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PSN Fail Whale: PlayStation Network Glitch Keeps PS3 Users Offline

PlayStation Network, the online hub that connects millions of PlayStation 3 gaming consoles worldwide, is down for many users. Receiving error messages like “Registration of the trophy information could not be completed. The game will quit. (8001050F)” and “8001050F – Hardware failure. Cannot update Firmware or connect to Internet,” many users are being blocked not only from games that require online connection, but from offline gaming as well.

Owners of the original “fat” PS3 seem to be the only ones afflicted, whereas owners of the newer “skinny” PS3 seem to be spared, Sony confirms via Twitter.

Though it’s not yet clear what’s caused the PSN outage, early signs point to a mix of a calendar issue and faulty DRM:

Gadget Lab speculates:

Anecdotal evidence points to a combination of DRM and firmware issues rather than a network outage. Affected units have their system date set to Dec 31, 1999 (something impossible to do manually, according to PS3 News) or January 1st 2000 and the consoles are only able to play non-protected games.

This … make us think that a firmware bug screwed up the date and/or connectivity, and the games’ DRM is thrown into a panic as a result. If this is true, it’s embarrassing for Sony.

ZDNet: “some tech blogs are pointing to the fact that it could be because of the switch from February 28 to March, 1 as PSN has been known to be finicky when it comes to even-numbered years. Maybe PSN still thinks that just because there’s an Olympic broadcast, it must be a leap year.”

If you’ve been afflicted, sit tight: Sony tech support has told callers-in that the issue will be fixed by the morning.

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