The past few weeks have been incredibly rough for Sony. The trouble all started when a hacker broke into the Playstation Network, causing Sony to bring the network down. Gamers became confused and puzzled and wanted to know details. It took two days for Sony to respond, saying that the service was brought down due to attacks on the network from external sources. At the time there was no mention of millions of gamer’s information possibly being stolen, including credit card information. It would take Sony several more days to mention that. Tomorrow, after almost two weeks of down time, Playstation Network might come back online. Sony has announced a “Welcome Back” program designed to win back some scorned gamers. But is it enough?
This program will grant Playstation Network gamers 30 days of PSN Plus service free as well as additional free content. This is good I suppose, as really Sony didn’t have to do anything. Sony fails to mention however that any free content downloaded will require PSN Plus to use after the 30 day free period. But does 30 days of a service that is mostly free anyways ease the sting of not being able to play online for almost two weeks? The timing couldn’t have possibly been worse. Three big releases on Sony’s platform hit the shelves just before the PSN shutdown. Socom 4, Portal 2, and Mortal Kombat were all anticipated titles and each game has major online components. The Socom series has revolved around online multiplayer, so I can only imagine how angry gamers were when the weekend rolled around and they were unable to play. Portal 2 features an entire cooperative campaign separate from the single-player. This section of the game was unplayable for many gamers due to the PSN outage. Mortal Kombat, the heavily anticipated franchise reboot, features numerous online battle modes, once again made unplayable by the outage.
That is not to say this is all Sony’s fault, though certainly part of the blame is on them. For such a giant gaming network which hosted 77 million players to be brought down so easily is definitely a problem. Hopefully Sony has learned from this grievous error and won’t make the same mistake again.
Sony has a lot of ground to recover, as many of their 77 million PSN users finally begin playing online again (hopefully) on May 3rd. While in the long run the event will surely be mostly forgotten, it remains to be seen how gamers over the next couple weeks will feel about the “Welcome Back” program and Sony’s attempt to appease gamers for two weekends of no online functionality. Good luck, Sony, you are going to need it.