It's been a long, hard road for Sony and its Playstation Network, but finally, the light at the end of the tunnel might actually become an attainable destination instead of a rumor. That's right, Sony is once again promising a full return of the PSN after an extended battle with it and other Sony-owned services after being hacked, almost to death, by those who have a different outlook on technological matters than Sony does.
The battle between the two parties has been covered extensively. The hacks began after Sony went after hacker George Hotz, who publicized the technique he used to take further control over the console he owned -- a capability Sony seemed to support when the PS3 was initially released. Once Sony unleashed their legal department on Hotz, not for the hack, mind you, but to censor Hotz, the war between Sony and Hotz' supporters was on.
There were many casualties, something a Google search of "sony hacked" reveals quite nicely.
But now, after weeks of attempting to restore the network that provides the Playstation's online capabilities, it appears as if the entire network is ready to reveal itself, as indicated by the official Sony PS3 blog. According to the post/release, the restored PSN will available to most of the world, save the Far East, and all the services included with the PSN will be available as well:
Sony Corporation and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) announced today that Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI, the company) will fully restore all PlayStationNetwork services in the Americas, Europe/PAL territories and Asia, excluding Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea by the end of this week. The company will also resume Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PlayStation3, PSP, VAIO and other PCs. Details for Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea as well as the remaining services on Qriocity will be announced as they become available.
What does this mean for PlayStation 3 owners? Fully functional capabilities that the were paid for when the console was acquired, but beyond that, what else? The release indicates additional layers of security were added to the PSN, and considering the verbal reaming Sony took for the previous version, that's a good thing.
Of course, the scolding Sony received is surely small potatoes when compared to the potential revenue the company lost during its "our network has been hacked" debacle. Losing 171 million dollars has a way of reducing the impact of other admonishments, one would think. That being said, considering the PSN is free to PlayStation owners, clearly, the money Sony lost isn't primarily from console owner revenue, although, it's likely the negative stories scared would-be owners away. No, the large sum of money Sony lost comes from securing the network and atoning for any misdeeds caused by the personal information leaks.
As for the restoration, Sony promises the following:
The full restoration of PlayStation Network as well as part of services to become available on Qriocity will include:
Full functionality on PlayStation®Store In-game commerce Ability to redeem vouchers and codes Full functionality on Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3, PSP, VAIO and other PCs Full functionality on Media Go
Customers will be able to purchase and download games and video content from the PlayStationStore on PS3 or PSP. In addition, consumers will have full access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity through PS3, PSP, VAIO and other PC’s. Service restoration of Video on Demand powered by Qriocity and Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for a variety of network-enabled Sony devices will be announced later.
The question is, just how long will the current, updated, secured network will stay secured? Is this a case of consumers getting what they pay for, in this case, nothing? Does Sony truly care about a service they aren't getting revenue from, ala Xbox Live? Time will certainly provide the answers, because it's not like Sony's long list of hacker enemies are going to go away quietly.