On the Outside, Looking In – PSN Outage Thoughts

I have always had this internal struggle with myself. Growing up, I owned the original Playstation and was definitely a Sony fan girl. In fact, part of me still is. I own a Sony mini-disc player, Walkman, camera, memory cards, PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), PSP, and a slim Playstation 2. So, when the Playstation 3 was announced I was all for it. Well, that was until the price was announced. Unfortunately, I was in college and couldn’t afford it. I eventually got an Xbox and never looked back.

But on April 26, 2011, things at Sony got extremely interesting.

A flurry of confusing and angry tweets started to flood my twitter stream which prompted me to tweet:

“Ok, playstation folks, what’s with the anger? Is there a new announcement somewhere about the PSN outage?

I don’t have a PS3 so I’m clueless”.

All I knew at the time was that PSN was down all weekend. I had no idea what had everyone so angry. But my followers were able to tell me was that this wasn’t a typical outage: PSN was hacked. PS3 owners wanted answers but all they got were various press releases and emails that didn’t say much. The rumor mill was working overtime. Speculation on who and what caused the outage was everywhere but Sony wasn’t confirming or denying anything. Little is still known about what caused that outage and no date has been announced on the Playstation Blog.

So, why do I care?

Since I come from an age where I could live without being online, I can go long periods of time without gaming online. Hell, I think it’s been about two weeks since I last turned on the Xbox. For me, gaming online is not a priority.  However, I suspect that a large number of PS3 owners have grown up with online gaming and probably spend a large chunk of time playing online multi-player. So, in that case, being without online play since April 26 can feel like an eternity. But honestly, if any outage lasts longer than 72 hours, something is seriously up and it’s natural that PS3 owners are suspicious and looking for answers. Additionally, I’m more outraged by how Sony is handling the situation. It’s unfair to keep your customers in the dark. I, like probably many others, am constantly checking Playstation’s official blog for news but only see short updates that tell me nothing. I don’t even own a PS3 and I’m frustrated with the situation.

However, I thought it would be interesting to reach out to one of my followers that actually switched his PS3 for an Xbox. I was curious about what lead him to his decision especially since I was trying to convince him to get an Xbox a few weeks prior…

We had a stalemate and Brad stayed loyal to his PS3. So, for him to make a switch seemed, to me, like a big decision. I was curious to learn more.

Let me introduce Brad!

Q. Have you always been a Sony fan?
A. I guess you could say that I have always been a Sony fan when it comes to gaming consoles. I’ve owned an original Playstation, a Playstation 2, Playstation 2 Slim, a PSP and recently a PS3 Slim. I always enjoyed the game selection that Sony offered for it’s consoles. They provided a great selection of games that suited my RPG, Fighting, and FPS gaming needs/wants.

Q. How long have you had the PS3?
A. I’ve owned my PS3 since Christmas of 2010. Most of my gaming friends would probably be surprised by that fact since I amassed such a massive PS3 game library.

Q. What types of games do you normally find yourself playing?
A. I’ve always been a big fan of fighting games, so that’s what I mainly play. I also play the occasional RPG, and recently I’ve gotten into FPS games like CoD: Black Ops.

Q. How often do you generally play per week?
A. I’m a pretty hardcore gamer. When I still had my PS3, and the online was working I’d spend at least 20 hours a week on gaming. Since I got my Xbox 360 I’m not gaming as much. It has a little to do with the fact that I have to build up my game library again, and the loss of my PS3 has also depressed me a bit.

Q. How often do you play online?
A. When the PSN was up, and working I would spend at least 18 out of the 20 hours that I spent on gaming during the week. Now that I have a new Xbox 360, and a lacking selection of game titles I don’t spend much time online at all. I assume that when I get a decent multi-player game that will pick up.

Q. How often do you play online multi-player?
A. The online multi-player is the sole reason I got the PS3. All of my online gaming time was devoted to online multi-player. I would play with random players most of the time, but sometimes I would join my Brothers in a game. I also played online multi-player with my Twitter friends. I guess you could say that 90% of my PS3 gaming time was spent in online multi-player.

Q. How often would you play offline? Is that possible?
A. I spent about 10% of my overall gaming time doing offline campaign, and story modes in the games I owned. I enjoyed offline, but when the PS3 online multi-player was available to me I ended up spending most of my time on it.

Q. How often do you play with a party?
A. I honestly hardly ever joined any party in online multi-player. The closest I came to that was when I would join my two brothers in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Other than that I wasn’t into the clan or party scene when it came to online multi-player.

Q. How did you like the online experience?
A. The PSN online experience was honestly the best gaming experience I have ever had. I’ve enjoyed a lot of gaming in my life with many consoles but the ability to join family and friends in online gaming made it the best.

Q. Have you ever considered getting an Xbox prior to the whole PSN network outage / hacking issue?
A. I owned an Xbox 360 prior to getting my PS3. Unfortunately, it only lasted two days before succumbing to the dreaded RRoD. After that my hopes for the Xbox 360 was shattered. It wasn’t until the Xbox 360 Slim  was released that I thought of owning one again. I had actually considered getting one to go along with my PS3, but that dream was never realized. In that sense the short answer to your question would be yes. (“Haha”, says Dani)

Q. At what point did you think enough was enough and decided to get a new console?
A. It took a lot of disappointments from Sony to push me towards changing consoles. There were several factors involved in my decision including the hacking issue, possible information theft, the PSN outage itself, and mainly the lack of reliable information from Sony about the PSN issues. It was a very hard decision, and not knowing the reality of the state of the PSN was the worst of it all.

Q. What are the major differences that you have found between the PS3 and Xbox consoles?
A. Like others I’ve done a lot of research before getting my Xbox. I knew the main difference was going to be that I would have to pay for online. I decided that if the online was more secure than that of the PS3’s then it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. I did notice that the graphics on the Xbox seemed more clear than that of the PS3’s. The gaming also seemed to be much quicker. I played a DEMO of Pinball FX2 for the Xbox which is the equivalent of Zen Pinball on the PS3. Pinball FX2 not only surpasses Zen Pinball graphically but the gameplay is much more smooth. There is also a much larger selection of pinball tables for it. I’ve also played the recent Gears of War 3 Beta which has some excellent graphics. The only downfall I see to the Xbox 360 is the controller. It definitely takes some getting used to.

Q. Do you still have your PS3?
A. I no longer have my PS3. I decided to sell it, and use that money towards a newer model Xbox 360.

Q. If you had the chance to talk with the execs at Sony, what would you tell them?
A. I would let them know that their inaction and lack of information about the PSN situation has been a big disappointment. I would also let them know that they have let me down as a dedicated customer of their gaming products. I have spent so much money on their Playstation gaming consoles and games over the years, only to be faced with one of the toughest/saddening decisions I’ve had to make concerning a console change. I feel the whole thing should have never happened. I would ask them why weren’t their servers more secure with all the money they made from their sales? I would let them know that it will be hard for me to ever trust in their gaming products and online services again. Trust is a hard thing to earn back.

Q. Would you have been more willing to resist the switch to a new console if you had more information about the outage?
A. I would have definitely been able to wait on a console change if I would have known for sure that Sony had things under control. The lack of reliable information from Sony was ridiculous. It got to the point where Sony lost a lot of it’s dedicated customers like me, because they would not step up and deny or acknowledge any of the rumors that were spreading like wildfire over the social sites. In the end, Sony’s lack of communication about the PSN issues with it’s “valued” customers is what drove me away.

Q. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
A. My decision was a personal one that was based on how I felt Sony handled the PSN situation. My points are valid but in no way do I think anyone one should abandon Sony or the PS3 because of my words. I believe it is a personal choice that others should make on their own. Gamers in this same situation should decide their own course of action using the facts at hand and not the rumors that were carelessly passed around. I honestly hope that Sony does right by their remaining customers and restores the PSN to a better and more secure state. Perhaps one day I will return to gaming on the PS3. When and if that day comes I would like to be able to enjoy online Playstation games without the worries that were recently presented or any other threats that may arise in the future of online gaming consoles.

I couldn’t agree more with Brad! Deciding to switch consoles is definitely a hard decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You shouldn’t rely this decision solely based on the rumors you come across on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, we all wish Sony would be more transparent with all information concerning the PSN outage.

Yes, this whole situation looks pretty ridiculous and I honestly can’t know how you guys feel cause I don’t own a PS3 or played on PSN. The best thing I can do is sympathize.

I do appreciate everyone filling me in on the whole PSN issue since I’m just standing on the outside looking in. It’s thanks to my followers, like Brad, that I’m able to understand your frustration and if this article helps enlighten someone at Sony or anyone for that matter then that’s awesome. I hate seeing anyone sad, depressed and having to contemplate switching from their beloved consoles.

If you’d like to be featured in a similar article like this, don’t hesitate to let me know! I would love sharing your thoughts with our readers.