PSN Experiences Y2K-Esque Outage [UPDATE] News

We never thought that we’d be using the phrase ‘Y2K-esque’, and yet here we are doing precisely that. How else would you describe a bug that nails the PS3’s clock back to January 1st 2000 and stops players from accessing PSN or even offline games?

At this point, the 8001050F error appears to be limited to ‘Fat’ PS3 models (Slim models remain unaffected). If triggered, the bug effectively locks players out of PSN when they attempt to sign-in. Some reports are even alleging that the error has been thrown-up while remaining offline, setting the console’s clock back to the start of the last decade and affecting the PS3’s DRM system in the process.

Sony’s official line on the outage is as follows: “We have found out that some users are experiencing a network connection failure when signing on to PlayStation Network. We are currently looking into the issue to identify the cause of this network connection failure and will update further information as necessary (on the Blog or official website). We appreciate your understanding and continued support.”

However, judging by the some of the news we’ve picked up today, we’d strongly advise gamers not to turn on their ‘Fat’ PS3’s if they’ve been powered down over the last 24-48 hours. In some cases, the bug appears to be affecting consoles that were on standby or even unconnected at the mains when the bug hit, so it’s perhaps best to keep your consoles turned off until more information is available (that’s certainly what we’re going to be doing).

If, on the other hand, you’ve experienced the error code already, then things aren’t looking too good at the moment. The error not only locks players out of PSN, but can essentially void items purchased over PSN or stop retail copies of games from working offline.

The reason for this is that the PS3’s DRM system (which authenticates purchased items over PSN) does not recognise the purchased content when the clock is set back to the year 2000. Additionally, any games that automatically synchronise Trophies when the game is first booted-up will not work with the faulty clock.

Update: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has provided some clarity on the issue, stating that it hopes to have the problem fixed within the next 24 hours. The statement also advises PS3 ‘Fat’ users not to use their system until further notice but clarifies that PS3 Slim models have not been affected by the error.

As detailed above, the bug is affecting games that attempt to install trophies when they’re booted-up, while Sony has also stated that users may not be able to playback videos that have been rented from the PlayStation Store.

Thanks, Digital Foundry & VG247

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