Technically this was last night, but like I warned it is hard for me to crank out three deep posts about these press conferences in one day. Still, you guys deserve to see what the other Japanese console manufacturer has to offer. Sony’s Playstation has had an upward battle since their disastrous launch of the PS3 in 2006. Yet every year they’ve made strides to improve and while they maintain 3rd place, we can safely say Sony makes a good product today. But the question remains, did this year’s E3 give them what they need to take the lead?
Sony first had to address the elephant in the room… well more like the brutally murdered elephant in the room that was the PSN outage. For almost a month, Sony’s online services were gone, attacked by an unknown malicious source. It was a failure in online security at the highest level of Sony’s operation. SCEA president Jack Tretton publicly apologized for their failure and continued to praise their customers for their loyalty. At least they didn’t beat about the bush and buried the hatchet early on. Post-apology, Sony devoted a lot of time to showing off Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. This may be the one series that would motivate me to buy a PS3. It’s exactly my kind of game with guns, platforming, a top-notch story and awesome characters. Sony was right to spend a good deal of time on this demo since this may be their best franchise on the PS3 as of now. Resistance 3 was also shown off and seems to be impressive. I was never really into the series but fans shouldn’t be disappointed. Bioshock Infinite was shown and will have Move support. I’m just glad the amazing game is close to completion. A new Sly Cooper game was announced, that’s a really classic and fun game from the PS2 days. Glad to see the franchise get a second chance. Continue Reading
As of this evening, it looks like Sony is starting to roll out the relaunch of PSN. So far online gaming and Netflix seem to be active. Hopefully Sony’s improved security will prevent another catastrophic take down like this one. And so ends the Great PSN Outage of 2011.
It has been over two weeks. Two freaking weeks since the Playstation Network was attacked by an unknown, malicious entity which has blocked all access to the PSN. Sony has been forced to completely deactivate PSN in a desperate attempt to stop the attack and rebuild their entire network infrastructure with stronger security. To be blunt: this has been a disaster for Sony and the Playstation platform. Without the PSN, online play has been dead on all Playstation 3s, as has any access to DLC, updates, or communication with other players. The console is completely offline. Such a failure like this is inexcusable for the company, especially when Microsoft continues to run Xbox Live without a hitch. Not only was PSN affected, but Sony’s music store Qriocity was also disabled.
What’s even worse is that Sony should have seen this coming. A week before this major shutdown, Sony was attacked by the online activist group Anonymous, which launched a coordinated Directed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against Sony in protest of their lawsuit against George Hotz (GeoHotz). Hotz is a noted hacker who has contributed to the iPhone jailbreak community before turning his sights on the PS3. He decided to prove that he could jailbreak the PS3 in order to load his own software on the powerful machine. After succeeding, Sony sued Hotz and began a tumultuous affair, culminating in an out-of-court settlement post-Anonymous hack. After the Anonymous take down, Sony should have seen that their online services were vulnerable but instead chose to ignore critical flaws in their security. After 4 days of the attack, on April 20th Sony turned off PSN and offline it remains as of May 5th.
Things get worse. The attack is more malicious than it appeared. On April 26th, Sony confirmed that the credit card data for many customers was at risk and possibly being data-mined and sold on the black market. How many customers are affected? Well Sony just doesn’t know. The PSN has 77 million members, so it could be any number of them. 77 million. Yikes. Oh, but it gets much worse. Last weekend ANOTHER attack took down Sony Online Entertainment, the subsidiary responsible for MMOs like EverQuest and Pirates of the Burning Sea. While the servers are operating, an estimate 12,000 credit cards have been hacked and pulled from those servers. Can Sony ensure any semblance of security for their customers?
Sony has apologized profusely, but here we are after two weeks with nothing to show. The hackers have won. Even the US government is threatening lawsuits against the electronics giant for their negligence in protecting their customers. The PSN was completely blindsided by a known vulnerability in their system. I don’t know if there is any way that Sony can recover from this PR disaster. But even worse than the PR mayhem, Sony will have to declare war on the hackers from now on. Anonymous has not claimed responsibility for this major attack, but they are certainly enemies of Sony and this nebulous organization could turn malicious at any moment. I have long-lost my respect for the activist tendencies of Anonymous, and now I fear that the group is bordering on Cyber-Terrorism in order to make their point. Even beyond Anonymous, there are far more dangerous hackers out there and combating them will take every ounce of strength from Sony. Welcome to the war, Sony.
After the disaster of Sony’s early commercials (oh God…. that baby still haunts my dreams), Sony finally scrapped the old ad campaign in favor of fast-paced music by Saliva, actual gameplay, and most of all: making the PS3 seem powerful. All of it worked and those commercials had a powerful effect on me, mostly because they were vastly better than Sony’s starter commercials. “Here comes the boom!” emphasized that power, raw performance and unparalleled potential was bursting from the console. It was something “had to be tamed” in order to channel that great power for gamers. It was affective.
And while Sony’s PS3 has seen a resurgence in the US and Japan, the PSP has remained a conundrum. While incredibly powerful for 2005, the PSP was plagued with missteps: a less-than-desirable selection of quality software, the ill-choice of being the launch platform for Sony’s doomed UMD, and an attempted download-only relaunch with the PSPGo. Despite these stumbles, the PSP has been a quality handheld for the past 5 years, playing second fiddle only to Nintendo’s freakishly successful DS. Still, the PSP has been the first handheld to actually give Nintendo a run for its money in the handheld space once dominated by the Gameboy. Still, where is its “boom”? Continue Reading