Today, Sony held a press conference in Japan to discuss the recent hacking of the Playstation Network and the ensuing outage of service and leak of user’s personal information. Sony’s handling of the situation has been criticized by the press, gamers, and even various government agencies, and today Sony finally responded.
The press conference began with an apology and deep, sustained bow from Sony vice president Kazuo Hirai, the exec often credited with the success of the Playstation brand and considered by many to be the frontrunner to become the next CEO of the Japanese mega-corporation. For the first time since the incident, Sony representatives spoke candidly about what exactly happened and what info was stolen, with their demeanor a far cry from the callous, vague announcements their PR reps made earlier this week.
The damage done to Sony by this hack and the ensuing backlash is immense; many analysts are expecting Sony to lose billions in lost profits, but the real damage that Sony hoped to being repairing with this press conference was the loss in consumer confidence they suffered after it became clear that user’s private, personal info had been leaked as a result of the attack.
Sony announced their plans to entice gamers to come back to PSN (which is scheduled to come back online “within the week,”) with their “Welcome Back” program, a series of incentives designed as an apology and as a way to win back gamers who were affected by the hack: All current PSN members will be given a free month of the premium Playstation Plus service, which allows PS3 users to back up their saves to cloud-based storage, as well as giving them access to free and discounted games on the PSN Store. In addition to that, Sony also promised that all PSN members would receive free content (assumedly games,) as compensation for the loss of info and the PSN outage; the free games were not announced at this time, but Sony says they will reveal them at a later date.
While Sony’s initial response to the hack was questionable, today’s press conference shows that Sony knows they’ve messed up and they’ve lost a lot of fans as result; a recent Kotaku article shows that 1 in 5 PSN users are now considering switching to Xbox Live, and this disaster has the potential to slow down the PS3’s recent growth in popularity. I know that I’m personally not going to give Sony my credit card again, and I will be using prepaid PSN cards to make purchases from the PSN Store in the future. But at the very least, Sony showed today that they’re willing to do anything to win back the confidence of their users, and free games isn’t a bad place to start. Whether this is just lip service and calculated damage control or a genuine apology remains to be seen, but personally, Sony’s new forthcomingness about the situation is enough to appease my previous anger over the situation, at least slightly.
Source: Official Playstation Blog