Global PlayStation 3 Glitch: What We Know So Far

PlayStation Network

Sony's PlayStation 3 appears to be in the throes of an inadvertent global gaming lockdown, suffering from an unidentified glitch that prevents gamers from playing specific games whether online or offline. The issue appears to be related to the monthly turnover (February to March, last night) and occurs whether you're connected to the Internet or not. The company isn't responding to press emails at this time or detailing what the problem is, only that it's working on an "issue" and attempting "to restore service to all."

Are you affected? Here's what we've gleaned so far.

It really is global. Reports are streaming in from users affected worldwide, and Sony appears to be mobilized (if not particularly chatty about what's wrong) from North America to Europe to Japan.

It only affects older "fat" PlayStation 3's. It also affects debug PS3s, i.e. those used by journalists and game developers. Newer PlayStation models--notably the "slim-line" version--are reportedly unaffected.

It prevents you from connecting to Sony's PlayStation Network as well as from playing certain games, whether online or offline. Which games? Games that perform a trophy-sync check at startup, e.g. Heavy Rain, White Knight Chronicles, and Final Fantasy XIII. Games that don't, or that don't use trophies, i.e. older PS3 games, appear to work fine.

It doesn't prevent you from downloading demos, surfing with the PS3's browser, or performing a 'system update'. Affected PS3s aren't forced offline, in other words. You're still able to browse the web, finish downloading demos you'd initiated prior to the glitch (you can't initiate new ones), and pull down firmware updates. The latter seems the likeliest route for a fix, should one be forthcoming from Sony.

The error codes vary by game but appear to be trophy-related. The most common error code judging from user complaints--8001050F--reads "Registration of the trophy information could not be completed...The game will quit." Another error message outputs "Trophy data failed to load...Please use the PS button to quit." Biz site Develop reports some PS3 debugs are also experiencing an 'endless loop' reboot error that seems to be related. My debug unit hasn't gone into a reboot--it simply generates the 8001050F error when I try to load Final Fantasy XIII--but then I'm not a developer, and I'm only loading official debug code.

The glitch occurs initially when you power on your PS3. It apparently happens whether you're connected to the Internet or not: Disable your wireless and/or unplug your Ethernet cable before powering up, and you'll still experience it. The only way to avoid the reset, for now, is not to power on your PS3.

The glitch appears to be time and date related. When initially powered on, the glitch resets your system clock to 12/31/99 (it happened on both my retail and debug systems). Speculation is it started with the February 28 - March 1 turnover.

Manually resetting your PS3's time and date doesn't resolve the issue. I tried (and it failed). So it's obviously more nuanced and/or less obvious than just a wonky timestamp issue.

Some report re-seating the internal battery resolves the problem. These claims are unverified, but even if they were, I wouldn't touch this with a golden screwdriver or a no-fault insurance policy. Aside from voiding your warranty, it requires full disassembly and fiddling with the core internals of your system.

Sony hasn't said what the issue is yet, leaving us to puzzle it out based on the symptomology. All the company has said in a handful of Twitter updates and blog posts, is that they're aware something's gone wrong and working on it. The EU PlayStation Twitter feed is slightly ahead of its US counterpart here: As of 8:00am PT, the US PlayStation Twitter feed hasn't updated in over 12 hours.

(Update - 8:06am PT) Some users claim the glitch prevents you from watching Netflix movies. I can't verify this, unfortunately, since I don't have Netflix installed.

(Update - 8:52am PT) It's getting pretty wild and wooly on the game boards. NeoGAF has a thread that's over 5,000 posts long in the last dozen or so hours, and Sony's official US PlayStation boards (see under PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network) are positively hopping.

(Update - 9:02am PT) Sony's US PlayStation Twitter account (@SonyPlayStation) is growing by leaps and bounds as gamers wait for an official update. Sony's nabbed well over 20,000 followers since I started paying attention to the count--then at roughly 160,000--six or seven hours ago.

(Major Update - 9:14am PT) Sony Community Team Leader 'MusterBuster' just posted the following to the official EU PlayStation Network boards. The information also appears in the latest post to Sony's official EU blog.

As you may be aware, some customers have been unable to connect to the PlayStation Network today. This problem affects the models other than the new slim PS3.

We believe we have identified that this problem is being caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system.

Errors include:
* The date of the PS3 system may be re-set to Jan 1, 2000.
* When the user tries to sign-in to the PlayStation Network, the following message appears on the screen; "An error has occurred. You have been signed out of PlayStation Network (8001050F)".
* When the user tries to launch a game, the following error message appears on the screen and the trophy data may disappear; “Failed to install trophies. Please exit your game.”
* When the user tries to set the time and date of the system via the Internet, the following message appears on the screen; “The current date and time could not be obtained. (8001050F)”
* Users are not able to playback certain rental video downloaded from the PlayStation Store before the expiration date.

We hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, if you have one of the above listed models, we advise that you do not use your PS3 system, as doing so may result in errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data.

As mentioned above the new slim PS3 is not affected with this error. We are doing our best to resolve the issue and do apologise for any inconvenience caused.

(Update - 9:55am PT) Sony's Jeff Rubenstein says we should be "fine" in 24 hours.

@JeffRubenstein: Summary: PS3 slim is good to go, older models should be fine within 24 hrs. Leave em off until then.

Sites and feeds to keep tabs on:

Sony's US PlayStation Twitter Feed
Sony's EU PlayStation Twitter Feed

Sony's US PlayStation Blog
Sony's EU PlayStation Blog

Sony's EU PlayStation Message Board (this thread specifically)

Updates to follow as we receive them.

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