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PSN update now live across the U.S., go change your password now

In case you missed it — and you very well might have considering what time this ball got rolling — Sony has officially flipped the switch on the PlayStation Network, restoring service in a limited capacity as a gradually filling map of the United States. charted the progress of the rollout through the night. The map is now fully green, which means firmware update version 3.61 is now available for download to all U.S. users. In addition to online gameplay, the update brings back video rental playback, Music Unlimited on Qriocity, Netflix/Hulu access, Friends Lists, chat, Trophy comparison and PlayStation Home.

The update is a zippy download and installation as of 9:30 a.m. eastern time today, taking no more than 10 minutes to load into your console and do its thing. We’ll see if that changes as more of the country wakes up and tries to bring PS3s back online. In order to complete the update installation, you’ll need to change your password. Not that you wouldn’t want to, since… you know… your private information was compromised and stuff. That said, the real safeguards built into 3.61 are presumably under the hood, since even the most complex password won’t do you a lick of good if all of your info is stolen from the network servers again.

Sony no doubt wants to put this whole unfortunate affair behind it, but there will very likely need to be an extended healing period before consumer confidence can be restored. “Welcome Back” promotions and the like are all well and good, but only time is going to make this mess go away. Look at Microsoft and the whole “Red Ring of Death” circus; slightly different situation but with a similar reach. Both companies made mistakes before stepping up and doing what needed to be done; like Microsoft, Sony’s got a large enough user base that a return to business as usual is a certainty, even if it does take some time.

After all, that new Call of Duty: Black Ops map pack is going to come to PSN at SOME point.

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