PlayStation Network enters third day of outage

An unexplained outage of Sony's PlayStation Network and Qriocity services entered its third day Saturday, with no clear details on when the service might be up and running again.

The PlayStation Network is a platform for online gaming and a channel through which Sony sells games and other content to console and handheld owners. Qriocity is an online service for Sony's networked consumer electronics products that offers music and video content.

Problems began at around midday Thursday Japan time (0300 GMT) when users were greeted with error messages when they attempted to sign in. At the time, Sony said it was looking into the problems.

A day later, the company said it would take a day or two for the service to come back online, but it wasn't until Saturday, roughly 48 hours after the initial problems, that the company offered more details of the problem. A posting on its Japanese website blamed "external factors," but its U.S. site was more direct.

"An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services," the notice said. It didn't specify when the services might return.

The biggest impact to customers will likely be the inability to play online games. Networked gaming, in which gamers collaborate with others in real-time battles, challenges and quests, is very popular and relies on the PlayStation Network.

The PlayStation.com website was attacked earlier this month, apparently by the distributed hacking group Anonymous. The group was reportedly angry at Sony after it sued two PlayStation 3 owners for releasing code that allows third-party software and operating systems to run on the console.

Anonymous said it has nothing to do with the current problems.

In a posting titled "For Once We Didn't Do It," the group said its core group had not targeted Sony or the PlayStation Network, but left open the possibility that individuals from the group might be responsible.

"While it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves AnonOps was not related to this incident and takes no responsibility for it," the statement said. It accused Sony of taking advantage of previous attacks on its network to explain an internal problem with company servers.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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