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Sony said it has restored service for the PlayStation Network across North America, although it has had a few hiccups because of a heavy load of users logging in for the first time since the network went down on April 20 due to a hacker attack.

Sony began restoring service this Saturday for the 77-million registered users of the PSN, Qriocity, and the 24-million-strong PC-focused The Station site. Users can now play online games and engage in other social activities online once again.

But service is still blocked in Japan thanks to Japanese government officials putting restrictions on what Sony can do as it tries to convince everyone the network is now safe from attack.

Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said on the PlayStation blog in his most recent post, “We’re currently experiencing an extremely heavy load of password resets, and so we recently had to turn off services for approximately 30 minutes to clear the queue. As such, a large number of people are attempting to change their passwords at the same time, it’s taking longer than expected for all those emails to clear all of the internet service providers.” He asked for patience.

Users have to change their passwords and get a new version of the Sony PlayStation 3 firmware in order to start playing games again.

In Japan, the Ministry of Economy’s Media and Content Industry department is asking Sony for more information about the improved security measures that will protect users from attack.

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