Sony’s PlayStation Network has been down since Wednesday and progress on bringing it back up is going to take more than flipping a switch.
Sony has been keeping us somewhat updated on the situation through the PlayStation blog, stating that the outage is the result of an “external intrusion”. These “external” forces are assumed to be the group of hackers that began to harass Sony in support of George “GeoHot” Hotz and Alexander “Graf_Chokolo” Egorenkov’s infamous attacks in response to Sony patching out the ability to run Linux on the PlayStation 3. Patrick Seybold, the Senior Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media said “Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security.”. Essentially re-building an online infrastructure is no small task, and it will require some more patience from all of us.
Before Sony announced their PlayStation Plus service, this would have been simply an unlucky few days for PS3 owners, but now it’s important to realize that many people are paying real money for PSN to be up. Many customers are given free games that they cannot access without being online. The service entitles Sony to their consumers and network outages can no longer be solved with an apology.
Luckily, Sony has been rather open to admitting their security problems in the last few months. This recent change of heart has been vital in keeping their publishing and development partners happy after watching many of the PlayStation Portable’s games lack in sales because of the excess of pirating. The only hope for Sony is that they get these glaring holes in their hardware and network closed for future products.
This all comes as a little bit of a shock considering Portal 2 has recently launched on the system, introducing Steam, Valve’s juggernaut of a digital game distribution service to the console for the first time. As of now PS3 Portal 2 owners are stuck playing their free PC and Mac copies with a mouse and keyboard.
When users tie their Steam accounts with their PSN IDs they are able to access most, if not all of Steam’s features that were previously limited to the PC and Mac. The service works so seamlessly over PSN that it became apparent that it wouldn’t be a bad decision for Sony to get rid of PSN altogether and make a deal with Valve to let Steam become the official PlayStation online service. The chances of that actually happening are slim, but it would greatly boost Sony’s current lackluster online experience, and get them a head start on moving towards full digital distribution.