Sony‘s PlayStation Network has finally started to come back online, Sony Corp. President and chief executive Kazuo Hirai announced Saturday evening. The mandatory PlayStation 3 system update (v3.61) is currently available. Once installed, many PSN services, including online game-play for PlayStation 3 and PSP, should soon be available for users in the Americas, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and the Middle East. Sony expects to have full, worldwide access restored by May 31.
“I’d like to send my sincere apologies for the inconvenience the service outage has caused you, and want to thank you for the patience that you’ve shown as we’ve worked through the restoration process,” said Hirai in a video announcing the PSN’s return. “I can’t thank you enough for your patience and support during this time.”
Features restored in phase one of the PSN’s return include: playback rental service of the PlayStation Network Video Delivery Service for PS3, PSP and MediaGo devices; Music Unlimited on Qirocity for subscribers; access to third party services, like Netflix and Hulu; Friends List, Chat and Trophy Comparison on PS3; and PlayStation Home.
As part of Sony’s beefed security measures, all users must change their PSN and Qirocity account passwords. Passwords may only be changed on the machine that was used to activate the account.
All PSN and Qirocity users will receive a “Welcome Back” package once their PSN access is restored. Users in the US can check this map to see whether service has been restored to their state. (Or, you know, just frantically keep trying to connect until it works.) At the time of this writing, no states had yet received access, as restoration is said to really kick off on Sunday.
In addition to its apology, Sony maintained that they believed they were prepared for such an attack, but assert that the black hat tricks of the modern hacker are constantly changing, which makes them all the more difficult to defend against.
The hackers who perpetrated the disastrous security breach and theft of data pertaining to nearly 13 million credit card accounts remain in the dark, though members of the hacktivist group Anonymous have been pointed to as possible suspects. The group officially denies any role in the breach.
Watch Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai’s full statement: