Sony Corp. (6758) was left
struggling in the wake of falling victim to arguably one of the largest theft
of customer data in world history. The company first experienced a near
complete loss of information from its two largest customer databases -- the
PlayStation Network (PSN) database and the Sony
Online Entertainment (SOE) database. This week, five of its
international sites for its various units fell prey to SQL injection attacks
(affectionately nicknamed the "Little Bobby
Tables" attack) 
I. PSN Asia Returns
PSN in the U.S. Tuesday and rolling
out identity theft protection, as promised, to U.S. customers, Sony is now
preparing to take another significant step in its recovery effort, restarting
the PSN in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
The services will turn back on sometime this Saturday.
The restart in Japan is especially significant
symbolically, as Sony was embarrassed when its home nation's government refused
to allow its primary console gaming service to restart. The
company apparently did enough to placate government regulators, who were
concerned that Sony wasn't doing enough to protect customer privacy.
Makiko Noda, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman said her
company has turned to "more advanced" security technologies including
network activity and vulnerability monitoring software. She says the
company plans to fully restore its downed networks by the end of May.
Sony is confident it will pay only $2 USD per lost
record from its various web properties. That's less than 1 percent of the
average payout of $318 USD per lost record (including class action lawsuit
settlements) that was the average in 2010. And in recent years the cost
of data lost has tended to increase by a factor of 1.5 each year. Clearly
Sony is hoping for some sort of miracle to save it financially from loss
of business internationally and class
action lawsuits from disgruntled former customers.
II. PS4 Development Starts
Perhaps hoping to redirect public conversation in
a more positive direction, Sony CFO Masaru Kato dropped a hint in his company's earnings
call that a successor to the PlayStation 3 is in the works.
For the home equipment the PS3 still has a product life, but this
is a platform business, so for the future platform – when we’ll be introducing
what product I cannot discuss that – but our development work is already under
way, so the costs are incurred there.
Sony emphasized in filings that the development
costs and financial losses for the tsunami overshadowed losses from the data
breaches -- although the possibility remains strong that Sony is seriously
underestimating those costs.
Analysts believed that the successor -- broadly
referred to as the "PlayStation 4" -- wouldn't come out for a couple
years. But with Nintendo Comp., Ltd. (7974) reportedly preparing
to announce the successor to its best-selling Wii console,
code-named "Project Cafe", at E3 next month, Sony may find itself
forced to bump up its production schedules.
Sony currently sits solidly in third place in the
console race, behind market leader Nintendo and second place Microsoft
Corp. (MSFT), makers of the
Lost amid the recent hacking chaos has been an
equal serious slowing in sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 console and PlayStation
Portable handheld. While sales totals for these consoles' lifetimes are
no flop (no Sega Saturn or Sega Dreamcast, that is), the slow in recent months
have been troublesome.
It took Sony eight
months to sell 8 million units of its motion-sensing accessory PlayStation Move.
By contrast, Microsoft reached this mark in
only two months with the Kinect.
Little is known about the next generation
PlayStation. But it will likely incorporate motion-sensing technology
deeply. And hopefully its networks will be better secured.
quote: look at Sony's PS3, it was way ahead of i's time
quote: it was the cheapest blu ray player you could buy in the year it came out.
quote: Yes the Cell processor was different. But it wasn't vastly more powerful than anything else.
quote: It would have been stomped by the Intel/AMD CPUs of the time in anything but media encoding/decoding tasks.
quote: The GPU was/is less powerful than the 360s GPU.
quote: Moot point as you cannot adjust detail settings in console games anyway.
quote: There was nothing "ahead of its time" about the PS3. Blu-ray was out. Granted not highly adopted. But that was the point of the PS3 having Blu-ray. To push it. The rest of the hardware was unremarkable compared to the competition. Yes the Cell processor was different. But it wasn't vastly more powerful than anything else. It would have been stomped by the Intel/AMD CPUs of the time in anything but media encoding/decoding tasks. The GPU was/is less powerful than the 360s GPU. A standard built-in hard drive was nothing new. Built in wireless was nice but nothing revolutionary.
quote: Holographic Video
quote: Better 3D
quote: Extreme HD (4k)
quote: Unreal 4 tech demo
quote: But with Nintendo Comp., Ltd. (7974) reportedly preparing to announce the successor to its best-selling Wii console, code-named "Project Cafe", at E3 next month, Sony may find itself forced to bump up its production schedules.
quote: So because Nintendo is finally bringing the Wii up to similar standards as the PS3 and 360, that's going to push Sony to release the PS4 sooner? I don't buy that at all. I'm pretty sure Sony and MS are looking at each other to decide when to do something, Nintendo only comes in as an afterthought. (and by that I mean what they can "steal" and add to their consoles next.) If Wii2/cafe launched tomorrow or next month, I doubt anything would change for the PS4/720 (or whatever its called).
quote: Sony currently sits solidly in third place in the console race, behind market leader Nintendo and second place Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), makers of the Xbox 360.