By Harry McCracken | Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 11:32 am
(Update: Sony says the PlayStation Network is on its way back to full service.)
Back on April 26th, when Sony’s PlayStation Network outage was less than a week old and we didn’t yet know how bad the security breach was, I said it might be the worst outage ever. Some commenters argued that I was exaggerating, pointing out that the 2007 Xbox Live outage was, at that point, longer.
Okay, it’s close to three weeks later. The PlayStation Network outage continues, it involves the leakage of personal data, and we don’t know when it’ll end. Anyone want to argue that it’s not the single worst fiasco of this type ever?
For kicks, I decided to see how it compared to other well-known service interruptions that impacted millions of people and which lasted for at least a couple of hours. Here’s a chart…
Of course, it’s hard to depict the full impact of some of these in the form of little blue bars. PlayStation Network users may be more worried about their identities being stolen than their games being taken away at this point. In 2009, Sidekick owners went through the angst of being told that Microsoft had probably lost all their data, before much of it was recovered. You might argue that outages at paid services are worse than ones at freebie services. And if you’re particularly nerdy about all this, you might try to factor in the degree to which the problem was avoidable in the first place.
But the more complex your analysis of the situation gets, the worse the PlayStation Network megasnafu looks. And it’s still not over.
(Side note: Of the outages on this list, three of the four longest ones–MSN Messenger, Xbox Live, and Sidekick–relate to Microsoft services. And now Microsoft is buying Skype, which has had two of the most notoriously long outages ever itself. Make of that what you will.)