PSN, Where Are You?

We are now 17 days into the PSN outage of 2011. Five years ago this would have been inconsequential, in 2011 its damaging Sony’s reputation, annoying consumers and stonewalling revenue to developers and publishers. Sony have their back to the wall.

Litigation and allegation point in one direction then bait and switch in another. The progenitor of this failure is fundamentally irrelevant, the fact that it’s been seen as unthinkable by many, and covered in the mainstream press is another.

Consoles must be connected, when they aren’t they cease to breathe.

Sony immediately were under siege. organisational inertia struck to the core and they froze. Consumers asked ‘what was going on?’ but Sony fell silent. They immediately faced heavy criticism, and the inertia stilted the corporations reaction time. There are two main reasons that consumers felt aggrieved.  They felt Sony had failed to deliver a service that they had learnt to become dependent upon, that underpinned their social graph. Consumers were also stunned that a trusted brand had left themselves open to the industrial scale theft of personal data. Whilst the ingenuity and complexity of the attack on Sony was still not entirely understood, consumers were afraid.

The fact is clear that Sony should have fessed up to consumers as soon as the shockwave hit. Allegations stand that Sony had known for six days before alerting consumers. This is unthinkable, and underscoring the billion dollar sucker punch about to hit Sony as part of a package of free content, upgraded systems and insurance policies. To date Howard Stringer has offered to insure US-based PSN users for a million dollars each. The perks of litigious culture writ large. X360 owns North America, Sony should look EMEA-wards to get their house in order.

The establishment of a platform is a multi billion dollar endeavour, that has crippled many, and blindsided a few. Nintendo established a huge platform but dropped the ball on the online provision of service. Microsoft nailed the Xbox LIVE service (ten years old in 2012) with occasional hiccups such as the service falling over during Christmas 2008, this was not an entire system failure however, just intermittent outages across parts of the service. To placate animosity Undertow (800MSP)  was given away to everyone on the service . This is a world away from the hemorrhaging of content that will leech value from PSN in the month of May 2011.

The eyes of the gaming nation are on Sony. They have been very publicly bested, and lay on the canvas bloodied and bruised. Will PSN ever recover from the fear of attack again. Platitudes and assurances of online security will take time to win people over. Microsoft made a public misstep due to RROD, which was down to a design flaw, and it still haunts the platform to this day.

The billion dollar war chests needed to pull PSN from the brink and rescue the 360 from hardware failures show the brutality of platform holding. Will the future in the cloud placate these worries? will connected consoles forever be compromised? Only time will tell.

Your move Sony, make the right one.

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