By Mike Mulvihill
My 15-year-old son is fairly immune to most of the crisis communication situations we see in PR. But Playstation Network being down for five days and counting? Well, now that’s a different story.
Why is this a big deal? Well, it isn’t unless you’re a gamer. They are livid. What was originally stated as a one- or two-day outage has turned into five days and all Sony has to say is that they are completely “rebuilding” the Sony Playstation Network.
The biggest draw of most popular Playstation games is the online, multi-player action functionality. Playstation Network also offers online access to Qricoity (music) and Netflix movies through their consoles. Since April 20th, none of these services have been available to an estimated 70 million registered users. The much anticipated Portal 2 online game had just launched one-day prior to the outage (yet Portal is still running TV ads prominently featuring a Playstation review).
Apparently, per Sony Playstation’s updates, the outage is the result of an “external instrusion” (i.e., they’ve been hacked). First the outage was for a few days. Now it is five. And the latest update simply is asking for patience while they sort things out.
CNN’s request for a comment was not returned. The company has been silent other than some fairly uninformative online press announcements – despite the fact that it has been widely reported that the security breach likely exposed user data, including credit card information. Sony has said they’ll contact you if your personal information got hacked. How comforting!
Is it me or does it appear that Toyota, Tokyo Electric Power and Sony just don’t get how to handle crisis communications? Laying low, providing little information while the technical folks figure out how to fix things just doesn’t cut it, especially when your 70 million users are used to getting data instantaneously. Sony’s actions clearly state they don’t have a clue how severely they’ve been hacked, that the lawyers are running the show and 70 million users can just wait. Can anyone say X-Box?
Oh, and so much for that new PSP Go (online game downloads only from Playstation Network) I bought my son to play on the airplane on our Easter travels. It was a wonderful paperweight while, thankfully, his iPod worked just fine.