More Unspent Virtual Currency…

I was just complaining about not having anything on which I wanted to spend Station Cash, and now Sony Computer Entertainment America sends me a note to remind me to… well… please spend some of the funds on my PlayStation 3 account.

Dear Wilhelm

Dear Wilhelm…

Yes, I know, the PlayStation people actually use standard monetary units.  But you cannot get it back out again, so your “funds” in whatever currency might as well be Play Station Doubloons.

It would be nice if the two piles of Sony funds were not segregated, but as we saw with DC Universe Online, SCEA wants to protect its users from any interaction with the unwashed PC masses.

I wonder how much unused virtual currency I have sitting around?  SOE Station Cash, Play Station Network Funds, Turbine Points, World of Tanks gold, Need for Speed World Speed Boost, EA Play 4 Free Funds, Turbine Points, Runes of Magic Diamonds, Star Trek Online C-Store whatevers…

There might be a virtual fortune out there.

How about you?  How much virtual currency do you have sitting around?

PlayStation Network – Hacked Before I Could Enter My Credit Card

We have had a PlayStation 3 for a little over two weeks now, and for about half of that time the PlayStation Network has been down.

Sony, along with their PlayStation branch here in the US, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), has failed miserably to keep people informed in anything like a timely or complete manner.

And even when they have attempted to be forthcoming, their statements have had the tentative, CYA tone common to corporate BS rather than anything like a frank assessment of what has happened.  This blurb is about as clear as any statement I have seen so far:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Out of an abundance of caution?  This isn’t an advisory suggesting one wear both a belt and suspenders.  This is people’s financial information.

Not to pick on the Japanese, but we’ve seen how reluctant large Japanese corporations are to tell their customers bad news.  We saw how Toyota behaved last year which was followed up by TEPCO’s closed mouth approach to the information after the Tohoku earthquake, both of which potentially put people’s lives at risk.

So I suppose it is no surprise that Sony is dragging its feet when it is just your credit card information that might have been stolen.

As noted elsewhere, It is better to be safe than Sony.

Personally though, the melt down of the PSN has had little impact on the PlayStation 3 usage at our home.

We are still able to stream Netflix through the PS3, which is the unit’s primary function in our household.

Sony tries to make you log into the PSN when you use the Netflix streaming application.  However, once it fails a couple of times, it gives up and then Netflix runs just fine.

Go Netflix!  Way to look good!

We are also able to watch Blu-Ray and DVD movies through the unit.  In the Blu-Ray version of The Sound of Music, the hills do genuinely seem alive on our TV.

Even our gaming was undisturbed.  The Easter Bunny brought us a copy of Little Big Planet, which not only ran just fine, but which updated without a hitch, all without the PSN being active.

It is enough for us to wonder what the PSN is for, aside from distributing our personal data to hackers.  And I hadn’t even had time to enter a credit card number, so it is just personal data about me that hackers have.

Granted, we do not yet play any games that require the PSN for connectivity.  I had no plans to bother with DC Universe Online and my daughter was done with Free Realms in less time than it took to download it.  But I am sure many people miss being able to connect to those games and many more.

So I suppose we are lucky.  We are largely unaffected.

But on my list of things to do, subscribing to the PlayStation Plus program now falls somewhere behind changing my birth date.