Sony PlayStation fans in the US and Europe were looking forward to playing several new PlayStation games, including Sony's a beta release of inFAMOUS 2, Thursday. What they got instead was a disconcerting error page.
The official Sony blog says that, far from a momentary network hiccup, users should expect the site to be down for as long as two days.
The service outage has locked users out from playing many Sony PlayStation games online, including four brand new releases. The outage coincides with the release of Mortal Kombat, Portal 2, SOCOM 4, and inFAMOUS 2's beta release. Users on Sony's blog page have been particularly vocal about not being able to play Mortal Kombat and the inFAMOUS 2 beta release. Dozens of other PlayStation games capable of network-play will be locked out for the next 24-48 hours.
What makes this more frustrating to users is the possibility that the network error is due to an intentional hack of Sony's network. The Sony blog message reportedly addressed "the possibility of targeted behavior by an outside party," but has since removed any reference to being hacked.
The hacker group Anonymous already took down several Sony sites earlier this year and received international attention after taking down the websites of Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal in 2010. This time, however, Anonymous is not claiming responsibility.
The DDoS attacks, made famous after Anonymous' retaliation for the Wikileaks shutdown, were used again earlier this month on various Sony sites. The Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) was the sci-fi-sounding tool Anonymous used, but it did not bring the network down completely like it was brought down last night. Earlier this year, after Anonymous' hack, Sony engineers said the attacks were only "medium strength" and were more of an annoyance to engineers than anything else.
If the network was hacked, Sony is sure to be addressing the security holes over the next day or two to see that it doesn't happen again. Either way, PlayStation users are up in arms over the timing of this outage.
[Editor's note: The original version of this story misstated the launch date of 'Free Realms']