UPDATE 12/27/14: Two days after the initial attack, Sony’s Playstation Network is still down. As of 11:43 a.m. Eastern, Sony’s Ask Playstation Twitter account stated that the company was “aware of sign-in issues on PS4 and PS3,” and that “engineers are investigating the cause.” At 2:22 p.m EST, EW was able to sign into the PSN via Playstation 3, but couldn’t log in to the network on Playstation 4.
ORIGINAL POST: There’s nothing like the thrill of opening up presents on Christmas morning and playing with a new toy or video game. And there are likely few things as disappointing for a child as finding out that he or she can’t actually play with that game.
That was the case for many on Dec. 25, when both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, the online networks for Sony and Microsoft’s game consoles, were offline for most of Christmas. They’ve been experiencing issues into today.
Both Sony and Microsoft publicly acknowledged issues that were preventing users from logging into their online networks Thursday, with PlayStation’s support Twitter account revealing issues had begun on Dec. 24.
We’re aware users are having issues logging into XBL & are actively working to resolve. Please visit http://t.co/99xfLNN0o8 for updates ^JX
— Xbox Support (1-5) (@XboxSupport) December 25, 2014
We’re aware that some users are having issues logging into PSN – engineers are investigating
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) December 25, 2014
Neither company revealed what exactly caused the widespread outages, but a hacker group calling itself the Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for the issues. The group tweeted throughout the day giving updates on its alleged attacks.
— Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 25, 2014
Another group, the Finest Squad, claimed it spent Christmas attempting to stop the Lizard Squad’s alleged hacks, though the Lizard Squad alleged that the networks would come back online because it had decided to stop their attacks—not because of anything the Finest Squad did.
Attacks were stopped around 2 hours ago, the current downtime is just the aftermath.
— Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 26, 2014
Neither Microsoft or Sony has publicly blamed hackers for either networks’ downtime or specifically described which problems are plaguing their systems. These services have seen issues on past Christmases–the sheer number of new users can sometimes cause them to buckle–but the scope of this year’s outages appears larger than in previous holiday seasons.
The Lizard Squad has publicly stated for several weeks its plans for Christmas. The Lizard Squad has also claimed responsibility for periodic outages that have occurred throughout December. No major issues were reported for Nintendo’s online services, however, though the company’s network did experience problems on Christmas last year.
Regardless of whether the services were plagued with issues as a result of hacking, too many new users, or a combination of the two, the problem is an unfortunate one for anyone who received a new PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or a game for either console on Christmas. These new systems require updates downloaded through the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live to use many of their features, as well as to play some of the year’s biggest games.
New titles and the game consoles themselves receive frequent patches and online updates, and without the ability to play online, many families may have simply had a $400 brick sitting in their living rooms for Christmas.