The last few days have been an anxious time for gamers, with the highly publicised hack of the PlayStation Network and potential loss of over 77 million user account details including names, email addresses and most worryingly bank account / credit card details.
Go on any tech blog / games forum and you’ll see myriad rants and suggestions. But aside from the sound and fury, Sony need to act quickly and decisively to rescue their brand and customer goodwill.
1. Say sorry. Properly.
It has taken Sony almost a week to admit there was even an issue, and blamed unspecified technical problems. This wasn’t convincing anyone, and the updates on their blogs and Twitter feeds were almost non existent. I’d suggest an appearance from one of their top brass; Jack Tretton or Howard Stringer to openly admit they dropped the ball and make a public apology.
2. Connect, engage and reassure.
Update the PS blog and Twitter feeds with regular updates. Listen to customers and respond to reasonable criticism.
3. Do a full root and branch security review.
Launch a full investigation, and fully cooperate with the US Senate and UK’s Information Commissioner. They definitely need to start storing data more securely (current massive errors include holding credit card numbers in non encrypted databases*, non salted data being sent outside SSL, etc). This is frankly a shambles for a multi national company.
4. Compensate customers.
Having said sorry, give people a free game or some kind of rebate. Free PSN credits probably won’t be top of anyone’s list at the moment though.
5. Focus, and give a damn.
Stop announcing iPad rivals like the S1, and throw as much resource as possible on sorting this out.
It certainly won’t be easy for them, but there are ways back from this. Sure there are some ignorant fanboys gloating about this, but if anything Xbox Live is just as at risk. Sony have been unlucky, but how they handle the next 72 hours will be crucial.
* Update 28 April – Sony are stating that credit card details were encrypted on their US blog.