Oh, Sony, Sony, Sony…

What was a minor inconvenience became a full on debacle today as Sony finally — finally — admitted that user data had been compromised. This doesn’t even come remotely as a surprise. An international company doesn’t pull down its service for a week, for any kind of minor emergency. (No, this wasn’t because some people were ganking free games several weeks ago.)

It was pretty clear that something major went down, so hearing that user data was compromised didn’t surprise me. And for all the sound and fury about potential credit card or identity fraud, I’m not too concerned about it. I changed a few passwords and put up a credit alert to be on the safe side, but my bank has pretty good fraud protection that I’ve experienced first-hand before. Hopefully I don’t eat those words later.

The problem here is how badly Sony dropped the ball. This was an absolute Masters’ Class in how not to handle a delicate situation. First off, if you have any inkling that user data could be compromised, if you even suspect it is possible, you say that immediately. It doesn’t matter if you’re proven wrong later. It doesn’t matter if everyone’s data is fine. You say it, straight-up, the moment you believe it. And if you suspect it strongly enough to pull the plug on your entire network, it’s clearly not something you were still figuring out until today.

If Sony had come out on Thursday and said, “We have reason to believe that some user data has been compromised. This could include x, y, and z. Please take the proper precautions. Sony is investigating the matter and working to secure the PlayStation Network.” Instead, they sat on their hands and ended up looking like the villains.  Now they’ve sacrificed user trust and created a huge stir unnecessarily.

It only does bafflingly stupid PR decisions.

  • Sony’s day wasn’t all bad. They started out with this tablet announcement. It’s not exciting, but at least they’re supporting the PlayStation Suite a little bit.
  • I didn’t much like the Hydrophobia demo, but the idea of an integrated game feedback system is pretty cool. Especially for a game that already had vast improvement thanks to user feedback.
  • The times, they are a-changin.
  • This story was a little ridiculous. Dedicated servers for a console game is novel, especially if you’re letting users customize them; but when you base your entire sales strategy on being cheap, you shouldn’t offer an unnecessary feature that literally costs as much as the game itself. For a month.
  • I’ve been wondering about what would happen to games scheduled during this outage, so it’s good that Sony finally has said something — even if it’s secondhand.
  • I love this story. I also love how the juxtaposed Romero and Sara Michelle Gellar picture looks like a Buffy spin-off with her smartass grandpa.
  • Political posturing? Probably. But he’s also saying what I was thinking, so I’ll let it slide. Sony really should offer a couple of years of Equifax, at least if they want to avoid getting their pants sued off.

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