July 6, 2011 at 2:15 PM ET
What do you do when life has knocked you down, kicked you around and perhaps given you a black eye? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and maybe treat yourself to a little somethin'-somethin' to make yourself feel better, that's what.
At least, that's what I would do. And also, that's what Sony seems to be in the midst of doing.
The tech giant announced that, as of today, it will have the PlayStation Network back up and 100 percent operational in Japan — this after its gaming network (and good name) was taken down back in April after hackers broke through the company's not-so-secure network security and pilfered the personal information of some 77 million gamers.
Not only is Sony bringing the last pieces of the network back online, rumor has it the company is giving its much-maligned online game and video service a spiffy new look — because there's nothing like a makeover to help people forget the blemishes of the past.
Sony has not confirmed the makeover rumors, but anonymous sources told tech news site Register Hardware that Sony is putting together a design upgrade that will give the text-heavy service "a more image-driven layout along the lines of Xbox Live and Steam."
The redesign will reportedly include a new live search method that gives users results as they enter each letter of the game or video they're looking for (rather than send them off to a separate text-entry screen). It will also include a rebuilt movie section with an IMDB-type feel that helps users find movies based on actor, director, etc.
If these rumors are true, Sony is working on their PSN revamp just as rival, Microsoft, is also working on an upgrade to its own competing Xbox Live online gaming and video service.
Microsoft announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last month that they'll be incorporating Bing as well as voice-search capabilities into Xbox Live. Players who own a Kinect motion-control peripheral will be able to say out loud what game, movie or TV show they are looking for and Kinect — which has voice recognition capabilities — will detect what they've said allowing Bing to return options for them.
Speaking of Kinect, Sony and anonymous sources — anonymous sources also have claimed that Sony is working on a PlayStation 4 game machine that's supposed to launch next year (we'll believe that when we see it). But more interestingly, Sony's new machine is also supposedly going to launch with some Kinect-like controls of its own.
Fantasy? Reality? Only time will tell.
The one thing that's for sure about all of this right now: The Sony rumor mill is a very busy place these days.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBCUniversal.)
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