It's a nightmare for PS3 owners, it's a nightmare for content providers but most of all it's a huge nightmare for Sony.
A long bank holiday weekend is often a golden chance for gamers to get some serious hands on time with their consoles. But at the time of writing a problem that forced Sony to take down the PlayStation Network on Wednesday has yet to be resolved – that's five days and counting.
An outage of such magnitude would be a calamity at the best of times, but for it to occur at such a high profile time of the year could lead to a PR disaster of serious proportions, with even the likes of the BBC running the story.
Adding salt to the wound is the fact that the disruption comes just as Valve's Portal 2 – a game that made big noise about its first-of-a-kind cross-platform integration with Steam – finally hits retail shelves. PS3 owners remained locked out of its many online features.
Yesterday Sony admitted that “an external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services”. As a result the company turned off the network to investigate the problem.
But few believed that we'd be this far down the line with no end in sight.
“We sincerely regret that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have been suspended, and we are working around the clock to bring them both back online,” an update on the EU PlayStation blog posted today reads.
“Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security.
“We thank you for your patience to date and ask for a little more while we move towards completion of this project. We will continue to give you updates as they become available.”
Many fingers have been pointed at Anonymous, a hacker group who earlier this year declared war against Sony over its treatment of fellow coder George Hotz, who is currently the subject of some heavy-handed litigation from the platform holder.
Anonymous has, however, denied any involvement in this current outage.
Though several questions remain unanswered, that Sony has seen fit to not just turn off PSN but also enable a full reconstruction speaks volumes about the severity of the threat. Consumers will undoubtedly remain annoyed and many will be keen to be reassured that credit card and account details have not been compromised.