These are dark days for PlayStation 3 gamers. The PlayStation Network has been out of commission since Wednesday evening, and ever since then, access to the PSN and the PlayStation Store has been cut off. That means that you can't download titles, sync your Trophies, or even play online multiplayer.
Can you imagine how gamers who this week eagerly purchased Portal 2, Mortal Kombat or SOCOM 4 feel? But beyond that, what about the rest of us?
In a sense, outages like this should be expected with the PlayStation Network. It's a free service (unlike Xbox Live) and as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. But this lack of a financial stake for customers seems to equate to the lackadaisical response from Sony itself.
Other than inexcusably vague, inconsistent and brief updates from the PlayStation Blog, tangible information about what's going on with the PlayStation Network is non-existent. There seems to have been no attempt to answer the fundamental questions millions of PlayStation 3 users have right now, such as what the problem is and when the problem will be fixed. Heck, as IGN's News Director Jim Reilly brought up on his Twitter account, Sony hasn't answereda question as fundamental as if users' credit card information has been compromised.
All Sony has said since Wednesday is that the PlayStation Network is down, that the company knows the problem was external to the Network itself, and that Sony is investigating the cause.
All of that's great, but what are they going to do to make it up to us?
Yes, the PlayStation Network is free. But when I purchased my PlayStation 3, part of what I paid for was access to the PSN. Without it, the PS3 can do about as much as my NES can -- play games that I put into it (and, in the PS3's case, games already downloaded to it). I'm not a huge fan of online multiplayer, but I do like accessing leaderboards, syncing my Trophies and checking up on my friends. I barely have the will to play PS3 without its online functionality, and I know there are millions of gamers that feel the same.
And moreover, unlike the PSN, time isn't free. Many gamers use the weekend (especially a long weekend like this one) to chip away at their backlogs. As I mentioned earlier, three huge games came out this week and all have a varying focus on online play. This means that none of these games can be played in the way they were intended, and that's ignoring all the games that came before them that people also can't play.
Heck, can you imagine the small developers who have released games recently on the PSN, losing precious money with each PSN-less hour that goes by? I can only imagine that there are more than a few developers flipping out over this outage out there.
I understand that an attack external to PSN isn't Sony's fault. But the reasons for this extended outage haven't been well-communicated to the PlayStation 3 community whatsoever, and frankly, keeping the PSN offline for an extended period of time while an ongoing investigation is conducted into what happened bodes poorly for the extent of the attack and the damage it may have caused.
So what do you think Sony should do to make this extended outage up to PlayStation 3 gamers? Should you be able to log-on to the PSN when it's back up with a few extra dollars in your PS Store wallet? Should you get a free PSN game, PSone Classic or PlayStation Mini? Or should nothing be done at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.