Sony delays return of PSN, more checks needed

PlayStation Network logoJust as PlayStation gamers were beginning to think they would soon be able to clear the cobwebs off their consoles and blow the dust from their controllers, a new post on the PlayStation blog has dashed any hopes of an imminent return of the PSN service.

As many as 77 million users of PlayStation Network and Qriocity have been scrabbling around looking for other things to do since Sony took the services offline two weeks ago following the massive data breach in which personal information belonging to the users was stolen by hackers. The perpetrators have yet to be identified.

In the post, which appeared late Friday, Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said that the company is still working to confirm the security of the network infrastructure, and is also liaising with various outside entities to ensure that the new system will be as secure as possible.

He continued: “Verifying the system security is vital for the process of restoration. Additional comprehensive system checks and testing are still required, and we must complete that process before bringing the systems online.”

With threats of another data breach being reported, Sony executives are understandably nervous, and are keen to avoid any further embarrassing, and potentially damaging, attacks by hackers.

Seybold underlined this point in his post: “As you’ve heard us say, our utmost priorities are the security of the network and ensuring your data is safe. We won’t restore the services until we can test the system’s strength in these respects.”

Referring to recent rumblings that the service would be restored around this weekend, Seybold said: “When we held the press conference in Japan last week, based on what we knew, we expected to have the services online within a week.” But at that time, he said, the company was unaware of the seriousness of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers. As a result, further testing is required of “the incredibly complex system.”

Seybold finished the post by reassuring users that “we’re doing everything we can” to get the service back up and running.

On Thursday, gamers’ hopes were raised when Sony CEO Howard Stringer said in a letter posted on the same blog that “in the coming days, we will restore service to the networks and welcome you back to the fun.” Perhaps we can take “in the coming days” to mean “at some point in the near future” or possibly “later this month.” As long as it’s not “around Christmas time.” Now that really would be a nuisance.

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