What Do You Want To Hear From Sony?

Early in the morning on the U.S. east coast, Kazuo Hirai will address the devastating outage of and loss of customer data from the PlayStation Network. Hirai's participation itself sends a message. To investors, he is Sony's second-in-command. To gamers, he's one of PlayStation's principal figures, if not its face for the past five years.

Hirai, 50, has been the top executive in Sony Computer Entertainment since the launch of the PlayStation 3. His appearance tomorrow, at 2 p.m. in Japan, is analogous to a head of state speaking directly to citizens in a time of crisis. In such times people want answers and accountability from their buck-stops-here leaders, and we've seen little of it so far.

A nearly two-week outage of its entire online gaming network, used by 77 million subscribers, is bad enough. Piled on top of that, on top of the shameful lack of network security, the loss of users' personal information, on top of lawsuits, government inquiries and rumors of credit card numbers for sale, even reports they've been used for fraud, is Sony's abysmal handling of this calamity from the outset.

Sony simply hasn't been ahead of the story in any meaningful sense. Every major announcement has been a reaction, leaving the perception, which is deadlier to a brand than any fact, that the company has sought to conceal or minimize the scope of the issue. First the network was down; then it was confirmed to be a computer attack; then personal information was lost; and there still is a question - no doubt lingering because of Sony's inability to completely address the matter with its customers - that credit card data has been stolen and is being used by criminals.

Some suggest, using back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the average per-customer cost of a data breach, that Sony could lose $US24 billion in this mess. Assuredly, that would be over time, and it may come in the form of a decline in PlayStation-related sales owing to loss of consumer trust and brand tarnishment, multiplied by not losing the market position to act more robustly, as it could in better times.

That would seem to make tomorrow's appearance, especially for someone in line to take Sony's helm, the most important moment in PlayStation's history outside of its birth. The end consumer of Hirai's message will be investors and customers. Speaking as a customer - and I'm a PlayStation Plus subscriber with my own money, not just a press member - here's what I want to see:

• A company that has, finally, forthrightly addressed and completely described the scope of the damage.

• A company that has acknowledged its substandard practices and sincerely apologized for them.

• A company that has described concrete steps it is taking to secure its customers' information.

• A company that, rather than deflecting blame or responsibility, has taken all of it - even when this was caused by outside malefactors.

That's just my scope, and it is very broad. Others will want more specific assurances, guarantees and answers. What do you want to see? What do you want to hear? What do you not want to hear? What headline don't you want to see when you wake up tomorrow?

Sony may not be listening here, directly. But our expectations and reactions absolutely matter in the larger picture, helping to frame Sony's response, and whether PlayStation is a brand recovering or declining as a result.


Comments

    So... You want Sony to do the four things they've already done?

    Along with the above points i want to know:

    - A general timeframe of when the PSN is going back up in any form (not even a date, just a general sense - a day, a week, a month, a year WHAT?)

    - Confirm as to what if any compensation will be given to PS+ subs and MMO subs.

    - What their plan is going forward to earn the trust and respect of the gaming community again.

    Why do I have the feeling he'll walk out there and say something like "All Playstation Network users will get a free copy of RIIIIIIIDGE RACER!" at best.
    I guess we'll all know in less than an hour.

    What's done is done - no change now will get back data that's been stolen.

    As soon as they suggested personal information had been taken, and that they couldn't confirm whether credit card info was taken, I cancelled my card and got a new one.

    Anyone who hasn't done that, I consider to be an idiot.

    But as of now, there's only two things I want to hear: PSN is back up! and... We've caught the person/people responsible.

    Anything else that's said would be pointless BS.

    Yep, they've really screwed the pooch this time. Not a good thing to do when you're already in last place.

    Well, the Japanese company way of dealing with these things is bowing profusely and making vague promises of stern-talking-tos. Politicians usually just resign (except for Ishihara, unfortunately).

    i want some pie. can they atleast give me that? if they can't (won't) give me some pie, then an estimate as to when gamers can kill and maim each other, or shoot your mates horse, over the psn. i hope it could be as easy as seperating the servers that operate the ps store with credit card info etc from the general pvp online gaming and friends list servers. i dont want to wait 2 more weeks so they can fix/secure credit info that they could just disconnect, when the pvp online gaming works perfectally fine. the only problem is they hit the big red emergency button that shuts down the whole psn, hitting a tumour with a sledgehammer instead of cutting it out with a scalpel, and makin a pie with it. now we all gunna have a slice, plenty to go round. sony's shout

    please sort this out im a true sony supporter and wish them luck with this problem...DEATH TO HACKERS!!

    Soz guys. LAWLS! We gaves youse data to de hackaers!

    They should find a few trucks of PSPgo's and give them away to Australians and in return we will get Lara Bingle to spread the good word about Sony??

    This is a Japanese company lets see if either Kaz Hirai falls on his sword or is promoted.

    I am thinking the former as all the Networking and PS3 developments along with security etc was developed on his watch before they shuffled him to Number 2 in the company.

    Just saw the press conference i was all for an apology and all for some humanity to be shown by this company, but the press conference sealed they're fate for me i will no longer play on a Ps3 or an Xfag 360 pc is where it is unfortunately.

    Kaz and his cronies care about money and not about our loyalty

      "Xfag 360"? That's the worst insult for a console I've ever heard. I think that actually reflects more poorly on you than the Xbox.

    Just want to hear I can finally go back online again to play my games.

    Nice Sony, your going to reward me with something that i have to pay for in a months time?

    F*** YOU.

    I'mm settle for "It's Rrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiidddddddddggggggggggeeeeeeeeee RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrraaaaccccccccccceeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Join the discussion!