My Little Sony: Thoughts on The Sony Outage

Well you knew I'd chime in on the Sony Playstation Network outage and the SOE hack.  I knew I'd do it.

I expected the writeup to be done after the fact, since I write at times a week ahead.  I figured it'd be a measured analysis (and with an extra rant, perhaps).  I had all these expectations of what I'd do when PSN was up.

I didn't expect I'd write it when PSN was still down and this was still a developing story.

I expected I'd analyze the impact, discuss what it means for gaming, media, and technology – all those geeky things we love.  I'd discuss what would happen now that it's over, and start piece together a picture of the future.

The picture of the immediate future is still a big "Road Closed" sign.

So, with this ever-changing story, here's my thoughts on the continuing Sony Outage from a Geek Career perspective:

Career Unsurety: Take more caution in applying to Sony's gaming divisions – unless you're taking a contrarian approach (figuring you have the skills and position to take advantage of the disaster).  Why?  This division may not be going away, but it's future, how it's run, and how it looks in your career.  Too much unpredictability.

Good for Nintendo: Remember when Nintendo was behind?  The 3DS didn't sell as hot as people thought?  They were breaking the console cycle?  Well by contrast, Nintendo can proudly say they're not Sony.  Petty?  Perhaps, but if they pull it together the next few cycles they'll benefit from having a wounded competitor.

Great for Microsoft: Microsoft is on a roll, and their big "equal" just took a huge hit – and as it involved a breach of security (which Microsoft products are known for) it makes them look even better.

Bad for Many: You're a game company, or an indie developer, with a heavy Sony user population.  Right now they're bitter, angry, not downloading your stuff, or playing something else.  You take a hit, and you might even look bad by default.   This might be bad enough for indie companies to take a serious, damaging hit on sales.

Sony Untrusted: You're a game developer.  Do you trust Sony now?  Exactly.  Sony is going to have to rebuild trust (which if you want to take that contrarian job approach, means massive opportunities for you).  Meanwhile who wants to work with Sony on this?  Yeah, exactly.

How Many XBox Sales: I want to find figures on how other games sold.  Just curious.

Security Is The Future: You can bet other companies involved in gaming are tightening up security as we speak.  This may be great for people working in such areas – and the PSN outage, when it is FINALLY analyzed will be a great tool to design better security.

The Original Controversies Are Gone: Forget hacktivism against Sony over legal issues.  Sony's massive failure has mostly eclipsed that, except . . .

Blame Game: Sony seems to be blaming hackers – which is obvious – but it seems they're more interested in targeting a known group (Anonymous) that are hacktivists, as opposed to straight-up criminals that probably did do the work.  This smokescreen could make them look bad – and just keeps earning them the ire of hacktivist groups.

Sony looses.  There's no debate.  There are many other impacts to keep up on as well . . .

Steven Savage