It looks like Sony's long, PSN nightmare is finally coming to an end -- almost. Today, the company announced that it will restore PlayStation Network and Qriocity services in the Americas, Europe and most of Asia by week's end. The only exceptions are Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, where users will have to await further details before regaining full access. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, spokeswoman Yuki Kobayashi added that Sony is in the process of finalizing an agreement to protect credit card owners in these three countries, where authorities have taken a particularly cautious approach to the data breach. This means that the company won't see global restoration by the end of May, as previously hoped, but Kobayashi said the plans were delayed simply because Sony needed more time to fully secure its infrastructure (sound familiar?). You can read a lengthier explanation in the press release after the break.
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SONY AND SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE FULL RESTORATION OF PLAYSTATION®NETWORK SERVICES

Tokyo, May 31, 2011 – Sony Corporation and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) announced today that Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI, the company) will fully restore all PlayStation®Network services in the Americas, Europe/PAL territories and Asia, excluding Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea by the end of this week. The company will also resume Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity™ for PlayStation®3 (PS3®), PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), VAIO and other PCs. Details for Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea as well as the remaining services on Qriocity will be announced as they become available.

The company implemented considerable security enhancements to the network infrastructure, as well as conducted testing of the payment process and commerce functions. The first phase of PlayStation Network and Qriocity restoration began on May 15 in the Americas and Europe/PAL territories, followed by Japan and Asian countries and regions on May 28, when the company brought partial services back online. With this partial restoration users were able to access to some of the services such as online game play, account management, friend lists and chat functionality were restored. The full restoration of PlayStation Network as well as part of services to become available on Qriocity will include:

• Full functionality on PlayStation®Store
• In-game commerce
• Ability to redeem vouchers and codes
• Full functionality on Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3, PSP, VAIO and
other PCs
• Full functionality on Media Go

Customers will be able to purchase and download games and video content from the PlayStation®Store on PS3 or PSP. In addition, consumers will have full access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity through PS3, PSP, VAIO and other PC's. Service restoration of Video on Demand powered by Qriocity™ and Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for a variety of network-enabled Sony devices will be announced later.

"We have been conducting additional testing and further security verification of our commerce functions in order to bring the PlayStation Network completely back online so that our fans can again enjoy the first class entertainment experience they have come to love," said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. "We appreciate the patience and support shown during this time."

The company will be offering customers a "Welcome Back" package of services and premium content to all registered PlayStation Network* and Qriocity account services. The details of this program will continue to be detailed regionally.

* Only available for those countries with access to PlayStation®Store.

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Sony promises global PSN restoration by week's end, except in some parts of Asia