Summary: Sony's online services for their PlayStation 3 console have been offline for nearly a week, so what is a console gamer to do? I wouldn't know, but being mainly-PC gamer who also owns a PS3, I've been watching events unfold with a sort of vested curiosity. Some say they brought the PlayStation Network down due to a new form of piracy, while others think it's the work of anonymous internet trouble-makers. Wait until you get a load of the newest developments, and what I think of them, in this week's Firing Points.
For those of you that haven’t been following the PlayStation Network outage bonanza, here’s a quick recap:
Now, I posted a news story about a rumor going around that this new custom firmware was released that allowed some people to trick their way onto an unprotected subdivision of PSN reserved for developers, thereby enabling them to download tons of content for free. People theorize that that was why the service was shut down, since such rampant piracy would be hurting them more than any two-bit hacker or DDoS attack. Maybe that happened, I don’t know, but if it did, it would now seem to be just a drop in the bucket of reasons why Sony had to take PSN offline last week. The latest update on the PS Blog, though, pretty much confirms the fact that they were hacked, and hacked real bad. Here’s an excerpt from an email they’re going to send to everyone involved:
First of all, why didn’t they think of providing sufficient protection of our personal information before? Yeah, I said “our;” I have a PS3 and I am a registered user of PSN, with saved credit card info and everything. Why in the hell would such a huge company, that serves tens of millions of customers, build their house out of straw, only to rebuild it with bricks after the Big Bad Wolf inevitably comes by to blow it down? Considering I don’t spend a whole lot of time playing PS3 games, let alone online, I wasn’t too bothered by PSN being taken offline for days on end (it’s been about a week so far). But now that my personal information is at stake, I’m pretty irritated. What personal information, you ask? Here’s another snippet:
Wow! So basically, any information you might have ever provided to Sony, ever, may have been stolen. That’s great. I’m sure this decision to finally come out and disclose some details of the situation is their attempt at covering their asses, which could mean it’s not as bad as it sounds, but still, that’s insane. They do use uncertain terms like “it is possible that,” “we believe that,” and “out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that,” which along with the following several paragraphs of advice about preventing credit card fraud and other forms of identity theft certainly paint a picture of Sony performing damage control. Or they just truly have no idea what was compromised, etc… Whether they did or didn’t let personal information slip, I fully expect someone somewhere to file a class-action lawsuit over this. I mean, companies have been sued for much less before and lost -- I wouldn’t mind getting a few bucks out of this, either.
That brings me to another aspect of all this hoopla, which has been in discussion throughout the interwebs since day one of the outage: compensation. Does Sony owe anything to PlayStation Network users for the inconvenience caused by it being offline for so long? Some people say “Hell no, they don’t, since the service is free!” Others say “Who cares, it’s still an obligation of theirs to keep it operational!” The difference between those two people is most likely that one uses PSN all the time and one does not, however I think the answer lies in more of a grey area. There are those who pay a subscription fee for PlayStation Plus, the special tier of PSN service that gets you access to extra goodies like discounts, bonus games, and early access to demos. Then there are those that pay a subscription fee for an MMO game on PS3 like DC Universe Online. Both of those groups of people have been unable to enjoy the things they’re paying for. Personally, I’m not expecting any compensation, but I wouldn’t turn down any they might offer to me. Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see what Sony does to try and regain some of the trust and/or respect of their customers that they’ve lost in the past week.
Firing Points is a weekly editorial that explores popular, pressing, or otherwise provocative topics in the world of gaming. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the rest of the FiringSquad team, or anyone else for that matter.
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