After a rough two and a half months, Japanese gamers will soon finally be able to return to the PS3's online gaming service. It was enough of a nightmare for PS3 owners in most of the world - including the US - when the Playstation Network went down for a period of weeks, because of massive attack that compromised the network's security.
But for people in Japan, it has been even more of a hassle. The country, which acts as Sony's global headquarters, has been far harsher with its criticism of the attack than anywhere else, and has halted the company's efforts to get service back up around the nation until it was able to respond to the government's concerns.
Now, though, Sony says that it will finally be able to restore PSN service to Japan, thus putting a symbolic plug on the financial and emotional drain that has resulted from this catastrophe.
For a span of 21 days, all regularly scheduled posts on Sony's official Playstation Blog - which is usually updated with several daily posts from publishers discussing their latest Playstation titles - were canceled to focus on coverage of the outage.
The company's senior director of corporate communications and social media Patrick Seybold was the only one posting messages between April 22 and May 1, with the exception of an explanation from Sony's Eric Lempel about the new firmware update. Seybold has put up 17 blog posts to keep gamers, publishers, and spectators in the loop.
Far and away, this is the longest that PSN services have been completely suspended, and neither Xbox Live nor the Wii's online gaming services have ever been disrupted nearly this long. On April 21, Sony informed users "it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running." It ended up being 23 days in the US. But for Japan, it was nearly a quarter of a year.
During this time, the issue went from a minor annoyance to a corporate scandal to a catastrophic multi-million-dollar cluster**** that will go down in the annals of gaming history.
As a small token of its appreciation for users' patience, Sony has offered free enrollment into an identity theft protection program, as well a a handful of premium downloadable products and services to all registered PSN customers.