Sunday, May 8, 2011

Social Notworking.

Thank You, Destructoid.

Two weeks in, outages, fan reactions and emotions torn asunder, the PSN is still down, even though the initial promise was to have the service up and running just before the two week mark hit on May 3rd, 2011.
We are nearing the third week, and despite promises to the contrary, the PSN is still down.

Of course, it’s easy to point the finger and blame outside elements, but the fact of the matter is that Sony being unprepared to an attack of such magnitude was not only irresponsible, but it put the company’s fans and consumers at risk. How does one run a multi-million dollar network 70 million or so users deep and not even have a basic firewall to protect against malicious users? How do you not inform your consumers that their personal information may be at stake for two days until you’ve completely pulled the plug and started a chain of fear and bad PR that will sit with you forever? HOW do you admit that you are just as vulnerable as your consumers when you’ve stood as a sentinel for your various online practices for years?

It’s a terrible situation, and one that has cost the company so much that I’m sure execs are envisioning ritual suicide in their minds while thinking about their figures at the end of this quarter, most of all Activision for losing out on that glorious Black Ops server time.

Most consumers are just lamenting the fact that they can’t play online, but the ripple effect is far greater. players who purchased the new Mortal Kombat, despite the game being rife with offline content, can’t hone their skills online against other players or redeem their bonus content. Lucky players invited to the inFamous 2 beta have been cut off, and Sucker Punch is losing out on valuable data that would aid their development. Owners of the online-only DC Universe Online have no adventures to embark upon.

We have just passed the month of the shooter in April. Because it is arguably the most popular genre indulged in online play, this means recent releases like Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Killzone 3, Homefront, Portal 2, and the unlucky faithful who purchased SOCOM 4 have all been left out to dry. Unlike the others in the aformentioned list, They’re the ones suffering the worst, being left to read middling to poor reviews for their game, and having nothing more than a mediocre single player with no online to justify their $60-$150 investment. Even smaller, bite sized games available now for download like Moon Diver andOutland aren’t receiving the audience they should.

Part of the compensation has been said to be free gifts in the form of two as unannounced PSP/PSN titles, and a 30 day subscription to Playstation Plus, but in my opinion, those are frivolities that won’t gain our trust back. A free game will only remind us of the potential identity theft that may have toppled the PS Store’s database, and the minimal benefits of Playstation Plus for a trial period will likely deter more potential subscribers than it would’ve gained due to the ambiguity surrounding the subscription’s benefits. Free gifts of questionable value aren't the way to go. They're cute, but they aren't reassuring, like a stuffed animal presented as an apology for cheating.

I think if Sony wants to mend this, they need to let us in. Business practices and the delayed dissemination of information aside, we as consumers and gamers need to know what Sony plans to do to make their network secure. We need assurance that our information is secure. We need to know that our games will be fully functional. Most of all, we need to know that it won’t happen again. CEO Howard Stringer wrote a somewhat heartfelt apology to the users two days ago for this extended debacle with the promise to restore as soon as possible. While I consider that a step in the right direction, I truly hope they keep the PSN down as long as it needs to be. An extended delay is better than rushing to the finish.

Sources, reading material if you’re interested:"target"_blank"

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