What could simultaneously bring down Sony’s PlayStation Network worldwide and make it impossible for millions of gamers to play single-player games like Heavy Rain, Bayonetta, and BioShock 2?
Hackers? A terrorist attack? CIA black ops? Full-scale alien invasion?
Think stupider. Like: A requirement that players synchronize trophy information with Sony’s online servers in order to play trophy-based games. UPDATE: Or think goofier, like a hardware-related time and date glitch that resets your PS3’s clock to 12/31/99, corrupts local trophy data, prevents you from connecting to the PlayStation Network, and only affects older “fat” retail and debug PS3 models.
Late Sunday night, Sony’s PlayStation Network appared to experience a problem that garbled its trophy sync process, which sounds harmless at first blush. You don’t need trophies synchronized to actually play a game, right? After all, Xbox 360 games doesn’t require achievement synchronization to function offline.
Well it seems Sony’s PlayStation Network does, because the glitch prevents you from playing trophy-using games whether you’re offline or online.
I had a taste firsthand this morning. I slipped a review copy of Final Fantasy XIII into my debug PS3 and, after the Square Enix logo flashed, received the following error message:
Registration of the trophy information could not be completed. The game will quit. (8001050F)
Cue drop to PS3 XMB menu and a few repeat attempts with other games like Heavy Rain and White Knight Chronicles to verify the issue had to be something bigger than a local ISP glitch.
A quick scan for the error code online turned up a rash of users complaining about the same error, including this story by our own Japan-based Martyn Williams confirming that yes, indeed, there’s Big Trouble in Not-So-Little Sony-land.
Games like Metal Gear Solid 4 and the recent God of War duology reissue work fine, presumably because they don’t use trophies (MGS4) or don’t require the preliminary trophy sync (God of War).
About eight hours ago, Sony posted this to its PlayStation Twitter feed:
“We’re aware that many of you are having problems connecting to PSN, and yes, we’re looking into it. Stay tuned for updates.”
That was followed about five hours ago with this:
“PSN status update: We’re narrowing down the issue and continue to work to restore service to all. Updates as soon as we have them.”
And shortly after that, this:
“PSN status update (part 2): Readers/followers are confirming that “slim” units (120/250 GB models) are connecting normally.”
Stand by for further updates. Presumably the trophy-sync “requirement” isn’t really (required) and Sony will have things back to normal shortly, allowing you to play offline (Ethernet unplugged, wireless disabled) at leisure.
UPDATE: It seems the issue has something to do with a hardware date reset to 12/31/99 (per my own “fat” retail and debug units) that occurred with the February 28 to March 1 turnover, even though this wasn’t a leap year. I say ‘hardware’, because it reportedly occurs whether you’ve gone online with your PS3 or not.
It’s not the first time the error’s occurred. Run a date-filtered Google search on error code ‘8001050F’ and you’ll see it popping up time and again. Sounds like we’ll either need a 24 hour cycle or a firmware update to see this fixed (and no, manually setting the correct time and date doesn’t fix the issue).
UPDATE 2: Wondering whether Sony could remotely patch an issue that prevents connecting to the PlayStation Network? I assume the firmware update process works discretely, since clicking ‘System Update’ generates a standard “There is no need to update” message and not an error.
UPDATE 3: According to The Examiner, Sony tech support says both trophy and savegame data should be fine, and that a fix should be up ‘by morning’ (US time zones).
Connect with Matt on Twitter (@game_on)