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Sony is planning a redesign of its online gaming network, the PlayStation Network (PSN), following a hacking attack that brought the network down for nearly a month, according to reports.

The original layout for the PSN and the PlayStation store was heavy in text and had a lot of information on the screen. The new look is more streamlined, with bigger images and more accessible information, according to the report. It will be similar to the streamlined design of Microsoft’s online gaming network, Xbox Live.

Sony’s online network is a critical service that competes with Microsoft’s Xbox Live online gaming service among others. There are also 948 games now available in the PlayStation Network store, as well as 4,000 pieces of add-on content for games.

Sony’s PSN was offline for 24 days in the United States, and longer in other countries. The company took the PSN down after hackers were able to break in and steal sensitive information about more than 100 million customers. Sony laid indirect blame for the PSN’s downtime on hacktivist group Anonymous, which typically rallies a group of loosely connected hackers under moral or political banners.


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PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable owners were unable to download new content for their games and play online with other players. The downtime came at a critical time for two major releases — Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat, both of which prominently featured online play and had received a good deal of critical acclaim.

Sony offered PSN users free games and a whole batch of other welcome-back goodies — like free subscriptions to the company’s premium PlayStation Plus version of the PSN — to entice players to continue using the PSN. The packages will probably appease a large number of console and handheld gaming device owners. But a lot of gamers — myself included — already own those Triple-A titles, and find they aren’t really worth as much as they used to be.

VentureBeat previously published a timeline for the PlayStation Network outage.

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