With still no end in sight and the possibility of PSN not returning until the end of the month, spare a thought for the developers who are losing more than just their online gaming fix.
Okay, so all of our personal data has been stolen, and likely our credit card details as well. 77 million accounts, wasn’t it? Well, much as the possibility of waking up tomorrow morning to find that my identity is being used by some kid to buy Nike trainers online is not pleasant, it is something that can be fixed and, as long as we are all aware of the situation and cautious, we can all get through this.
However, the extended downtime of PSN is also having an effect on my social life. I want my fix of shooting people I don’t know in a safe and legally approved manner. I also want to buy new games from the PSN store, I have money burning a hole in my pocket!
However, despite my own slightly pathetic suffering, one has to spare a thought for the developers and publishers who rely on PSN for their livelihood. Whilst most companies deal with more than one platform, 20 days worth of lost revenue is still not exactly a drop in the ocean. Christian Svensson of Capcom has posted his thoughts on the Capcom Unity Blog:
I’m frustrated and upset by it for a number of reasons.
As a consumer, I also play games online on PS3, which I can’t do… and likely my personal information is also compromised. Secondly I like to buy things in the PlayStation store and that I can’t do right now.
On a related note, as an executive responsible for running a business, the resulting outage obviously costing us hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in revenue that were planned for within our budget. These are funds we rely on to bring new games to market for our fans.
In short, the hackers appear to be trying to “punish” Sony for some perceived injustice, and they’ve been effective in that I suppose. But they’re also punishing millions of other consumers and businesses which makes it impossible to be sympathetic to their “cause”.
Well, there you go. Capcom are losing money. And what about Ubisoft? Their Outland game was launched last week on Xbox360 and it was also supposed to release on PSN. How many sales have they lost, just on that game? Sony’s own SOCOM Special Forces launched just after PSN went down in the UK and, although having a rather good single player campaign, should have been a big deal for multiplayer fans.
More worrying are the small developers that make Minis or the smaller arcade style games. If they are PSN exclusive, then these companies will have gone 20 days so far with little or no income, which is enough to put some out of business. Even when PSN returns, it is likely that the consumers will be more hesitant before buying stuff from the PSN store and the userbase will have likely shrunk (my local game stores have an abundance of pre-owned PS3s and a shortage of pre-owned Xbox360s, what does that tell you?)
With any luck, PSN will be back up and running soon and we can all get back to some multiplayer fun. But I do fear that the fallout from this episode will be felt across the industry for a long time to come.