6 Weeks Until the PlayStation Network’s Back?

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One of three things happened this weekend: Would-be Sony hackers got cold feet, said hackers were bungling incompetents, or CNET’s rush to publish a rumor about another Sony hack attack that didn't materialize was just what it looked like: amplification for anonymous Internet Relay Chat wolf-crying. Lesson learned? Drop by a hacker chat room, posture and swagger, then “tip off” a news source. Presto! Instant gossip churn.

False alarms aside, I’m reading this morning that Sony’s PlayStation Network could be down until the end of May, which—given the start of the outage on April 21—would bring the downtime total to nearly six weeks. Not for the entire network, or at least I assume not given Sony's updates, though biz-watcher MCV’s suggests as much with link bait headline: “PSN likely down for six weeks.” The story references a Bloomberg brief that ran yesterday in which Sony said plans to restart the service fully by May 31 were “unchanged.”

[Update: Either Bloomberg or Sony got their signals crossed, because--according to Venture Beat--Sony's now saying the May 31 timeframe is incorrect, and that, well, they have nothing more to say on the matter. Also: Sony says the CNET story about a hack attack (and subsequent attempt to claim they tipped off Sony) is, as suspected, entirely bogus. Sony's reply to a Venture Beat query about CNET's self-congratulatory claims: "There is no accuracy to that report."]

The operative adverb would be "fully." On May 1, Sony said the PSN's online gaming components would be back by last week, but let that timeframe slide after news broke that Sony Online Entertainment suffered an even more disastrous customer data breach (the latter involving thousands of credit cards). But it never said the PSN and media-streaming Qriocity services would be back in full when the online gaming pieces returned. In fact May 31 as the up date for the entire service sounds optimistic. I assumed we were looking at months, not weeks.

In any event, the PSN looks to be down or only available in part until late May, while Sony's latest missive on game-related “service restoration,” delivered last Friday, May 6, has the company “internal testing” the new system.

“We’re still working to confirm the security of the network infrastructure, as well as working with a variety of outside entities to confirm with them of the security of the system,” wrote Sony spokesperson Patrick Seybold. “Verifying the system security is vital for the process of restoration. Additional comprehensive system checks and testing are still required, and we must complete that process before bringing the systems online.”

Fingers crossed, for gamers' sakes, that game-related services come back this week.

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