PlayStation Network has been down for almost a month now and as of the writing of this post the earliest Sony thinks they can have full capability restored is 31 May though I don’t think they will hit that. Sony is hoping to at least restore online gaming sometime here in the next few days but even that isn’t a done deal. At this point, you will read reports about the number of PS3’s being traded in increasing and about PSN publishers being very upset with Sony over all this but what is the real deal. The truth is that nobody knows, at least not really. The true cost of PlayStation Network Outage 2011 won’t be known for years, but that doesn’t stop us from giving you our perspective on the situation.
Loss Of PlayStation Users To Xbox: There is no doubt about it, Sony has lost some customers in this deal. The biggest debate will be over how many and ultimately I don’t think that number will be anywhere near as large as people think. As of March of this year, Sony has sold over 50 million PS3s. Of those users, the total number of users they lose won’t even be 10%, more than likely it will be somewhere between 1 and 3 percent. Here’s the bottom line on this one, PlayStation gamers love PlayStation and Xbox gamers love Xbox and that hasn’t and won’t change. The people “defecting” if you will are people that were never hardcore fans of either console in the first place. Those are the people that both companies battle for, the people in the middle. At the end of the day, Sony’s PlayStation base will remain loyal but it will definitely affect them in the future.
Loss Of Developers For The PS3: There is probably very little real truth to this one. The bottom line is that developers and publishers need both consoles to be viable and healthy to really make it worth their while. There are a lot of unhappy developers out there and Sony is going to have to do something to help some of the smaller ones out. In the end though, no developer or publisher is going to leave Sony’s 50 million users on the table to the competition, that would be bad business. No matter what the ranting says or what angry interviews you read they will continue to make games for both PS3 and Xbox 360 because they are in this to make money. Bottom line on this is that nobody important is going to abandon the PS3 as a supported platform because of this, the user base is simply too large to ignore and nobody wants to concede all that money to their competition.
Loss of Money For Sony: There is no doubt about this one though the final number is in dispute. Some analyst predict the final cost to this debacle could cost Sony billions while others think it won’t be that large but will be in the several hundred million. I’m more apt to go with the latter, this will cost Sony a significant amount of money and they will have to be creative to find ways to recoup it.
Loss Of Gamer’s Trust: This one is a difficult one to predict but I don’t think this will be as bad as people think either. As someone who has been covering this thing since it broke I have had a chance to watch the sentiment change both on the comments on this site as well as across the web. When things first happened, gamers were absolutely angry with Sony and I think they could have handled the response better. However, as more information has come out the sentiment has begun to change. Today, people are angrier with the hackers that perpetrated this act than at Sony directly. The thing that we mustn’t lose sight of in all of this is that we are not the only victims in this. Sony had their systems broken into and information stolen. For a company, that is just as bad as if someone broke into our homes and robbed us. I think that if Sony spins it properly they can come out relatively unscathed on the trust and reputation front.
Accelerates The Announcement Of The PlayStation 4 (or whatever they call it): This is actually one that I think has a lot of teeth to it. I don’t know what Sony’s refresh timeline was for the next PlayStation console but better believe it just got accelerated by possibly more than a year or maybe even two. Before this whole incident, I don’t think Sony was in any rush to come out with a new console, not even with the Wii 2 on the horizon. The events of the past few weeks though have altered the landscape dramatically and Sony is going to need to make a big splash to win back some of the folks they have lost during this thing.