PlayStation Network…it’s back, do you care?

The good news is the PlayStation Network (PSN) is back online in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Question is…will gamers return to the platform that not only went down for weeks but also may have compromised their personal identities?

For it’s part Sony is emphasizing security by requiring users to update their software and firmware as well as change the passwords on the PSN account. Sony has added a potential layer of difficulty to changing user passwords, normally a simple and familiar process. PSN users can change their passwords ONLY from their own PS3 system or the PS3 system on which their account was activated. PSN/PS3 users who have never downloaded any content must go through the added step of checking their email at the email address used when they registered with PSN and follow the link provided to reset their passwords. Both the software upgrade and new passwords are required before users will be able to access PSN.

PSN access was being phased in over the course of the day Saturday 14 May, 2011 and according to Sony the U.S. and Canada should now has access. PC Magazine, however, reports that as of 8 a.m. ET some states and cities remained without service.

In the wake of the outage, Sony is offering free identity monitoring and identity theft protection programs to users in countries, like the U.S. where such services are available. Sony is also creating a “welcome back package” with details to be disclosed later to encourage users to return to PSN.

For some, just have access to PSN again will be enough to bring them back. Many readers of The Preternatural Post are avid Twitter users, relying on Twitter for much, if not all, of their role-playing. Though Twitter has not experienced the massive outage or hacker attacks (that we know of) that Sony experienced, it is difficult to imagine the level and duration of a Twitter outage that would drive role players to, Jaiku, Qaiku, Ohawo or Woondy. Facebook is obviously not an RP option, either. Fortunately, Twitter doesn’t require users to prove they are “real people” so the potential for identity theft are limited.

The big question for Sony is whether they can lure back the “casual PSN users” and video gamers who utilized PSN and PS3 but for whom it was not their primary gaming platform. These users, presumably, had other gaming options and turned to them during the PSN outage. Those users are the true targets of the yet-to-be-announced Welcome back package.