The PSN Hack Of 2011 Was The Best Thing To Happen To Sony
This past week I have thrown some controversy in the way of Microsoft and Xbox One as well as both Sony and Microsoft with their new consoles so I figure it’s only fair that Sony gets its own focused turn now.
It’s weird looking at comments on articles, calling me out for being a Sony PlayStation fanboy after only mildly berating Titanfall and the Xbox One; it’s especially weird considering I’ve never actually owned a Sony PlayStation in my life. Not one. Further, I have no plans on purchasing a PlayStation 4 anytime soon because I want an Xbox One first.
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
But hey! Everyone’s a critic, right? So I thought fuck it, let’s try something different and feed the fire a bit with this. So, controversial, but not like the others. This one’s got praise in it.
Why? Well mostly just because I can. Partly to be a troll. Partly because I’ve had this saved in my stockpile of article ideas for years now. Mostly just because it’s a fundamental turning point in Sony’s history and I’d like to talk about it.
The thing that put the names LulzSec and Anonymous on the names of pretty much every gamer in the world. The thing that showed us that nobody’s information on the internet was ever really safe, but that was not something for us as gamers to worry about but rather the people we entrust with our information. Nobody was safe, be it BioWare, Capcom or Valve. But Sony… oh they got hit hard.
See, when the PlayStation Network was hacked, along with it came various revelations of just how weak Sony’s security policies were, as well just how little they cared about our rights to privacy and integrity, storing sensitive information in unencrypted plaintext files.
It was a dark time for Sony, quite possibly the darkest in their history, and it meant that stocks took a massive drop and overall consumer faith in the company was all but abolished. Meanwhile LulzSec continued to make threats about hacking and– look you can read all of this in the link above or in the infograph I’ll attach below, if you need catching up. Skip ahead if you already know the story.
So why do I say that this was the best thing to happen to Sony?
Well for starters they’ve gone from strength to strength since then. But also it was a wake-up call that they had to start treating gamers with some modicum of respect; not as customers but rather investors in their company. And to their credit, Sony have done well to pick up the shattered pieces of failed trust in their business model.
Let’s start with the exclusives. Now I know that a lot of these exclusives were already in development for a while but they’ve really been bringing it in recent years with these. Granted they are in dire need of some new ideas right now although that’s not to say they aren’t coming in the near future either. Sony has a lot of exclusives and some of them are ones that everybody really wants to play. The Uncharted series and recently The Last of Us immediately spring to mind.
Sony has done well to capitalise on the game development studios they own, pushing out quality titles that push up the value of the PlayStation experience.
The next thing — and one that I consider to be a direct response to the PSN Hack — is the new PlayStation Plus subscription model. Those who are new to the PlayStation experience might be surprised to discover that there was a time when multiplayer on the PlayStation was infinitely inferior to multiplayer on the Xbox. Even though you had to pay for it on Xbox, you got what you paid for and that was some quality matchmaking, the ability to communicate with other players and some really cool specials each week.
On the PlayStation you didn’t get a lot of these things. Oh there were specials but they were pretty underwhelming. The multiplayer was free, so that was nice, but good luck trying to find a game and then even more good luck trying to communicate with players using that abhorrent in-game chat mechanic. Sure Sony tried; they introduced the likes of PlayStation Home and Cross Media Bar (XMB) interface, but they only went so far to really producing a quality experience.
Enter the new PS Plus subscription, post PSN hack. Not just that but the overall multiplayer experience now seems to be improved; drastically so on PlayStation 4. You can use proper voice chat now! Plus every month you get a few games loaned to you for free, to keep for as long as you own that subscription. And they’re not shitty arcade titles or games nobody was going to play anyway (*cough* Microsoft) but actual triple-A games and quality arcade titles that would have sold copies anyway, if they were on sale.
This month on PlayStation Plus you can get Outlast, Metro: Last Light, Payday 2: The Heist, Remember Me as well as Street Fighter X Tekken and ModNation Racers for PS Vita. Meanwhile on Xbox 360 we got Dead Island (Riptide if you’re in SA) and Toy Soldiers: Cold War on Games for Gold.
Microsoft can fuck right off with that.
And on that note we can move to the final big change that Sony has had to make since the hack and it relates to my initial point; they actually had to start giving a damn. This could possibly have been why they opted for the no-DRM approach. Sure we can stand on ceremony and sing their praises for sticking it to corporate consumerism and blah-blah-blah but what if Sony were just looking out for number one? What if Sony just knew that if they even tried something they’d be roasted at the stake like a sixteenth century gypsy?
Maybe, and I know I’m asking everyone to really stretch their suspensions of disbelief here, but maybe Sony didn’t implement any sort of always-online DRM because they were still trying to repair their damaged reputation from the PSN hack — something that I’ve noticed a lot of gamers have completely forgotten, when they try to talk about what a superior service the PlayStation Network is.
Still, I can’t help but think that LulzSec did a massive service to consumers — as always, one might say — when they hacked into Sony’s PlayStation Network and took it down, and then did it again. That was the wake-up call that Sony needed. That was the slap or cold water or moving train to the face that Sony required in order to wake up and realise that their supporters deserve their respect and their love.
And since then you have to admit, even if it’s not really love but just looking out for themselves, even if we have to pay for some of it, and even if you’re an X-bot, that Sony has been giving back to gaming.
live happily ever after be crushed under the boot of the Xbox One’s Kinect functionality.