After a long leave of absence after being hacked
and losing users’
personal data, the PlayStation Network
(PSN), Sony Corp.'s (6758) online
gaming platform for the PlayStation Portable and PS3, is finally coming back
I. Welcome Back in Style
To try to lure
wary users back to its service, Sony is offering a
special "Welcome Back" program, which includes a 30-day free
PlayStation Plus subscription (60-days free for existing subscribers) and free
movie rentals for an entire weekend.
PSP users get their pick of two of four games
-- LittleBigPlanet (PSP), ModNation Racers (PSP), Pursuit Force or Killzone
Liberation -- and PS3 users get to pick two of five games -- Dead Nation,
infamous, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD or Wipeout HD + Fury expansion.
Sony has not yet announced details of where users
will sign up for the complementary package. Press releases are reportedly
impending, to inform customers in various regions how to sign up.
More good news for users who do manage to log in
is that a broad array of new
content in the PlayStation Store and PlayStation Plus downloads
section has been added.
II. Launch Has Some (Hopefully) Minor Issues
Sadly, Sony's big launch was marred by errors for
customers returning to the service. Users in various web
forums were reporting Wednesday and Thursday
experiencing 80710D36 errors, signing in errors, or no content errors.
It is unknown whether these errors are merely due to the high level of
traffic from returning users overloading servers, or if something
more sinister is afoot.
Yesterday Sony's servers were completely taken
down for several hours at one point for
Sony's restoration also brings the company's
streaming music/video service Qriocity back online. DC Universe also
appears to be back in action, which means Sony Online Entertainment (SOE)
services are restoring in some regions as well.
The current regions being brought back online
include Americas, Europe/PAL regions and Asia (excluding Japan, Hong Kong
and South Korea). Note that Sony's home nation of Japan is not allowing
the service to resume yet, in contrast to previous reports that indicated
it was going to. The Japanese government has demanded additional
reporting from Sony in the wake of its record data loss. A full list of
when regions will come back on line is available here from
Sony's PlayStation Blog.
III. Hacked: The Aftermath
The hack of Sony in late April and on-going
attacks throughout May amount to perhaps the worst loss of information and
security breaches in modern corporate 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) 
Sony is offering
a year of free identity theft protection in the
U.S. to those customers who had their information stolen.
No one knows exactly how much the loss of over 101
million user records will affect Sony, financially. In 2010 the average
cost per lost record was $318 USD (including class action lawsuit
settlements); Sony expects to only lose approximate $2 USD per user record --
less than 1 percent of the industry average. The breaches have cause Sony
to be afflicted with loss
of business internationally and class
action lawsuits from disgruntled former customers.
Nonetheless the company is soldiering on and preparing
the PlayStation 4, the successor to the PS3. The PS4 will be Sony's
fourth major home console.