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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sony's PSN Outage Costing Developers

Will Sony debut a new PSN logo at E3? Probably not this one.
Sony's still not ready to say exactly when the PlayStation Network will return,,, they are still conducting "comprehensive system checks". A report from Bloomberg pegged May 31 as the date, but Sony has denied there's a firm date for PSN's return. Perhaps... but the pressure is growing on Sony every day that passes.

It's not just 100 million gamers annoyed at Sony for allowing hackers to get to their data; it's developers who sell products on PSN. That is, they used to sell products on PSN, and they hope to do so again someday. Meanwhile, they are not making any money. In some cases, this is a substantial hit; Capcom has gone on the record as saying the PSN outage is costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly into the millions. (Damn, does this mean the price of smurfberries is gonna rise? Maybe you might want to purchase a wheelbarrow or two.)

They're not the only ones; Q-Games, developer of PixelJunk, says they're losing a lot of money, too. While Sony has announced some efforts to compensate gamers for the lost network time, nothing has been announced so far to help developers. Maybe Capcom can absorb a million dollar loss, but they aren't happy about it; smaller developers who may be more reliant on the revenue from their PSN games could be seriously hurt.

Game developers are no doubt starting to wonder if they should be investing resources in PSN games if the service is going to be unable to generate revenue for weeks or months at a time. Or if that's deemed unlikely to happen again, if they've been hurt by Sony and not properly assuaged, perhaps they may just put their efforts into Xbox Live instead.

Sony's got to spend time on damage control on many fronts here: PR, developers, financial industry, network security, and key executives wondering if they'll keep their jobs after this debacle. All when they should be working hard on E3 and the big PR opportunity to look good for the world for the coming year. Now, though, they'll have to work hard just to avoid looking like villains or inept bumblers. (I'm sure they feel some sympathy for the Pakistani officials who are trying to avoid both of those categories right now.)

Anyway, Sony, remember the developers... you'd better make some gestures in their direction, too, or you could find that PSN has a lot fewer new games in the future.

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