Sony is now confirming what our sources were telling us last week. The PlayStation Network will return to operation at some point this week. Some services will be available to start with and more are being turned up later in the week, with all services to be back online before the end of the month.
When the PlayStation Network starts to come back on line later this week, it will be phased in region by region and it will require a mandatory system update that will also force users to change their password. As part of this process, Sony will also be moving to expedite their already-in-progress data center move and expansion. Apparently, while not exactly related, Sony was already in the process of moving to a new data center facility.
Sony will be offering a “Welcome Back” program that will include giving users free access to all of the PSN Premium benefits for a month. In addition, Sony will be throwing in 30 days of free access to Qriocity. Whispers we hear suggest that some additional bonus might also be offered to users, but as of yet we don’t know any details on that.
From our understanding, the following services will be the first to return when the PSN is again available: Online play for both PS3 and PSP systems, Access to music for existing Qriocity subscribers on the PS3 & PSP, Account management/password reset, Ability to download un-expired movie rentals on PS3/PSP/Media Go, PlayStation Home, Friends List, and Chat functionality.
While most PSN users will be happy to see the service return, we have to admit that it has given the PNS a very black eye. Hopefully, we will not see a rash of fraudulent credit card usage that is linked to this breach, and Sony’s improvements will prevent anything like this from happening again. Still, we have spoken to many end users that have already sold their PS3 and moved to the Xbox 360 over this issue. We don’t believe that this is an isolated situation, so we doubt the full impact to Sony will be known for some time.