Last week Sony promised that PSN would be back (in limited capacity, at least,) before the end of the week; obviously, that time frame has come and gone and PSN is still offline. Today, Sony representative Shigenori Yoshida revealed that Sony is “uncertain” of when PSN will be fully operational again, saying that the network may continue to be disabled until May 31st, at the latest.
The outage, brought on by an attack by hackers, and the ensuing theft of information and public backlash, has grown to be a monumental black eye for Sony. Sony has already promised free games and a free month of their premium Playstation Plus service to those affected by the hack, but public opinion about the company’s handling of the situation remains, outside of a small but vocal group of ardent Sony fanboys, negative. This couldn’t come at a worst time for Sony, as the Playstation 3 was just beginning to regain market share from Nintendo and Microsoft, with Sony seemingly finally overcoming the PS3’s rocky first few years and nearly matching the 360 in terms of installed base; however, the severity of this hack, coupled with it’s timing, just a few days after the release of several high-profile games with multiplayer modes reliant on the PS Network (Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, SOCOM, etc.) threatens to halt the PS3’s recent momentum and squander the goodwill that Sony has managed to accrue with gamers in recent years.
If PSN does remain down until the 31st, or, god forbid, beyond that date, it’ll be interesting to see how Sony handles E3, which itself is only a few weeks away. Personally, I can’t wait for PSN to come back up, since I chose not to renew my Xbox Live Gold subscription on 360 in favor of buying all my multiplayer games on PS3 instead, and I’m still looking forward to seeing Sony show off games like Uncharted 3 and The Last Guardian. Despite that though, there’s no denying that the PSN debacle will cast a shadow over all of Sony’s E3 proceedings, and they’re going to have to do something major to make gamers (and the gaming press) forget about this unfortunate series of events.