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How Sony Can Come Out on Top of the PSN Debacle

by Bill Hess on April 28, 2011

    By now we’ve all been made aware that if we’ve kept our personal information on the PlayStation Network it’s likely been intercepted by hackers in some form or another.  Those that are expecting Sony to roll over a play dead at this point, likely have another thing coming.  There’s really no telling what Sony has in store with the re-release of the PSN, but here’s a few ways that we think Sony can come out on top in the PSN debacle of 2011.

    Secure the Network - This goes without saying.  The reason first and foremost that the PSN is down at the moment is for Sony to improve upon the network from a security standpoint.  As the PS3 jailbreak became widespread over the past six months or so, as did the ways that hackers were manipulating the free online access of the PSN.  First they were able to log in directly to the network via normal procedures, at which point they proceeded to use hacks and cheats in our favorite online games ruining the experience for all.  After that threat was defeated, hackers began getting more crafty, utilizing circumvention methods to bypass verification servers and log on to play online games.  More recently, in a desperate attempt to play online, hackers and pirates began accessing the dev-PSN network with a custom firmware that turned the console into a debug unit.  This method is rumored to be the method which led to the point at which we stand now.

    With a network that is free to access and newly secured, it could be the most viable option available to all gamers when considering it’s best feature…FREE.

    Improve the Network Infastructure – Lets face facts here, there are some features of competing gaming networks that many wish were incorporated into the PSN but have been written off because of the zero dollar price tag associated with access to the network.  It has been rumored that the Sony is considering implementing changes other than security when the PSN relaunches in early May.  These changes include cross game chat and in-game video chat among what we can only assume are other inclusions that Sony is pondering at the moment.  It has been announced that PSN users can definitely expect a firmware upgrade when logging in for their first time back, but what the firmware upgrade will contain is still anyone’s guess.

    By adding new features that weren’t there before, this could definitely help ease the pain of the whole privacy breach thing.

    Compensate those that lost out quickly and painlessly - For those that pay subscription fees for Sony online products, it shouldn’t be a long and drawn out process for them to receive compensation for the downtime of the network.  Whatever is chosen to be done in this case, it should be implemented day one and without further hassle to the consumer.  Nothing could be worse than having to haggle with someone for compensation after they’ve made a mistake.

    Show your regret and gratitude – There is definitely one thing that can make people forget about the past and thats by giving them free crap.  It doesn’t matter what that crap is, as long as its free, and provides them some kind of benefit.  Whether its a trial access to the PSN + , a free game, credit to the PlayStation Store, or something else,  gamers will forget all about the recent problems and down-time.

    This goes hand in hand with improving the network.  Any network improvements made over the old PSN from a technology and features standpoint could easily be viewed in the same way as a gift to show gratitude for the downtime.

    Show humility and provide clarity - I think there are plenty of people out there that would agree that Sony has done an excellent job of this already.  Since the severity of the breach has been revealed, Sony has provided clear and concise details about what occurred, and what they are doing to rectify the problems, along with realistic expectations about further downtime.

    Going forward there are going to be people that want to be reassurred that the PlayStation Network is now secured, and regular updates could go along way in validating this as a truth to people so that they can get back to gaming on the network without worry.

    For many, the only news that they needed to hear has already been released.  Even if Sony stood at the top of the tallest mountain in the world and screamed that your personal information is, was, and will always be secure, the way that this story has developed will leave a lasting impression on gamers that use the service.  How Sony handles this from here on out will determine if this is the beginning of the end, or just the end of the beginning for this great gaming community.

    We’ll see how Sony handles the coming weeks with the re-release of the PlayStation Network.  What do you think they should do?  Sweep these problems under the rug and get back to business as usual?  In your eyes, does Sony owe you anything for the recent PSN outage?  Moreover, for the breach of your privacy?  How do you feel about getting back on the PlayStation Network if it was available right now?  Would you do so without hesitation?   We want to know.  Leave us a comment in the comments section below.

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