PlayStation Network Outage: Now It’s the Worst One Ever, Right?

By  |  Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

(Update: Sony says the PlayStation Network is on its way back to full service.)

Back on April 26th, when Sony’s PlayStation Network outage was less than a week old and we didn’t yet know how bad the security breach was, I said it might be the worst outage ever. Some commenters argued that I was exaggerating, pointing out that the 2007 Xbox Live outage was, at that point, longer.

Okay, it’s close to three weeks later. The PlayStation Network outage continues, it involves the leakage of personal data, and we don’t know when it’ll end. Anyone want to argue that it’s not the single worst fiasco of this type ever?

For kicks, I decided to see how it compared to other well-known service interruptions that impacted millions of people and which lasted for at least a couple of hours. Here’s a chart…

Of course, it’s hard to depict the full impact of some of these in the form of little blue bars. PlayStation Network users may be more worried about their identities being stolen than their games being taken away at this point. In 2009, Sidekick owners went through the angst of being told that Microsoft had probably lost all their data, before much of it was recovered. You might argue that outages at paid services are worse than ones at freebie services. And if you’re particularly nerdy about all this, you might try to factor in the degree to which the problem was avoidable in the first place.

But the more complex your analysis of the situation gets, the worse the PlayStation Network megasnafu looks. And it’s still not over.

(Side note: Of the outages on this list, three of the four longest ones–MSN Messenger, Xbox Live, and Sidekick–relate to Microsoft services. And now Microsoft is buying Skype, which has had two of the most notoriously long outages ever itself. Make of that what you will.)


Read more: , , ,

18 Comments For This Post

  1. Gambit Says:

    Once Playstation Network comes online again, I’m just going to strip my personal information away from whatever systems their upgrading and treat the PS3 like their old systems (PS2 and PS1) that I have but don’t play anymore. Yeah. I’ll play the PS3 once in awhile (if I still have it hooked up) but it won’t be my main system anymore. The sad part is that I really like the PS3 and enjoy the online gaming. Plus Sony is in big trouble with a lot of people and it isn’t just with the hacker community, they're having issues with governments, companies and users trusting them again and personally that’s my main reason…I don’t trust them anymore!

  2. Gambit Says:

    Sony is going down like the titanic. I can see Sony bouncing back with Playstation 4 but how long will the new security updates last until someone figures out how to crack it again? Then we’re back to square one. So Sony offers a “welcome back” package offering a crappy free 30 day subscription to their PS plus and music. Free downloads (which expire after the 30 days if you don’t have a plus subscription-read the small print people), a couple new PS3 features (which I can do without) and the cream of the crop…FREE ONLINE ACCESS. Now granted that’s the best part but is it worth risking your personal information again? We now live in an age where almost everything is done online. I’m a online multiplayer gamer. I don’t like playing solo games anymore and with the PSN down, I’m bored to death. So I’ve reverted back to boozing and hot women until I get arrested again. So in short, SONY I’M GIVING UP ON YOU! I'm converting to the dark side. It’s really looking sunny on Xbox land.

  3. jl herbert Says:

    keep in mind that sony didn't exactly leave the back door open, they were actively hacked, It could happen to XBox Live as well just because you pay them $60 a year does not mean your data is in any kind of ivory tower there either. So if they get hacked not only will you be in the same situation that you are now, but you'll be out $60.00 on top.

  4. S Bryce Says:

    They did leave the back door open due to inadequate security. And when the thieves walked in through the back door, they found piles of unprotected data with passwords only hashed, and no other data other than credit card details encrypted.

    Of course this could also happen to XBox. No computer system connected to the internet is completely secure. The question that should be being asked (and I have yet to see any journalist ask and have this question answered) is whether Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, etc. encrypt our data on their systems, or whether they are as cavalier with our data as Sony was.

  5. mike thurgood Says:

    thank you gambit….

  6. Dorsey Says:

    you guy are not loyal at all its not you still can't play games. Wow!

  7. Matt Says:

    WTF…they lost people's personal information, including credit cards, because they didn't follow basic security protocols. And you're talking about loyalty? This isn't family, it's a business transacton.

  8. Lazlow St. Pierre Says:

    What has loyalty got to do with the subject? I've never understood people who talk about "loyalty" to a company because they bought a $400 electronics device off them or whatever. You make it sound like people are abandoning an old friend because they got sick or got in trouble with the law, and not some humungous multibillion dollar corporation whose bottom line is your wallet. Why shouldn't people move from one online gaming service to another if they aren't satisfied with what they currently have? Because they should remain "loyal" to Sony?

  9. TabGuy Says:

    It’s sad how little faith I can put in psn, and yet, it’s also sad that Sony thinks that 30 days membership to Plus (which I never wanted) will make it better… What I want is confirmation of whether or not my account’s CC info was breached. What I want is to know when (if ever) PSN is coming back. What I want is who did this. What I want to know is why a DoS attack brought down an international powerhouse of a server. What I want is to know every little detail IMMEDIATELY, instead of seeing the same godd*mn Playstation Network is undergoing maintenance’ sign every friggin time I get optimistic enough to even HOPE that psn has the remotest chance of actually being back up, and learning NOTHING of the progress, or lack thereof, that Sony is making on allowing me to remove my own information…

  10. ldb Says:


    It wasn’t a DoS. Sony looked up one day and realized that, woops, their core infrastructure had been rooted hard. They DoS’ed theirselves, at that point. Imagine a bunch of Japanese guys feverishly rebuilding every freaking system they have from known-good media and source. They can’t trust their backups (if the backups weren’t completely eradicated). The fact that a company of this size failed so hard in basic security is mindboggling.

  11. Eric Schatz Says:

    Interesting research but what if you weigh the length of disruption by potential number of users at the time to get some concept of "worsitude?"

  12. togwoo Says:

    It certianly did take them long enough. WOw.

  13. Action Bastard Says:

    No one can ever be happy. If you want to play Halo 17 and pay to play the same games that are free MP on PSN (or pay to use Netflix you're already paying for) have at it. Don't want you on PSN.

  14. LazlowStPierre Says:

    Really? Are you such a PlayStation fanboy that you genuinely are concerned that some of the people you play games with on PSN might be the same people who would pay to play the same games on some other gaming network like Xbox Live? You "don't want" those people to play alongside you when you're playing Black Ops or whatever? Yeah, I can imagine how the mere existence of people on your gaming network who might consider joining or actually also be members of another gaming network that happens to involve a monthly fee would ruin your fun. It takes a gaming topic to draw the retarded fanboys comments out on Technologizer.

  15. Action Bastard Says:

    Missed the whole "no one can be happy", huh?. If you're gonna bitch and moan, over something you're not out a dime to use (PSN), no I don't want to play with you. Get sold Natal snakeoil, play to press the guide button…do what you want. Just stay off PSN with the playground whining and double standards. Simple. I can type slower if you need me to.

  16. Lazlow St. Pierre Says:

    What you said was "if you want to play Halo 17 and pay to play the same games that are free MP on PSN (or pay to use Netflix you're already paying for) have at it. Don't want you on PSN." In other words, if someone wants to pay to play games on Xbox Live, then you don't want them on PSN. If what you meant to say was that you didn't want to listen to people on PSN whinging about the service being down, then you should have said that. Don't type slower. Type what you actually mean to say. I'm not sure how typing slower would help anyway, because, believe it or not, people don't read your comments in real time as you type them.

    As much as no-one wants to listen whinge, people have the right to complain if something like PSN goes down. Even though it's free as in no monthly charges for the service, the PlayStation network capability is part and parcel of what people purchased when they got a PS3, therefore they have the right to be unhappy about several features of their games console – playing online, purchasing games online, renting movies online, etc. – that have been rendered unusable for a few weeks now.

    The issue is whether or not people have the right to complain about PSN being down and you turn it into "Kinect is snake oil!" fanboy trolling.

  17. Action Bastard Says:

    You have a right to be upset over an online service you're paying for going down. A free service going down? Play SP games and wait.

  18. noiq poker review Says:

    Thanks for the article. It looks like a pretty big outage indeed. I am not sure how it is six months later, but I hope they could somewhat find a solution. noiq poker review