PlayStation Network goes down again (Update!)

Since early today the PlayStation Network has been down, and it is not due to scheduled maintenance. With any other service that might be a slight annoyance, but nothing to really dwell on, and nothing to be concerned about. But this is Sony’s PlayStation Network, the service that made headline news for its epic, and historic outages.

The hacks earlier this year against Sony changed the way many companies view their online security, and it put Sony under a global microscope. The outages began as an annoyance, then led to something that was a bit more sinister when credit card information was reportedly vulnerable due to the attacks.  The interruption continued for weeks on end, and became a major issue for Sony.

Sony’s CEO, Kaz Hirai, publicly apologized for the outages, and promised an increased emphasis on security going forward. The affected Sony services returned, then were hacked once more almost as part of a running gag before returning to normal. Since then, Sony has been in rebuilding mode. It smoothed over ruffled feathers with a handful of games and a bit of extra service, and things began to pick back up. Earlier this month, Sony reported that it had added more than 3 million users since the breach, and also emphasized upcoming changes to the PSN that will make it more of a social experience.

Then today the PlayStation Network went down. Again. Sony has confirmed the outage via Twitter, but it has not offered any explanation as to what caused the current outages or when it may return. The issue is apparently not limited to the U.S. either. PlayStation EU originally tweeted that “PlayStation Network engineers are working hard on restoring the service. However, we have no news on when it will be back online.”

Since that tweet, PlayStation EU has followed up and claimed that the service will be back shortly, “Current indications are that we’ll be restoring PlayStation Network services in approx. two hours. We appreciate your patience.”

It may just be a quickly fixed issue, but it is hard not to see the specter of the past outages coming back. Even if the PSN is restored, it still raises the alarming question of why it went down. Hopefully this is nothing but a minor glitch in the service. We’ll keep an eye on the situation and update with more info when available.

Update: The PlayStation Network is coming back in waves, and most people are reporting that they are able to sign in without difficulties.  Still no word on what caused the outage, but the problem seems to have been fixed.

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