One of the big questions surrounding this whole PSN outage cluster-you-know-what has been brand loyalty. At what point will PS3 owners jump ship and swim on over to Xbox 360 island?
Over the course of the outage, I have asked readers this very question. The rough split, from what I can discern, is about 75 / 25 - favoring PlayStation. Most people who have commented on WebProNews have stated that they will stick with their PS3. Many of them are definitely a little less than pleased, but few have stated outright that they have or plan to abandon Sony for Microsoft.
Across the pond, gamers might have lost their patience, or at least they are beginning to lose it. EDGE magazine online has spoken with "major UK retailers" and what was said isn't pretty for Sony.
The first anonymous source said that the second week of the outage is when people began to take action:
“In the first week of downtime we did not really see any major change in sales or trades. However from the second week onwards we have seen an increase of over 200 per cent on PS3 consoles being traded in, split almost 50/50 between those trading for cash and those taking a 360 instead.”
A second anonymous source echoed this news, saying that there has been a "massive increase" in PS3 trade-ins. Most of those, he said, were for Xbox's instead of cash.
He also said that from what he could tell, the ones trading-in were from the "hardcore online shooter crowd." Another retailer echoes that point:
“People that need money [to pay bills]. What’s different this time around is that that they are bringing in PS3s together with all their games and they don’t want money, they want an Xbox 360. In every case it is because of Black Ops and or Modern Warfare 2."
And what about games? Lets take Black Ops, for instance. EDGE sources say that mid march, sales of the game were split 52/40 in favor of the PS3. Last week's sales were split 66/24 in favor of Xbox. So the inability to play online is definitely affecting people's choices. Even for people with both systems, why buy a version of the game that only allows you to do half of what it is meant for?
It will be interesting to see how this whole ordeal has changed the gaming landscape in the States once it is all said and done.
Sources have said that the matchmaking service for the PSN may be up and running soon, before the scheduled full system reboot planned for the end of the month.