PlayStation Universe

Editorial: How Sony mishandled the PSN Crisis

  • submit to reddit

on 27 April 2011

[Editor’s Note: We encourage you to submit articles to our editors for home page consideration. Steven Chaffin (SchaffinOSX), an active member of our community, is the author of this editorial.]

At the time of writing, Sony Computer Entertainment is currently in the process of combating various issues pertaining to its PlayStation Network service. For roughly a week now, the network has been down as a result of what Sony has labelled an “external intrusion.” The general assumption here is that the electronics giant is pointing the finger at hacking group Anonymous, raising mixed feelings towards Sony. On one hand of the argument, you have gamers lashing out against the hackers, hoping they get tied up into legal measures and are never heard from again. On the other side, however, you have gamers venting their frustration at Sony’s handling of the matter.

I’m on the side of the argument some people might deem to be completely irrational: the side of the argument that is weary of Sony’s vague blog updates. Sony’s handling of the issue isn’t all that surprising. In fact, the way the corporation is tackling this issue is identical to the way all major corporations do — that is, releasing general statements that reassure the public that all necessary measures are being taken. But what exactly are those measures?

Each statement released by Sony is essentially a reiteration of the previous one. There is still no confirmed time that gamers can expect to see PSN back up and running. Moreover, Sony doesn’t seem confident that it even knows what is occurring. It seemed as though the hardware manufacturer was taken aback when it realized administrator accounts could be at risk, and claimed that it had no knowledge of hackers gaining access to PSN users’ personal information.

That’s all nice and polished on the outside, but when you look at what Sony is saying, you realize there really is no feasible information proving the veracity of the firm's statements. First, there is no indication to casual PSN users (who don't browse the likes of PSU) that there are any hackers involved with this issue. In fact, when users attempt to sign into the network, they are prompted the following message: “The PlayStation Network is currently undergoing maintenance.” That doesn’t sound out of the ordinary to me. What happened to the error code that quickly became infamous around the web? In the public eye, nothing has changed from then to now, so why has the prompt changed? Secondly, Sony hasn’t given any information regarding how it's combating this issue. It’s not as though we’re looking for a detailed plan with all the outlined specifics, but a general idea of what Sony is doing to deal with this situation would put worried PSN account holders more at ease. Lastly, Sony has shown a lack of knowledge regarding the specifics of the issue. I don’t want to be told that my credit card information should be fine — I want to know that it’ll be secure.

If this issue had occurred a year ago, the circumstances would be somewhat different. At this point in time, Sony has over a million paying PlayStation Plus subscribed users who are currently getting absolutely nothing for their money. While some subscribers have spoken out in support of Sony, the majority of PS+ users are furious.

In short, Sony’s handling of this immense issue has been awfully vague to the point where it’s hard to take them seriously. If the Sony PR folks world take a moment or two to provide some informative information, they’d be surprised at the amount of support they’d receive from gamers. It's the 21st century: we know these things happen from time to time, just don’t leave us in the dark. Really, Sony, it’s that simple.