Sony Playstation 3 consoles began to reactivate late Monday, after an error with the console’s online network rendered some machines incapable of playing many recent games, leaving thousands of gamers stranded since Sunday.
Sony has identified the problem to be software related, saying it believed the problem was being caused by a software bug in the clock functionality incorporated into the system.
"We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year. Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally," Sony said in a statement, adding that users can adjust time settings manually or online.
Sony isn’t the first console maker to face user outrage this generation. There were (and still are) massive hardware failures of the early Xbox 360 units — signaled by what owners called the "red ring of death" that appeared on the front of their systems. The problem was so severe that Microsoft had to set aside over $1 billion to fix broken machines and extend warranties.
Analysts say Sony could realistically take up to a week to fix things before it faces any sort of long term ramifications.
“If they fix it within a week, nobody’s going to really care,” says Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. “The people that are affected are going to be pissed and Sony will send them a code for [a free game] and an apology and that’ll be it. … If it drags on past Friday, though, I think they’ll have a problem. And if it’s a hardware issue, then it’s a serious problem. … This pales in comparison to the red ring issue the 360 had, though, and Microsoft seems to have weathered that fine.”
-- Jim Goldman contributed to this report