Hacksville: Population 70m+

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last three weeks you’ll have noticed that the PS3 has been without it’s online component, the PSN.

Someone hacked into the network and stole users personal data so Sony shut down the entire online aspect of it’s service to investigate.

It took a week or so for them to fill gamers in because they were waiting for the investigation to be completed by a third party. Once they had the confirmation they let us know the following day.

Online is a big part of the gaming experience for a lot of people.

This is apparently standard procedure (see here for more details) but it was the announcement that the hackers could also have got hold of users credit card details that ruffled feathers.

It usually takes something controversial for gaming to appear in the mainstream news, let alone make the headlines, so the theft of over 70m users credit card details was just what the media ordered.

The truth of the matter is that, at present, Sony has nothing to prove that credit card details were taken and no-one has reported any unauthorised activity on their cards.

Killzone 3 was a recent flagship online game for Sony, will people return to it or play fresher titles?

From a personal perspective I immediately cancelled my card and ordered a new one. Any concerns from my end were then finished.

Sony vowed to increase security and apologised for the breach. They have also offered some compensation in the form of some free games and a month of Playstation Plus for free.

As time rolled on and a few days turned into a week, which turned into two weeks… gamers seemed to be getting overly irate.

What impact will the outage have on the sales of a game heavily based around multiplayer, like Brink?

Now I accept that Sony has to shoulder some blame for this but someone breached the security they had in place and attacked them. I’m presuming this was a data theft issue because any group, such as anonymous, that attempted this to inconvenience Sony will have lost any support from PS3 gamers.

In terms of getting back online I would much rather the PSN was down an extra week or two now with better security than have it back up and running now, only to see it taken down again a few weeks later with problems.

Sony’s initial response was by the book according to people in the know, so waiting until the investigation was complete before commenting was ok with me. But the handling of it over the last few weeks has been ridiculous. The phrase ‘a few more days’ has been wheeled out at every opportunity, when realistically they must have known they were looking at weeks rather than days.

Were some gamers really desperate enough to play Call Of Duty that they would trade in their PS3?

There have been plenty of claims of people trading in their PS3 for an XBox 360 so they can play online, which I find hard to believe. Buying a 360 as well? Can see that as an option for people with the cash to do so. But trading in your PS3? What about the exclusives coming up such as Infamous 2, Resistance 3, Uncharted 3 or the just announced Starhawk?

The time the PSN has been down has been a blessing in disguise for me as I’ve knocked out a huge chunk of my single player backlog before the arrival of L.A Noire.

Over the last three weeks I’ve made my way through Bulletstorm, SOCOM 4, the first episode of Back To The Future: The Game, Stacking, Crysis 2, Portal 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Not to mention throwing countless hours into Mass Effect 2.

The outage meant I cleared a big chunk of my game backlog.

I rediscovered my love of single player gaming. With the PSN showing signs of life this week it might be time to rediscover my love of online gaming.

What did you guys so in the downtime? Play much? Turn to other pursuits? What did you think of Sony’s handling of the situation – from the actual security itself to the response and release of information?

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4 Comments

  1. I think this has been sensationalised to a degree but the fact they knew about the hack, the theft of log-ins and credit card info and then waited a week to tell anyone, was rather annoying to say the least.

    Also, they knew that their security could be breached when a teenager George Hotz did it (http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/12/sony-cuts-deal-with-playstation-3-hacker.html). Why they hadnt increased security after this is beyond me!!

    However, i agree that wiaitng a couple of weeks is a small price to pay if it means personal info will be safe and the advantage it gives in playing through all the isngle player modes. Killzone 3 done, Assassins done, Heavy Rain done, Operation Flashpoint started 🙂

  2. If a bank had my details stolen or a store was hacked I would never use there service again.
    What is the difference with PS3?
    The truth is people build a relationship with there console and wear it like a badge of honour, but if we look at this subjectively. What has happened to Sony could of happened to any company.
    The games industry as a whole has suffered for this hack. Will any parents let there kids put the credit card on the WII or 360 now.
    I wouldn’t.
    But its Sony who have dropped the ball and will suffer most.
    I will never put my card details in and buy from the store again. Psn cards now only come in £25 packs! So that is ruled out as well.
    I work in retail and the people who have traded in PS3s is phenomenal. Of these consoles I would say the split has been 50/50 with trade in for a 360 and cash. That is a lot of gamers lost.
    Look on your friends list and see which ones are not coming back.

    • Yeah I agree it will effect everyone in the industry, not just Sony. I suspect Microsoft will be increasing their security now behind the scenes as a formality after this. As you say it could have happened to any company. I’m not sure I would swear off using a company if it happened (say Amazon or something) and they’d done all they could to stop it. Hard to say until it happens.

      If the people trading in their consoles only play FIFA/COD then that’s understandable as it won’t matter what they play it on but any serious gamer would miss the Sony exclusives from the last year and the ones that are upcoming. Would people really want to miss Infamous 2 or Uncharted 3 for the sake of losing a few weeks of online play? Seems crazy to me but each to their own!

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