As the PSN debacle appears to be nearing its conclusion, what are the consequences for Sony and the industry as a whole? Microsoft have known for a long time now just what a minefield internet security can be, and you can be sure that a lot has been going on behind the scenes to ensure that a similar fate does not befall their console.
Whilst Sony are most definitely a “victim” in this unfortunate situation (read: disastrous), there is a great deal of unhappiness and criticism floating around for their handling of the affair. Now, gamerfeed is reporting that anonymous sources at American store GameStop have confirmed that during the outing people have been trading in their formerly beloved PS3s for seemingly more trustworthy Xbox 360s.
Whilst the internet abounds with all sorts “anonymous” sources, this is not only entirely believable – I actually accept it as true outright. A week is a very brief time in the grand scheme of things, but in a hectic world it can feel like an eternity. The affair has dragged on and on, and Sony allowed it to.
Then came the crushing blow that users’ data may have been stolen. Gamers can be a fickle bunch at times, but the sense of frustration and maybe even personal betrayal could have finally been too much for even those would have initially balked at the idea of starting all over again on a new machine.
To top it all off, there is Gears of War 3 on the horizon to tempt them further.
So what’s the lesson here? Obviously, security is paramount. When people start handing over credit card numbers they need to feel like those precious digits are going to be guarded by a ravenous pack of ‘roid-raged Rottweilers backed up by that freaky Red Queen computer system from Resident Evil the movie.
The second lesson is that when you have a problem, you better damn well communicate honestly and openly with your customers. When getting back online is just a matter of throwing the black box in the back of the car and driving to your nearest gaming store to swap it for a white one, it’s going to take more than a sorry to keep a lot of us happy. With the Wii2/Stream/Project Cafe a little more than a month away from being unveiled, keeping gamers loyal to their system should be at the very forefront of Sony Computer Entertainment’s agenda right now. And it may take a bit more than some free content to achieve.