Tag Archives: Security

And Sony Finally Drops Me a Line to Say They’re Back

In what is hopefully the end of this community management disaster at SOE, I finally got an email directly from them indicating that they are back online.

It is only about six days late and would have caused me to miss most of the double experience welcome back event had a sat back and waited for this notification.

I suppose there is a case to be made for being cautious, but when you are giving out bonus time and holding a special event, people often like to know about it before it starts, not at the tail end.

For the record, and in case you have not gotten your note yet, here is what it says:

Customer Service Notification

We are pleased to confirm that our services are now back online and more secure. We deeply regret the inconvenience this cyber attack has caused.

We take this issue extremely seriously and want to assure you that the protection of the data you have entrusted to us is of the utmost priority. As a result, we require that you reset your Station Account password as an added security measure, and recommend that you do so immediately.

[Password Reset Graphic]

To show our gratitude for your patience and support, SOE is offering a Welcome Back program. As part of this program, you will receive 45 days of game time (30 days plus 1 day for each day of the outage), added to your Station Account. This game time applies to any game you have currently or previously activated on your Station Account.

For those customers currently on an active paying plan, this time will be added to the end of your current billing cycle. For all other customers, your time begins upon your first login to each of the relevant games.

Please note, customers must log in by 11:59 pm PST August 31, 2011 to claim the game time.
Should you require game software, visit www.soe.com/getthegame.

Additionally, many games are offering a variety of items and special events to welcome players back. Get the Welcome Back Program details.

SOE is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary identity theft protection program. For Station Account holders in the United States, we have made arrangements with Debix, Inc., one of the industry’s most reputable identity protection firms, to offer a 12-month complimentary enrollment in the AllClear ID PLUS identity theft protection program. For detailed program information, click here.

Complimentary enrollment begins upon registration for the program and you will have until June 28, 2011 to sign up for AllClear ID PLUS. You will need to sign up directly through Debix after claiming your access code from SOE. Please note, you will need to reset your Station Account password before you can enroll for this service. Get your access code and instructions, here.

Step 1 – Reset Your Station Account Password

Step 2 – Obtain AllClear ID PLUS access code

Step 3 – Sign up for AllClear ID PLUS at http://www.allclearid.com/sony

We continue in our commitment to deliver secure, stable and entertaining games for players of all ages, and again, we thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

Sony Online Entertainment

Perhaps we’ve heard the end of this, aside from the “Will SOE be able to bounce back?” question.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, the next item in my email inbox had the subject “Has The Goodies Arrived?”

I took the syntax to be a sure sign it was spam, until I saw it was from Netflix and realized that, yes, I had put The Goodies on our Netflix queue.  We shall see if it lives up to my 30 year old memories of the show.

SOE – Communication Fail… Again

Okay, so we got a new announcement.  The meat of it is here.

SAN DIEGO, May 14, 2011 – Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) announced today that restoration of its game services will begin today. The phased restoration will include the return of nearly all of SOE’s portfolio of online games, the reinstatement of SOE’s game forums and websites, and added functionality to require players to reset their passwords.

What does it mean?

I guess, yay, things will be coming back.

But when is this going to happen?

Will anything be live this weekend?

Seriously, would a time line or a rough estimate kill them?

You are either ready to go, and you should be able to pass on some sort of conservative timeline, or you are not, in which case you continue to keep things to yourself.

The same vague sort of message hit the PlayStation blog as well.  We’ll need to reset our passwords… whenever things come back up.

Communication fail.

No SOE This Weekend – Looking to the Future

SOE has not put up a “not today” message since Thursday.  I’m not sure if that is a bad thing or a good thing. They did say it would be a few more days at that point, so I guess they felt they were covered… at least for a few more days.

So it looks like the weekend is out.

I think the next stage will be to start announcing that the servers will be up “soon.”  Long time SOE veterans know what that means.  There is even an official definition in the knowledge base.

“Soon” Defined – Click for Full Size

Hopefully this will be the last weekend down.

On another comment thread I made a dire prediction that if SOE was down for three weekends or more, it would pretty much be the end of SOE as we know it.  If it is only two… well, what do you think will happen?

This is going to be costly outage for them.  They are not currently billing and won’t bill players for the down time.  Thus every day down costs SOE a lot, in case you were wondering if they were motivated to move as fast as possible on this.  Plus they have promised to give each subscriber an additional 30 days free for their trouble.

Can SOE get back to business as usual while losing almost 2 months of revenue this year?

SOE – Still Down, But “Make Good Plan” Details Released

No news on the “when will things be back up” front, but the “Make Good Plan” has been detailed here.

In addition, the details for the All Clear Identity Theft Protection plan have been posted here.

The announcement, for US customers, is quoted after the break for posterity.

Continue reading

SOE – Still Not Up, Mentions “Make Good Plan”

From the SOE Facebook page (and Twitter feeds)

All SOE games and sites are still offline as of May 11th and will not return today. Thank you again for your continued patience and support as we diligently work on these issues. More information on SOE’s “Make Good” plan to come!

That had better be a hell of a plan. [Plan Details Here]

Addendum; The team at EQ2 Wire has summed up where things stand and how short of real information we really are.

PSN Up By May31? We Didn’t Say That!

Sony is responding to yesterdays quotes that it plans to have the PlayStation Network fully operation by May 31st by now saying that it has no specific time frame for when the service will be restored.

It could be sooner… but it will likely be later the way this train wreck is unfolding.

And, of course, there is no mention of SOE at all.

SOE is arguably suffering more damage to its image than the PlayStation side of the business.  Sure, the PlayStation Network is down, but I can still stream Netflix, watch movies, and play (and even patch) my few PS3 games.  I have a tangible piece of hardware that still does things.

But SOE is down so hard it might as well be dead, and we know nothing about what may come to pass or when or what it will mean in the longer term.

I appreciate that SOE doesn’t have much to say, or cannot go into great detail, or is restricted by the corporate lawyers from saying anything of substance, but the daily posting on their Facebook page, like this one from yesterday:

SOE services will remain offline today. We continue to work diligently to bring things back as quickly as possible and appreciate your continued patience.

essentially say nothing at this point.  You can only rephrase “not today!” so many ways before people become restive or resort to parody.

There is literally nothing coming out of SOE but this Facebook drip.  Even Karen at Massively is pulling from pre-attack interviews to keep up their regular EQII feature.

Is this all-but-silent treatment really the best plan?


A new informationless posting at the PlayStation Blog:

I know you all want to know exactly when the services will be restored. 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.

A few more days sounds good, but so does “soon” and we know how that word has been abused in the past.

Nothing further from SOE.  I expect at some point this afternoon we’ll read on Facebook that SOE games won’t be up today.  Check back tomorrow.

Sony – What Does Taking May Off Portend?

Sony has come out and said that they may not have the PlayStation Network up and going until May 31st.

If they make that date, and who knows what is optimism and what is pessimism these days, that would put them off line for 41 days.

There is no news about SOE specifically, but there is no reason to think that they will be up any time sooner.

May 31st would put SOE games like EverQuest, EverQuest II, Vanguard, and Star Wars Galaxies down for 28 days, including 4 critical weekends.

So in addition to the people who won’t be back because they feel Sony has broken their trust, it seems likely that a segment of the player base that is less than fully invested in SOE games may wander off and find something else to do with their time.

The potential for one weekend down seems easily survivable for SOE.  Things could go back to business as usual.

But four weekends down?  The loss of essentially a month of billing and Station Cash revenues plus another month of billing to be given out as an inducement to get people to return is going to be a big hit.  Q2 2011 is going to be a financial disaster for SOE, a company that just had to shed nearly a third of their staff.

You cut like that when you are in a hole.  Now, rather than climbing out of the hole, the bottom has dropped out and the hole has gotten deeper.  How do you counter that?  You boost revenues (unlikely) or cut costs (even more).

My prime concern is that this will invite SOE’s PlayStation lords and masters into the picture even further.  And when you have a hardware group who only cares about software that runs on the PlayStation 3 getting further involved with decisions and planning, visions of the future start to look grim.

What will SOE look like a year from now?  A small group supporting DC Universe Online, FreeRealms, and EverQuest II Extended?

And with the way DCUO seems to be headed, will that even be in the picture?

No SOE This Weekend

We wanted to let you know that our games will not be up this weekend. We are working around the clock to get our services back up and running soon. Thank you for your continued patience and support.

From the SOE Facebook Page

Ouch.  It is one thing to be offline during the week, but we are now into prime time, the busiest time for an MMO.

But then, the PlayStation Network shows no sign of coming up any time soon either.

Here is hoping for next week.

PlayStation Network Threatens to be Back Up Before I Finish Making My Fancy “Days Down” Graphic For the Side Bar

Or so says the EQ2 Wire.

I’ll believe it when I see it.  I’m going to keep working on the graphic.

In other news, when it comes to SOE, there is no other news.

It is still down.

Follow Up Clarification – The EQ2 Wire does not mention my attempt at a fancy graphic for the side bar.  They are just reporting that the network might be up… and that Wired is trying to figure out who done it.  Also I think I managed a pretty amusing comment on that piece.  Go me.

SOE To Remain Offline Until Friday… Or Longer

The key quote from this article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, noted over at EQ2 Wire:

Rodriguez added that Sony Online Entertainment’s network would be shut down until Friday and possibly longer. The company has contacted the FBI to investigate the attack.

And if the shut down bleeds into people’s weekend free time, their weekend game time, then people will start looking for something else to play.

As Syp sort of asked, can SOE recover from something like that?

There is the player base in general to consider.  Surely the hard core, long time players will return, but I wonder how fragile the EverQuest II Extended player base is.  Dose free to play’s low bar to entry also imply a low threshold to abandonment?

Then there is the who question of confidence in Sony, SOE, SCEA, et al., in holding our personal data.  Should Sony, as Cringley and Lum suggest, outsource the whole thing to the likes of PayPal or PlaySpan?

(PlaySpan is now owned by VISA, which I think gives it the legitimacy to be considered.  Games like World of Tanks use it already.)

Or will we all forget about this in a month or two and things will be business as usual… until it happens again?

Addendum: Develop has posted an excellent time line of the Sony PSN and SOE hacking saga.

(I recall all the grief I got for not wanting to give EA-Mythic a credit card number in order to take advantage of their 10 free days offer.  Doesn’t seem so unreasonable now, does it?)