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The PlayStation 3's mystery screw-up

Brad Gallaway's picture

PlayStation Network

Well, trying to play Heavy Rain has been quite the experience. After initially getting the disc, my play sessions were interrupted with a few instances of skipped audio and multiple system freezes. I didn't get too far in the game before getting frustrated and taking an extended break, so when someone suggested that the day-one patch available on PlayStation Network (PSN) might be causing the problem, it wasn't too painful to delete all my data and start over.

After removing the patch I still had one system freeze, but in general the game played much smoother than it had before. I thought this was the end to my issues until this afternoon, when I was greeted with my PS3 reporting some kind of failure to log onto PSN and getting booted back to the XMB desktop. At first I thought it was some kind of router malfunction so I checked on my equipment and tried again, only to be greeted with the same response. I tried a few different things like disabling the Internet connection option and so on, but nothing fixed the issue.

Now it's understandable that online services will have problems and go down occasionally. No piece of technology is infallible, and I'm not bothered by that. However, what does bother me is that Heavy Rain is a single-player game. There is no logical reason that the game cannot be played off-line, yet because of this reported error, I was completely unable to play the game at all. Other players quickly reported having similar experiences and expressed the same sort of confusion—why was the game not able to be played off-line? Even worse, some players have reported missing data or corrupted data on their hardware.

Besides Heavy Rain, I've heard that players are having problems with White Knight Chronicles and MAG, as well. There may be other games similarly affected, and as of the time of writing, no solution had been found, nor any satisfactory explanation.

Adding to the confusion, it's been alleged that only certain models of PS3 have been affected, with the "slim" configurations supposedly still functioning as normal. Some still believe that the issue is due to some sort of PSN failure, but others have put forth the theory that it's some kind of Y2K-inspired problem with the older consoles. Whatever the issue, Sony now has an incredible public relations nightmare on its hands. Not only was one of their biggest titles already greeted by a host of technical problems, players across the country are now effectively locked out of using hardware and software paid for with good, hard-earned money.

One other thing to consider: if the problem is indeed something similar to Y2K in nature and these consoles are now prevented from going online to download a fix, the possibility exists that owners of the affected units might have to actually physically send them in to be repaired—and don't even get me started on what would happen if a player's saved data ends up being unrecoverable.

Any way you slice it, this is a cluster-fudge on a galactic scale, and it's hard to imagine Sony getting themselves out of this fix unscathed. It's especially ironic since there's been much talk lately of Sony promoting the PS3 and its PSN service as being comparable or even better than what's available on the 360. Although it's true that Microsoft's Red Rings were (and still are) and ever-present nightmare, at least it made sense of a kind. Too much heat, melty innards, and so on… you can wrap your head around it. This PS3 issue is just bizarre from any angle, and doubly infuriating for being so.

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Platform(s): PS3  

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Maybe its because I don’t

Maybe its because I don’t have my PS3 with me. Or because I’m virtually working 24 hours a day. Or because, at the moment, other things have a bigger weight. But I’m finding the reaction to this a bit exaggerated.

It’s not as if Sony did it on purpose. Humans and machines are prone to errors. People will just have to wait and do something else before things are resolved. For the time being, this is hardly the apocalypse, IMO.

...

As the owner of an 80 GB BC PS3, I'm really pissed right now at Sony. I just went out on Saturday and picked up Star Ocean: The Last Hope, and had planned on replaying Heavy Rain as well. I get home from going out to pick up the Star Ocean 4 guide, though, and I discover that my PS3 has effectively been bricked either due to a serious problem with the PSN or some bizarre internal clock issue. That sound you hear is all my Good Will towards Sony from the recent deluge of quality games (Bioshock 2, Heavy Rain, the soon-to-be-released Final Fantasy XIII) going down the drain.

There's word that this issue might fix itself something in the evening tonight once Japan hits March 2nd, but Sony has a major PR disaster on their hands. This didn't just hit PS3s, it hit old PS3s purchased and used by what could be described as the most dedicated of the Sony faithful. That's a serious problem for Sony with the whole world entering the weekly news cycle.

yeah, this sucks. but at

yeah, this sucks.

but at least my copy of the god of war collection still plays...just no trophies.

I just checked and the

I just checked and the internet still works on the PS3.

even though I can't connect to PSN, the browser still works and and I'm still allowed to search for updates.

So if this is a problem that can be fixed by update, people shouldn't have problems downloading it.

I'm a Slim owner. Hopefully

I'm a Slim owner. Hopefully Sony will stay classy and respond to this thing appropriately. They've been growing their market big time over the last year, and now is not the time to be anything but totally supportive of the early adopters.

It's par for the course this console generation, unfortunately, as these companies with non-PC backgrounds learn what PCs have had sorted out for years. Red Ring, Brick-flavored firmware update, or mysterious network problem. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

The PSN issue has been going

The PSN issue has been going on since Saturday evening. I just started playing Call of Juarez and thought that maybe the problem was caused by the update required by the game; One minute I'd be signed in to PSN, the next minute I'm getting error messages.

It doesn't appear that this is the only problem though, movie previews on Blu-Ray broadcast in 2.0, while the movie has to be told to play in 5.1 surround. The video section of my PS3 is doing the same thing, yet I have found no solution to getting to play in 5.1 surround.

I had issues with the trophy system about a year ago, and it didn't clear up until Sony did another system update. I hope we won't have to wait long for that.

issue just fixed

issue just fixed itself...lol

Resolution

As of 7 PM EST, all formerly-bricked PS3s are back in working order. I got home from work tonight and mine was back in action, the bug apparently having fixed itself. If you find any trophies missing from your profile, just resynch it a few times and they'll pop up again. You should be able to resume Heavy Rain now.

Hopefully we'll hear word from Sony soon on what they plan on doing to prevent this from happening again.

Mine is working properly as

Mine is working properly as well. Seems Sony's hands off IT policy paid off...

Anw back to MAG.

Quote: However, what does

Quote:

However, what does bother me is that Heavy Rainis a single-player game. There is no logical reason that the game cannot be played off-line, yet because of this reported error, I was completely unable to play the game at all.

Why is this being questioned now? I've been shouting about the 360 doing this on purpose for ages.

Since the 360 gave us the NXE I have been unable to play the full versions of any of my purchased arcade games, while offline (It still plays the trial version though, without achievements) even if its a single player game such as Geometry Wars.
But to make matters even worse than that, if I am offline it won't let me watch a video file from an external hard drive.

Online requirement for XBox

That shouldn't be the case, gamefreak666; it represents some error with your account rather than normal operations for XBox Live. I had the same thing happen when I recently sent my X360 for repair -- er, replacement -- and it has to do with the fact that at least since NXE the downloaded games are linked to a console serial number. There is functionality on xbox.com to fix this issue, although it will also require you to download all the games again. Inconvenient, yes, but it is not true that XBox Live has a blanket requirement to play single-player games online.

As for the PSN outage, is anyone else shocked that they managed to screw up leap year implementation, of all things? I mean, given that the console was released post-2000 and is not expected to last 100 years, the code requirements for this are not complicated.

That's probably why it was

That's probably why it was overlooked. I'm no tech tester, but I bet they checked to see if it worked on actual leap year, which it did, and then just assumed it would be fine.

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