May 9, 2011 at 12:58 PM ET
Note: See update at the end of this post.
Sony's PlayStation Network, already down for almost three weeks because of a massive security breach, may not be fully available until May 31, after the Memorial Day weekend when U.S. gamers will want to be playing, as well as honoring veterans and throwing burgers on the barbecue.
A Toykyo-based spokesman for the company told Bloomberg News that its online PlayStation Network should be back up fully by the last day of May. That information is more specific than what was said previously, that no date had been set for the restart.
On Sony's blog Friday, corporate spokesman Patrick Seybold said that when the company first publicly apologized for the security breach, "based on what we knew, we expected to have the services online within a week. We were unaware of the extent of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers, and we are taking this opportunity to conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system. We know many of you are wanting to play games online, chat with your friends and enjoy all of the services PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have to offer, and trust me when I say we’re doing everything we can to make it happen."
Shigenori Yoshida, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Sony, told Bloomberg News by phone that the company's plan to restart the services fully by May 31 is unchanged.
Just a week ago, Monday, Sony made public that its Sony Online Entertainment PC gaming service had been hacked, in addition to the PSN breach.
The Sony Online Entertainment breach, wrote msnbc.com's Winda Benedetti, "exposed the information from 24.6 million personal accounts as well as some credit card information from gamers who play the service's online PC games such as 'EverQuest,' 'DC Universe Online' and 'Free Realms.' The PlayStation Network, on the other hand, allows PlayStation 3 owners to game online and that breach exposed personal information from 77 million private accounts."
Sony said on Saturday it had removed the personal details of 2,500 people from the Internet, information that had been stolen by hackers and posted on a website.
The data included names and some addresses, which were in a database created in 2001, a Sony spokeswoman said.
For those hoping for a quicker return to the action, May 31 feels like a time. But the company's networks still face the threat of additional attacks by hackers, and if Sony can truly offer a secure playing network by then — something it should have done to begin with — it will have been worth the wait.
Update: Sony said Tuesday that it is not committing to a a specific date for the network to be back up. "I know you all want to know exactly when the services will be restored," said Seybold on the company's blog. "At this time, I can’t give you an exact date, as it will likely be at least a few more days. We’re terribly sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work through this process."