Tag Archives | Playstation Network

Playstation Network is Down for a Day or Two

Sony’s Playstation Network is down, and it may not come back up for a couple of days, according to the official Playstation Blog.

“While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running,” Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold wrote.

Europe’s Playstation blog previously said the company was investigating “the possibility of targeted behavior by an outside party,” but that message has since been removed. Hacking group Anonymous, which attacked Sony’s servers earlier this month, claims no involvement.

Talk about terrible timing. This week saw the launch of Mortal Kombat, Portal 2 and SOCOM 4, all of which have an online component. SOCOM 4 is a Playstation 3 exclusive geared mainly towards online play, and includes big incentives to buy the game new. In addition to disabling online play, the PSN outage affects the Qriocity music service, Netflix, MLB.tv and any other service requiring a PSN login.

Still, this isn’t quite as severe as the PSN problems that occurred in March 2010, when a leap year issue caused some users to lose data just by turning on their consoles. Sony didn’t relay that message to its customers until 16 hours after the first reports emerged.

[UPDATE: Sony says that the outage–still ongoing–is due to it taking down the network after a security breach.]

[UPDATE 2: Still no end in sight. Sony now says it’s rebuilding the network for added security.]

[UPDATE 3: Sony now says all users’ personal information was compromised, and credit cards may have been compromised as well. More details here.]


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Cloud Save Comes to Playstation Plus

Playstation Plus subscribers will soon be able to trust their precious game save files to the Internet as well as a hard drive.

Sony is adding Cloud Save to the Playstation 3 on Thursday. The feature provides Playstation Plus subscribers with 150 MB of online storage for up to 1,000 save files. This allows users to load their game progress on other PS3s — for example, unlocked costumes in Street Fighter IV — or just keep their files online for peace of mind. The feature will be available for most existing and all future PS3 games, and supports game saves that can’t be transferred by physical media due to copy protection.

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Sony Issues Ultimatum to PS3 Hackers

Sony is threatening the nuclear option to deal with Playstation 3 hacking.

In a statement on the Playstation Blog, Sony says consumers should immediately remove all unauthorized or pirated software from their consoles. Otherwise, they’ll be permanently banned from the Playstation Network and from Qriocity services.

Sony hadn’t previously wielded the banhammer against jailbroken PS3s, but now the gloves have come off. I’m already seeing some reports of bans on PS3 hacker blogs.

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X-Men and the Lost Appeal of Arcade Beat-Em-Ups

A few years ago, my old man and I built an arcade cabinet. On slow weekends in Manhattan, I’d drive to my parents’ house in Connecticut, and we’d chip away at the project, cutting the plywood, fitting the plexiglass, installing the joystick and buttons. The “Arcadium Newmanium” was (and is) a beautiful monstrosity, and with the help of an emulator on an old PC, it can play more than 100 classic arcade games.

But it was the kind of project where the journey was more exciting than the destination. Once I started playing the arcade games from my childhood — primarily, beat-em-ups like X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — I quickly understood how little appeal these games had beyond cheap nostalgia.

So forgive me if I’m not excited about X-Men Arcade coming to Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.

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The PSN Problem, Or How Sony Got Scooped By Its Own Customers

You know things are bad when Sony tells Playstation 3 owners not to turn on their consoles for fear of data loss, but they’re even worse when the warning comes 16 hours, and an entire night, after the company first acknowledged problems with the Playstation Network.

This morning, Sony announced that PS3 consoles, with the exception of the new PS3 Slim, can’t connect with the Playstation Network because of a bug in the system’s clock. What’s worse is that simply turning on the consoles can cause “errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data.” As such, Sony advised staying away from the PS3 — unless you’ve got a Slim — until they can fix the problem, hopefully within 24 hours.

As with any tech service outage, it’s appropriate to look at whether the official response was adequate. In this case, Sony’s clearly was not.

Information moves astoundingly fast in the gaming world. I first got wind of the problem at around 4 p.m. PST, reading a Twitter update from Game Informer’s Philip Kollar. His PS3 Trophy information was gone, and he couldn’t play any games. That was two hours before Sony itself acknowledged the problem and said it was looking into it.

Before long, Sony’s customers blew the story open. Reports of internal clock issues were everywhere, mainly stemming from the popular gaming forum NeoGAF. By midnight, one user had posted a detailed FAQ on who was affected, what to do and what’s at risk by turning on your console.

That’s exactly what Sony should’ve done. Instead, the company sat on the issue until Monday morning, when spokesman Patrick Seybold posted a sterile message explaining the errors. The warning to PS3 Fat owners was buried in his blog post. That was the last we heard from Sony. Among the perfectly valid questions that were unanswered: How will a fix will be delivered to people who can’t go online? What other data is at risk of being lost? Will people get their trophies back?

Kotaku’s reporting that consoles are now coming back to life (but no word from Sony, mind you). Sony still has some explaining to do, and gamers deserve an apology not just for the outage itself, but for being kept in the dark.

Update: Sony’s made it official that service is back, that a non-existent leap year was to blame, and that the problem resolved itself once system clocks hit March 1.


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What a Paid Playstation Network Might Actually Look Like

Earlier this week, I pondered the ways in which I might pay for the Playstation Network, because Sony is considering a premium version of its online service for next year, but hasn’t explained what it will entail.

It appears that Sony’s been asking some of its customers to ponder as well, with a survey conducted by IPSOS Online Research that lists 22 potential features. Not all the features are included in every plan, and survey takers were asked to choose the plan the like best. Kotaku has that entire survey posted here, but I’d still treat it as a rumor because it was sent in by a reader, not officially from IPSOS. And it’s just a survey, so there’s a chance none of these features will make the cut.

It’s important to note that the survey doesn’t mention any existing PSN features. Sony has said that everything you currently get for free will remain free. With that in mind, I’m torn between “Option 1” and “Option 2,” both of which are proposed for $70 per year. Here are some highlights from those plans:

Access to Beta Games: I don’t really enjoy playing part of a game in unfinished form, but I could see some members digging the idea of exclusive early access. That’s what makes E3 such a rush for us press types.

Cross-Game Voice Chat: Oh heck no. This oft-requested feature, which Xbox Live has offered since the Xbox 360’s debut, really ought to be free. But I’d really like to have it either way.

Full Title Trial – First Hour Free: Now we’re talking. If you avoid one game purchase because you hated the trial, the PSN membership pays for itself.

Free Access to PSOne Classics, PSP Minis and PSP/PS3 Themes: At last, a huge perk in the form of actual games to play. This would be a dealmaker for me.

Discounts on Store Content: Technologizer reader ReynaldoRiv had this on his wishlist. Someone at Sony must’ve been listening.

Loyalty Program Rewards: And I had this on mine. It’s only fair to butter up your best customers.

Catch-Up TV: I don’t know enough about this to give a “yay” or “nay,” but I’m intrigued.

The features in this survey are less ambitious than the ones I dreamed up, but they’re also more practical in the short-term. If Sony fused together all the above options in one package, I’d probably pay for that, too.


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How I’d Pay for the Playstation Network

Sony’s been grumbling a bit lately about how it’d like to charge monthly fees for the Playstation Network, not for the online gaming and video downloads that Playstation 3 and PSP owners already enjoy, but for additional services.

The first mention came a few weeks ago in a Sony investors’ conference slide, and re-emerged in a Nikkei interview with Sony’s Masayuki Chatani. The company has avoided specifics, which makes me think Sony is still toying with ideas. Seems like a good opportunity to toss out a few ideas of my own. Here are some ways I could be persuaded to pay for PSN:

Help me replace cable: Instead of forking over $200 for a Boxee Box, I’d consider a monthly payment — say $20 — to Sony, especially if the service went above and beyond existing free Web TV offerings. Throw in live sports, and the deal is sealed. Licensing TV content is a sticky mess, so I’m calling this one unlikely in the near future.

Give me game rentals: I’m somewhat happy paying $25 per month for GameFly, but I’d be happier if Sony let me skip GameFly’s occasionally unbearable wait times by offering full game rentals for download. Because the service would only include Sony consoles, pricing would have to be less than GameFly, or more creative. Maybe a certain dollar figure for a limited number of play hours every month. I’d say this is unlikely, but Sony reportedly surveyed PSP owners about a game rental program in May, so it’s not absurd.

Stream me some indie games: The Playstation Network is home to some great small-scale games, such as Flower, Noby Noby Boy and the PixelJunk series. I’d think Sony has more control over these titles than big-budget releases, so why not let PSN subscribers play an unlimited amount of them every month?

All of This, Plus: If Sony could roll my entire wishlist into one attractive package, I could be persuaded to pay as much as $60 a month for it all (after all, I’d be relying on the service for television and a lot of gaming), but I’d like some perks in return. Maybe a monthly discount on a particular retail game, or a free movie download. Incentives go a long way towards keeping the customer roped in; GameFly’s discounts on used games are one of the reasons I’ve never canceled my subscription.

Am I asking for too much?


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