Sony's PlayStation Network was hit by a devastating denial-of-service attack over Christmas. Now that the gaming service is back online, should the company be offering players some sort of peace offering? If so, what's a reasonable gift in this scenario? It's quite a conundrum, because the festive downtime wasn't predominantly Sony's fault. A hacking group called Lizard Squad orchestrated the attack (they also targeted Xbox Live) causing all online functionality to collapse. It meant new console owners on Christmas Day were unable to redeem game download codes or create new PSN accounts, while existing PlayStation owners were locked out of the online multiplayer modes for their favorite games.
To make things right, Sony is giving PlayStation Plus members an automatic five-day subscription extension. This easily covers the extended downtime, although, because Sony obviously can't give you those Christmas hours back, it'll also be offering a 10 percent discount for one total cart purchase later this month. Is the gift a little ungenerous? Consider this analogy: You've paid to get into your favorite club on Friday night, but suddenly the music stops. It seems vandals have snuck in and destroyed the sound system, so the club's owner apologizes and works hard to fix everything. Eventually the music comes back on and again, to say sorry, the bar manager offers everyone a free drink.
Was there an expectation for the club owner to offer everyone that drink? Or does it just add insult to injury, given your night is ruined and you paid to get into the club anyway? It could be argued that Sony is offering fair compensation (if not more) in terms of sheer monetary value for the PSN outage -- but of course, it's hard to put a price on a less than stellar Christmas. Regardless, Sony has over 7.9 million PlayStation Plus subscribers at the moment; an annual subscription costs $49.99, so this little gesture could cost the firm at least $5 million. Microsoft is yet to offer anything for its (albeit less disruptive) outage, so this could be a chance for the company to one up its closest rival with a better deal for the Xbox faithful.