Posts Tagged ‘Sony’

Is Playstation’s “Welcome Back” Appreciation Program enough for you?

Sony is telling everyone that the Playstation Network should be seeing functionality return within the week for certain services. They will be implementing a phased roll out during the first week in May. In a post on the Playstation blog they announced that we will see a return of during the initial phase.

  • Restoration of Online game-play across the PlayStation®3 (PS3) and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems
    -This includes titles requiring online verification and downloaded games
  • Access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers
  • Access to account management and password reset
  • Access to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
  • PlayStation®Home
  • Friends List
  • Chat Functionality

This means that we will have most of the heavily used functions (and also Playstation Home) once again available to us very shortly. Also We are seeing some new security measures from Playstation including some new firewalls, automated software detection, and beefed up data protection and encryption.

 

Playstation Network

Is this too synonymous with "bad" to be good?

But this isn’t going to be enough to bring back a once loyal fanbase who feels as though their loyalty and trust has been shattered. Sony knows this very well and knows that it’s going to take more than a simple “We think we fixed it” to make amends. To help make things better Playstation is also showing a little peace offering in terms of free stuff. Since we all love free stuff here is a small bit if what you will be able to get with the roll out:

  • Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
  • All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
  • Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

So the good news is that you’ll get 30 free days of Playstation Plus and Music Unlimited. Whether or not this is an effective traffic generator remains to be seen, but it is a step in the right direction. They have also planned to roll out more “Welcome Back” offerings in the future, but what those are most likely depend on how what the needs of the users will be.

The question remains what will help bring you back to the Playstation Network? Is there even anything that can be done to help bring you back? Are you like a cheated lover who will not be swayed by paltry trinkets or will this help bring you back?

(Update: 2:40:00 EST 5-2-2011) Sony has stated that while there was an outside intrusion there was (to their knowledge) no truth to the rumor that credit card information has been used in any fraudulent manner. This means that a big portion of the Playstation hacking fears may in fact be unfounded. This alleviates a big chunk of the fear for a large portion of the PSN fanbase. Either way if this was your big anger point it seems you may have less to worry about.

 

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How can Sony correct the Playstation Network problem?

sony playstation network has a black eye

Yeah it's kinda like this

Did something happen to the Playstation Network? Seriously guys I can’t play White Knight Chronicles online right now. Oh Sony, what have you brought upon yourself? For those who are somehow unaware of the events of the past week let me lay it out there for you: the Playstation Network hasn’t been working. All this transpired in the week of a huge game release (Portal 2 anyone?) who’s multiplayer component was lauded as spectacular.

There was rampant speculation and rumor as to what has transpired but what it boils down to is that it was hacked. In a post on the Playstation Blog:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Yeah things aren’t looking to well for Sony at this stage. If my Twitter feed is any indication people are angry and rightfully so. Sony had suspicions of the problems and should have notified people that their information may have been compromised from the onset. While they may have chosen to maintain silence until they were absolutely certain it still paints them in a bad light. No matter how hard they work to fix this problem they are stuck in a PR nightmare that I do not envy.

However there is no such thing as “insurmountable”. Sadly in this case Sony is not just dealing with an “oopsie” moment. There is a serious problem here and Sony may very well have lost a decent chunk of loyal Playstation customers because of not only their inability to keep sensitive data private but their overall reaction to the entire problem.

But here’s some ways they can make up for their problems.

psn logo1.) Make the new PSN tighter than Area 51

Scratch that. People know about Area 51. Make it as tight as the place the government now does all their next level science projects. First and foremost nobody is going to use the Playstation Network unless you can not only state “This is hands down the most secure thing we’ve ever done” but have the proof behind it. Nobody is going to buy in unless they know why it’s secure. The caveat here is you will in fact be opening yourself up to more attacks by saying “Look how secure we are.” This means you’re really going to have lock it up slightly more than a heroine in a B-Movie. I suggest starting with  encryptions on all sensitive payment information and maybe passwords. #JustSayin

2.) Fix you PR problems

In my daily grind job I work marketing. It’s what I do, it’s what I love. With that I work closely with my PR team and quite frankly this is something they would see as a debacle. Shutting your eyes to a problem and not talking about it in public for a while will not make people forget about it. Especially a major source of entertainment and relaxation isn’t functioning the way they intended. While this isn’t on the level of Chipotle and the dead cat it still goes down a major corporate no-no. You waited almost a week to tell people their credit card information may (and I do stress may) be compromised. Proper customer relationship management starts with proper communication. If people don’t think you’re being straight with them then they will find someone who will. Now they don’t need me harping on this because odds are they know just what they need to do, but this was the big rub with a lot of people.

3.) Start the marketing campaign

What’s Kevin Butler up to? He’s been oddly silent on Twitter since April 20th. Start the marketing machine. It’s why marketing exists. Use it to your advantage. While yes he’s going to have to come out with more than a simple witty retort there’s no denying that Kevin does have a certain magic about him. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I wouldn’t mind running a brush through his feathery blond locks. If KB were to call me up and say “Why don’t we go share a man sized cup of coffee and a slice of rhubarb pie” I would be hard pressed to say no. In fact I think that’s what KB needs to start doing. Dolling out free pie and coffee from the warm hands of Kevin Butler can go a long way to soothe the rage of the scorned fans.

4.) You would be amazed what you can accomplish with bribery

Actually since we’re on the topic bribery in general is going to be your best bet. I’m sure fans will be much more eager to come back and test the waters if they have a valid reason. People are freetards; that is anyone who operates at a diminished mental capacity when someone says “Free <fill in the blank>”. Anyone who has ever been to a basketball game or any sporting event knows that when the “Free Stuff Cannon” get brought out you would have no problem knocking over an old lady to get a t-shirt that is 4 sizes too big or a plastic basketball. It’s either that or many people foster some deep seeded desire to be shot with an oversize air cannon. Spoiler Alert: It’s not as fun as it sounds. I’ve been there. Ahhhhh college. But toss a free game or something at the users at least get them motivated to come back and say “I’ll see what’s out there.”

5.) You’re gonna have to own up to this one

Yeah it’s a rough one. You’re going to have to stand up and say “Yep. We fucked this up. Sorry guys.” That simple sentence will go a long way with people to make things better. Yes it’s a very simple step but it is one that could totally revolutionize the entire business industry. Actual accountability and admitting fault. I’m not saying it’s going to get you out of the class action suit that’s almost certainly being drafted as we speak. But we all know you messed up. You know you messed up. Just step up. If you can’t parade the individual responsible out in front of everyone and say “It was all Zero Cool” then it was all you.

HACKERS WAS AWESOME

I bet you forgot Renoly Santiago was in this movie

6.) It would not hurt you at all to dance sexy

I’m super serial. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been angry as hell watching someone dance sexy for you. Nobody has their hands up. Now raise your hand if you have ever said “Don’t dance sexy for me, I don’t like it.” There may be a few hands up but they are in the overwhelming minority. Come on Sony. We know you. We love you. Shake a little somethin’ for us. This is something the beer companies learned a long time ago. Sex sells, sell it Sony. Nothing raunchy. Just a little tease. You’re not filthy, just a little dirty.

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NGP Pros and (minimal) Cons

With the internet aflutter right now about the NGP from Sony I was curious as to how large it would be. Thankfully this question didn’t last too long thanks to a post and an image from Kotaku (click the image below to go to post). They went ahead and sized it up to other handheld devices rather nicely to let us all see just what we’re working with.

Kotaku sizes up the Sony NGP

Kotaku sizes up the Sony NGP

NGP Pros

I’m an adult. I have big manly hands. Okay I have big hands….okay I have hands. But they are average adulty hands. My wife has an 8 year old brother who loves to play video games with me but his system of choice is the DSi. While it’s fun I always notice just how small this system is in my hands. It was not designed for someone of my stature to work with. This isn’t a knock on Nintendo at all. They know who they are targeting and they do it damn well. This is just me saying that it’s too small for me.

I have the same dilemma when I attempt to play a video game on my phone. While it is a fun distraction from time to time it will never be something that I do more than whimsical Angry Birds style gaming on given its diminutive nature.

What we see with the NGP is that it is slightly larger that the PSP. The PSP is a good solid fit for me with a familiar interface that seems to work with my natural expectations. Making it slightly larger ensures that I can easily pick it up and not feel like I need to use a complex system of toothpicks to make it work properly. Add into this the dual analog sticks and we’re moving it from “That’s pretty fun but here’s what I don’t’ really like” to “That’s pretty fun”.

Not to mention they upped the screen size on us. While I was never upset with screen on a PSP since hey…its a portable gaming device, making it larger just means it will be easier to see with my ever aging eyes.

NGP Cons

The biggest con I see at this stage comes with the overall size. Now this doesn’t necessarily have to be a con. I never found the PSP to be awkward but then again, I never really tried to run around with it in my pocket. However now that I notice it, I appear to be operating under the assumption that I will be joined at the hip to the NGP. Odds are I won’t be. However I will be more inclined it if proves to be a light, non invasive device that nestles perfectly into wherever I may attempt to place it.

The other worry comes from the rear mounted touch screen and its functionality. It’s not that I’m worried that it won’t work. I’m worried that it will work when I don’t’ want it to. This is, I’m sure, something Sony will address but without a hands on test I’m relying on news feeds for information.

NGP Conclusion

It’s fairly safe to say that I’m pumped as hell to give this a whirl. The “cons” really aren’t that much of a con at all. More of a “odds are they thought of it.” Give the technical specs listed below, this is no slouch when it comes to gaming. In fact the processes appears to have more horsepower than my wife’s Wii.

sony-ngp

The Sony NGP

Sony NGP Technical Specs

CPU ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
GPU SGX543MP4+
External

Dimensions

Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth)
(tentative, excludes largest projection)
Rear touch pad Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
Cameras Front camera, Rear camera
Sound Built-in stereo speakers

Built-in microphone

Sensors Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope,
three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
Location Built-in GPS

Wi-Fi location service support

Keys / Switches PS button

Power button

Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)

Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)

Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)

Right stick, Left stick

START button, SELECT button

Volume buttons (+/-)

Wireless
communications
Mobile network connectivity (3G)

IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)

Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

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Playstation Home Improvements: Take a lesson from Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy Chocobo

"Wark!"

WARNING: Marketing Idea Below. Hey at least I warned you.

With the release of Final Fantasy XIII people who are interested can pick up the PS3 version and apply to take part in the upcoming beta of Final Fantasy XIV – an MMORPG set in the wondrous world of chocobos and mages. While not everyone will get accepted into the beta, those that apply will receive a free in-game item for Final Fantasy XIV.

Since they have yet to announce if the game will be available for the XBox 360 all of the 360 owners currently receive are some avatar items. This creates a bit of a disparity between XBox 360 and PS3 owners. That’s fine by me, I mean 360 owners have been getting great things while PS3 owners are left to sit back and wait to buy their 360s.

But what’s important is that PS3 owners are doing something to get something. Playstation needs to take a lesson from this and use it to help themselves out. As of yet (at least to my knowledge) Playstation Home is relatively useless. You can play a game or two but nothing has yet to keep me coming back for more. The single most interesting thing they did in my eyes was Xi. They have all of these game specific spaces and all they really have to offer is “Hang out and chit chat!” Sorry Sony, not my thing.

However, imagine if while hanging out in Playstation home you were tasked to find things, or solve puzzles, or…well…anything engaging. When you solved the puzzle, found all the items, or whatever the task may be then you were eligible to receive an in-game item, map, tenting video, or some form of compensation to make us WANT to spend time in Home.

Now Sony, you and I both understand marketing and product placement. Imagine having a space that users flock to in order to receive special items and upgrades that are otherwise unavailable. Why I do believe you have some available ad space.

Just think of it. Someone comes in after searching for all 50 Golden Chocobo Statues to unlock that special sword to kill 50 wolves and get that special “You Killed 50 Wolves with the Sword of Home” Trophy and in the background they see a logo/image/video for a new game/movie/book/shoe/whatever. It’s like going onto a blog and finding a commercial for Final Fantasy XIII at the bottom of the post:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCgaTNm5jLo]

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