2 weeks is a long time. The good news is, that it was recently announced that the PSN network will supposedly be up and running in a few days. PlayStation Network users will be getting some freebies too, as thanks for “sticking in there.” However, given the extent of the security breach, and the length of time for the outage, one would wonder what kind of fallout this could have on Sony, the PS3, and the PSN.
I will start by saying that I do not believe this outage will have a significant effect on the user base or sales of the PSN or the PS3. Lets face it, we are late in the lifespan of the PS3, and anyone who really wanted a PS3 has one. Buying habits have been established, online gaming contacts made… and that is that. A few weeks and a hack won’t change much for the majority of PS3 gamers.
Although sales promotions for the 360 are appearing in an attempt to attract disgruntled PS3 users over to the “Xbox side of the Force,” I doubt there will be many PS3 users abandoning the PS3/PSN and buying a 360 with its paid Live service. Any increase in 360 sales will be more due to the sales promotions than the PSN downtime. Again, old habits die hard, so don’t expect Sony users to jump ship en-masse.
Those that don’t yet own a PS3 (i.e. the casual crowd the “Move” is partly marketing to) probably don’t even realize that the PSN was compromised (although mass media has reported the story). For the few that have yet to jump to the current gen consoles, I suspect they may favour the Wii/360 at this moment due to PSN security fears. In a few months this will be forgotten by the casual crowd and life will move on. PS3 sales will not dip for more than a month or two, and the dip will be small. The casual crowd cares more about world hunger and Japan than it does PSN hacking/downtime.
What about the Xbox 360 fanboys? Aside from some “you get what you pay for” snide remarks, and some casual trolling on PS3 forums, they don’t care. As far as people that also own the 360/Wii/PC go, they will likely spend more time on the competitions systems in the short term. Don’t expect anyone to completely abandon the PS3 in the long run however. I know I won’t. I am just on a PS3 holiday, not that I do much multiplayer anyway.
So what will change now that we know what caused the privacy breach, and what Sony is going to do to assure it never happens again? In the short term, PSN users will be upset. They will demand freebies. A few will report credit card fraud (there have been a few reports to date, but I think most people will be in the clear). A few may realize it is sunny outside and get some exercise. A few will be upset that they can’t play their Portal 2 co-op (which is silly because they got a PS3 version, so if they can complain on the internet, they can play it on PC, unless they happened to not install Steam on their pS3 before the outage), and a few more will be spared from the unfortunately mediocre SOCOM 4. PSN users will be less likely to be cavalier about personal information for their accounts in the future. I expect sales of PSN points cards to skyrocket as users remove their credit card numbers from their PSN accounts. As a result, the loss of buying convenience will result in somewhat lower sales of PSN related DLC/games/etc for the short run.
In the end, I suspect PSN users will benefit in the long run from this outage thanks to improved PSN security in the future. Sadly, aside from a few “thank you for your patience” freebies, such improvements will probably not add to the overall PSN experience, but at least you can sleep better knowing your personal information won’t be picked up and sold by hackers.
If this type of security breach/downtime happens again… expect Sony to take a much larger hit. You only get one “get out of jail free” card, and a second attack could really do some serious damage to company’s credibility and aptitude to secure their network.
How has the PSN downtime/hack affected you? I would love to hear your opinions. Leave any responses in the comments section below.