Bad information spreading on PlayStation Network's return date: nothing new, folks

There was some unfortunate wording in a Bloomberg news report on Sunday about Sony’s PlayStation Network, leading many publications to report that the network will be down until May 31. But that’s incorrect, according to Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold.

In fact, Sony has not mentioned a date for the restart of the PlayStation Network, which has been down since April 20. There is no new information about when the service will be back up, Seybold said. The exact restart date is a big deal because Sony’s online gaming service has more than 77 million registered users and many of them are anxious about when they can play online games again.

According to Bloomberg, Sony spokesman Shigenori Yoshida said Sunday that Sony is uncertain when it can resume services. The story should have stopped there but then it went on to say that Sony is adopting better security “and its plan to restart the services fully by May 31 is unchanged, he said.” That’s where the confusion comes in. Last week, Sony’s No. 2 executive said that Sony’s goal is to restore the service in May (which is where Bloomberg evidently got the May 31 date).

In fact, if it takes until May 31 to get the service back up, that would be pretty catastrophic, since it would mean the service would be down for a total of around 41 days. But a lot of things were uncertain a week ago. Hirai said back then that Sony planned to get the service back up “this week,” which ended on Saturday May 7. Now Sony says only that it will take longer to get the service back up than it thought. But publications are reporting that “PlayStation Network might not be back until May 31.” Such headlines are wrong.

Seybold said, “I agree. Trying to clean it all up now.”

In other words, relax folks. There is nothing new here. Meanwhile, another report from Cnet, the tech news site, is also being called into question. Cnet reported an “exclusive” story that predicted that Anonymous, the hactivist group that has tangled with Sony, planned on a “third attack” against Sony’s web sites. The attack was supposed to happen over the weekend, but it didn’t. Now Cnet said that the attack may have been averted by the publicity and Sony’s reaction to it. Cnet said that the report may have alerted Sony to a new vulnerability, which was closed off. And now Anonymous has no avenue back into Sony’s servers. Sony isn’t being absolutely precise here, but Seybold said in an email, “There is no accuracy to that report. We’re focused on ensuring the security of the network before bringing the services back online.”

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