Of course, it's entirely possible this could have happened irrespective of the full chain of events, and Sony are doing the best they can - fixing it, and trying to prevent such a spectacular outage in the future. They've done a reasonable job of keep PS3 owners updated, even if most 'casual' gamers will simply be wondering what's going on, despite the tens of thousands of words already written about the outage. In the wider context, many will simply shrug and play a single player game. But if the dead air continues for over a week, the embarrassment increases and more fingers will inevitable be pointed at Sony.
As ever, there's scope for Sony to turn this into a positive story by, say, rewarding PS+ owners with a free week/month of service - or, better yet, giving *every* PS3 owner a month of PS+ content for free. Whether Sony would countenance such a grand gesture is another story, but we can hope.
Has the PSN outage affected game sales? It's interesting to note that Portal 2 sold more on Xbox 360 than PS3 this weekend, although - to be fair - this is pattern with almost all new releases, from Homefront to Bulletstorm to Crysis 2. The only peculiarity is that Mortal Kombat outsold Portal 2 on PS3, but not on Xbox... but this could be down to Valve's traditional link to PC/Microsoft, or any number of other factors. Perhaps PS3 owners are just *really excited* about playing as Kratos in Mortal Kombat. Right? Who's with us?
A brief Twitter poll suggests PSM3/CVG followers bought Portal 2 on PS3 as intended, paying little attention to the PSN outage and the fact they can't yet play online co-op. This is a selection of your replies when we asked if you'd bought the 360 version in preference:
@thespiritofjazz HELL NO! I was told the PS3 version was the best one for consoles, so that's what I got. Plus my copy for my pc or mac!
@radharc Portal 2 doesn't need the PSN to be online, though. Single player campaign is brilliant and you can split-screen co-op
@Evil_Steve No, but I purchased Dragon Age 2 on X360 for that reason
@K1llerZero I bought Mortal Kombat on 360 because of the PSN issue, I was gonna buy it on PS3 but meh...
@vivekrughani PS3 is the smart choice. Just wait till PSN is back, just wait and wait and wait...
@CarBoyCam I still bought it on PS3. The PSN won't be down forever... *crosses fingers*
We wait. We keep playing single-player games. Or watch a Blu-ray. Or the TV. Or - heaven forbid - go outside and soak up the sun. Or... you get the idea. The true extent of the 'damage' will make itself clear subject to the length of the delay, and (mostly) depending on how smoothly PSN runs after its rebuild. Repeated and frequent outages as a result of piracy would definitely lead to PR/commercial damage, and benefit Xbox 360 most directly.
Still, anyone remember when Xbox Live went down for a week in 2007? Exactly. Sony don't come out of this with glory, but they are probably guilty of greater sins - such as the lack of decent PS Move games, the PSN pricing structure and its inherent monopoly, the false start of PSP Go... and SixAxis... take your best shot.
Even so, none of this is anywhere near as big an issue as Xbox 360's RROD (Red Ring of Death) failure - anecdotally, our office's Xbox journalists pin the failure rate on Xbox consoles between 30-60%, and almost everyone we know has had a 360 conk out at some stage - or even PS3's own YLOD (Yellow Light of Death).