon  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:20

Don't get mad at 360 users because PS3 is offline. I happen to own both and play PS3 offline cause PSN lacks compared to Live, and I heard their isnt much differnce paying for PSN+. If the situation was reversed youd be the same fanboy talking about how XBL sucks. Btw way only Exclucives are better on PS3 with the acception of Portal 2, FFXIII, etc. Most multiplatforms look slightly better on 360 which is why I buy them on 360 cause PS3 gets mostly ports anyway. So saying 360s graphics are trash is pure PS3 fanboyism

Matt Gardner  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:44

Lots of fanboy accusations flying around here. For clarity's sake, please allow us to point you to our handy spotter's guide:


Ste  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:58

Nope just for people with real friends :) who can get of their fat arses and visit IN PERSON their fellow gamers, instead of being some american wannabe fat idiot who's to lazy to move.

Ste  Apr. 24, 2011 at 22:59

Ermmm when? I've had live for years and remember it being down for NEARLY a whole day. Could you be telling porkie pies now?

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