After many weeks without access to online gaming, the PlayStation Network has started rolling its service back to the masses. According to reports, the service will be rolled out in stages and the projected goal is to have all areas up and running for the network across the globe by May 31. Sony is announcing a few perks for the inconvenience and to coax the gamers and consumers back to their market. Sony will be offering 30 days free of PlayStation Plus access, 30 days free access to Music Unlimited from Qriocity, and free identity theft monitoring from Debix. There has been talk of free downloads but nothing has been officially announced from Sony.
Now there is a couple different ways you can look at what happen to Sony and us as consumers who use the PSN for gaming and other downloads. The first would be that to go back to them is crazy. Why would anyone want to go back to a company that held back the truth as long as they could until they were forced to play their hand? Why risk having my information stolen again from the online service? The second would be to look past the fact that information was compromised and to think on why it was compromised. My personal feeling is this was more an attack on Sony than an attack on getting consumer information. If I was looking to crack any online service to obtain personal information and credit cards would be Microsoft and their Xbox Live service. Xbox Live has always been a pay to play service and around a lot longer than Sony’s. This was clearly a message sent to Sony as to not underestimate the power of the little guys. When George Hotz aka “GeoHot” was sued by Sony, it created uproar among the online community. The same community that plays their online service, buys their game add-ons, and sinks hundreds of dollars a year into system accessories or other hardware related items. Did anyone think that there was not going to be something coming? The smartest thing Sony could have done is what Microsoft has been doing for years. Microsoft has always had a no tolerance policy for hackers but they go about it a little differently. IF you hack the Xbox, they won’t sue you but good luck trying to play online when they update the online service. We who have been on Xbox Live for years know the risks of getting caught. The Xbox system becomes a pretty paperweight once the update gets applied. It’s a consequence we all accept when toying with the thought of hacking or modifying the systems.
Everyone will have an opinion on how this will affect Sony and what they need to do to make things right by the consumers. The fact of the matter is the only thing that will help is time. Once the hype machine stops the general public will forget all about it and line up come holiday time to purchase a shiny new PS3 for their kids. For those of us in the online gaming arena, we will always remember and laugh about how the big company got punked by a small group of highly motivated and intelligent youths.