By Ben Gelinas
Story originally appeared on Button Mash; April 26, 2011.
Duncan Vance got four days off from school over the Easter break, and was looking forward to spending it racing supercars in Gran Turismo 5 against a friend in Vancouver.
Then someone or something went in and brought down the whole PlayStation Network. Vance and about 75 million users around the world rely upon the network to play games and watch movies online through their consoles.
So Vance, 14, had to find another way to spend the weekend.
“At least it’s quite warm out … I’ve been playing soccer a lot,” he says. “Some people are going nuts. I don’t care that much. But it would be nice to know what’s going on.”
The network has been off-line for five days now. Sony blames the outage on an “external intrusion,” but has not clarified what that means.
The company also cannot yet say when services may be restored.
The lack of a firm time frame is disappointing for gamers like Jon Vandervet, who spends much of his free time battling online armies on recent iterations of the war shooter Call of Duty.
Vandervet is a business student at Concordia and a competitive badminton player on an international level. Between school and sports, he also works in sales at a telecommunications company. Still, Vandervet finds time to log between 20 to 30 hours a week online via his PlayStation, jumping between various titles in the series such as Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops and World at War.
Vandervet once bought a PlayStation 3 at an Orange County Best Buy to play in the hotel after he was eliminated from a badminton tournament there. He returned it before the team flew out.
Vandervet says online play is pretty much the only reason he uses the console.
“It’s frustrating,” he says. “As much as I hate it, I might have to buy an Xbox.”
Vandervet’s friend, Carson Fong, has lately been using his PlayStation more for the online movie service Netflix than gaming.
“I’m probably more concerned about my credit card numbers than not being able to play for a week,” he says. “It’s kind of scary, I think.”
Sony says it is working “around the clock” to rebuild the system, and, in the process, strengthen the network infrastructure.
“Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security,” Patrick Seybold, the company’s senior director of communications and social media, said in a statement over the weekend.
On Monday, Seybold posted an update, stating that the work to rebuild the system is ongoing.
The company has not addressed the status of personal information such as credit card numbers provided by users to access the paid features on the network.
Though no one has claimed responsibility for the intrusion, PSN recently recovered from an orchestrated attack by the hacker group Anonymous. The group, said to number in the thousands, managed to briefly take down the network as well as the PlayStation Store as retribution for Sony’s legal action against two hackers who broke into their own consoles.
Over the long weekend, Anonymous posted on their website that they played no role in this most recent outage.
“While it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves, AnonOps was not related to this incident and takes no responsibility for it,” Anonymous said in the post, titled “For Once We Didn’t Do It.”