Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) has been down since the 20th of April after it was hacked by attackers unknown. It's still down, leaving millions of PS3 gamers without access to multiplayer gaming and other online services.
How long can this continue before gamers start migrating to other platforms?
Well, there are already indications that people are trading in their PS3 for Xbox consoles already. Here's a piece on DailyTech:
Now, retail numbers are beginning to show the customer's frustrations. According to different video game retailers around the world, gamers have been trading their PS3's for Xbox 360's at an increasing rate, and have even switched pre-orders of certain game titles from PS3 to Xbox 360.
Multiplayer gaming is immensely popular (people like me who mostly play single-player are like the dinosaurs - a dying species), and for many not being able to play multiplayer and get access to trophies and achievements and so on renders the console next to useless. So rather than allow it to gather dust, some are selling it in order to finance a new console purchase.
And this effect is not limited to the console itself. Game sales are also being affected:
In the week ending April 16, Xbox 360 had 49 percent of the sales while PS3 had 37 percent, and the week after, Xbox 360 stayed at the top with 46 percent and PS3 at 34 percent. The numbers became more obvious in the week ending April 30 with Xbox 360 at 52 percent and PS3 at 26 percent, and last week with Xbox 360 at 49 percent and PS3 at 21 percent.
This is bad for Sony because consumer confidence in the platform is being eroded, it's also bad for the gaming and accessories industry as they are seeing a decline in sales. The holiday spending season is still quite a few months away, but customers can have long memories so this might have long-term fall-out.
There are winners here though. Microsoft, for example, with its Xbox 360 console is already enjoying buoyed sales thanks to the Kinect. The Sony breach and financial data leackage, combined with the ongoing outage of PSN is likely to bring new customers to the Redmond giant.
Where there are losers, here are winners.