Sony delays PlayStation Network restart, citing SOE break-in

Sony's self-imposed deadline to get the PlayStation Network back up and running has passed and now the company is saying that further tests are necessary. Even when PSN is back, will gamers trust it?

Sony's plans to get the PlayStation Network up and running within a week of Kazuo Hirai's press conference have fallen flat. The Sony Computer Entertainment America chairman spoke to reporters at a press conference in Tokyo a week ago Sunday. Monday has arrived and the network is still down.

The latest missive from the Sony PlayStation Blog seems to lay the blame for the delay at the feet of the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) break-in. Sony discovered that SOE servers - which run its popular online role playing games - were broken into at the same time as its PlayStation Network and Qriocity service, but only discovered that after Hirai spoke.

"We were unaware of the extent of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers, and we are taking this opportunity to conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system," reads the blog post, attributed to Patrick Seybold, Sony's senior director, Corporate Communications & Social Media.

A new report on Bloomberg suggests that Sony is uncertain when services will resume, though the company expects full service to be restored by the end of May. Some news services are reporting this as a further delay, but Sony's plans to restart services fully by the end of May remain unchanged - that's what they've said before.

Regardless, the missed week deadline is just more bad news for Sony, not to mention increasingly frustrated PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (PSP) users who are hoping to be able to play each other online and buy content from the PlayStation Store, which has been offline since the service was shut down on April 20, 2011, after Sony discovered that hackers had infiltrated the system and absconded with copies of user account information.

Sony has already promised users a "Welcome Back" program, promising free content, access to its PlayStation Plus service and coverage through an identity theft service, but is it enough? Cautious gamers have already gone through the hassle of canceling credit cards associated with the PlayStation Network. And many PlayStation 3 owners are like me - they have multiple console systems at home.

It's just one more reason for gamers to turn their attention to the Microsoft Xbox 360 and its Xbox Live online service, which has had outages of its own but nothing to match the disastrous leakage of personal information present in the Sony debacle.

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