PSN breach and restoration to cost $171M, Sony estimates

In the lead-up to its fiscal year 2010 earnings report this Thursday, Sony today released a revised forecast -- forewarning a $3.2 billion loss (yowzah!) -- for the twelve months ending March 31, 2011. Having occurred in late April, the PlayStation Network attack and subsequent data theft and outage fall outside of that period, but the company nonetheless addressed "the impact" of the event during an investors call today, "since there have been so many media inquiries about this incident."

"As of today," said Sony, according to its call script, "our currently known associated costs for the fiscal year ending March 2012 are estimated to be approximately 14 billion yen on the consolidated operating income level." That's roughly $171 million -- a "reasonable assumption," says Sony -- that the company expects to spend throughout the current fiscal year on its "personal information theft protection program," in addition to "welcome back programs," customer support, network security "enhancements" and legal costs. Sony noted that revenue loss from the outage and recovery, which also spans its Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment services, had been factored into the cost, as well.

"So far, we have not received any confirmed reports of customer identity theft issues, nor confirmed any misuse of credit cards from the cyber-attack," the company added. "Those are key variables, and if that changes, the costs could change."

And what about the class action suits? Sony qualifies them as "all at a preliminary stage, so we are not able to include the possible outcome of any of them in our results forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2012 at this moment."