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  1. PlayStation Network Free Games Detailed

    Not too long after the PlayStation Network went down, Sony promised two free games from a list of PS3 and PSP games, as well as 30 days of free PlayStation Plus service. Sony has officially released the details over on the PlayStation Blog, and they're not throwaway titles after all, though they may be titles you already own.

    Shortly after the PlayStation Store has returned (rumored to return by the end of this week), the following list of titles will be available to choose from for 30 days:

    • Dead Nation (PS3)
    • inFAMOUS (PS3)
    • LittleBigPLanet (PS3)
    • Super Stardust HD (PS3)
    • Wipeout HD + Fury (PS3)
    • LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
    • ModNation Racers (PSP)
    • Pursuit Force (PSP)
    • Killzone Liberation (PSP)
    Along with two of the above titles of your choice, Sony will be offering a free 30 days of PlayStation Plus membership, existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive a free 60 days, PlayStation Home will be offering users over 100 free virtual items, existing Music Unlimited Premium Trial subscription members will receive an additional 30 days, existing members of Music Unlimited Premium and Basic will receive an additional 30 days of service as well as additional days to cover time lost from the outage, and a selection of "On Us" movie rentals will be made available over one weekend that has yet to be named.

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  2. PlayStation Network Returns

    The PlayStation Network is back, thus ending a monthlong nightmare of having to play the passionately-crafted storymode of games and being forced to buy our games in tangible form at retail stores, having to put on clothes and interact with people. As of last night, Sony rolled out firmware update 3.61, which, after downloading and forcing users to change their previously hacked PSN passwords, allowed us back onto the network so we could obsessively compare our trophies with buddies on our friends list and finally get to PS3 Portal 2 co-op. The soothing green in the map above represents which regions have had PSN service restored. Last night when the announcement first hit the Internet, only a small portion of the northeastern United States was illuminated, though as one can see from the above map, service should be restored to rest of the country as of this morning. The official PlayStation Blog reports that if you are within a region that is supposed to have regained PSN service, but do not currently actually have PSN service, nothing is wrong, and the rollout may just take a bit of time to hit your area. The PlayStation Blog also reports that if there are certain features that are still down, such as the PlayStation Store, they are working on getting said feature(s) up as soon as possible. And what about those free games and service subscriptions Sony promised us as an apology for the PSN outage? Well, they haven't been announcement yet, but Kaz Hirai himself assured us the packages will be announced within the coming days, and that they will be region specific. Head on past the break to see Kaz Hirai's official announcement of the PSN's restoration, then quickly hop into Portal 2 and get testing. GLaDOS can't wait all day.

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  3. PlayStation Network Back Within Week, Sony Giving Free Downloads as Apology

    The saga of the PlayStation Network outage will be coming to a close within a week, according to Sony. Having built new security measures into the network, Sony will begin a phased restoration of the network's services, which includes online game-play, Qriocity services, account management and password reset, access to download un-expired movie rentals, PlayStation@Home, friends list and chat functionality. Along with restoring the default PSN functions as well as the added security features, Sony will be creating a new position within the company, Chief Information Security Officer, whose sole purpose is to monitor the safety of user data, as well as to supplement existing information security personnel.

    With the service going live again, Sony will force a password change for each user in the form of a required system software update that will only allow users to update and change their password on the same PlayStation 3 console on which their account was activated. Also, like a certain blogger may have predicted, Sony will be offering a variety of free downloads and services based on region, in the form of the "Welcome Back Appreciation Program." The program will provide free content downloads based on territory, all existing PSN customers will receive a free 30 day membership to the PlayStation Plus service, all PlayStation Plus members will receive a free 30 days of the service, and Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers will receive 30 days of free service as well.

    So, it looks like we can put this business behind us soon enough. Hopefully PSN users didn't experience any kind of credit card or identity issues from the hack, and hey, hopefully the free content Sony will be offering will be something worthwhile.

    (via PlayStation.Blog)

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  4. Who the PlayStation Network Hack Really Affects

    The external intrusion, as Sony is wont to refer to it, into the PlayStation Network is kind of a big deal. Straight from their Q&A about the situation, Sony confirms that there are 77 million accounts that could possibly have completely compromised data. All data from the profile, such as name, email, birthday and address, plus maybe more, is in the hands of those who hacked the network. Smooth move, Sony. That said, they have finally announced that they have no evidence that credit card information had been gleaned. Unlike their personal data tables, they’d deigned to encrypt all of that. That hasn’t stopped people from coming out of the woodwork to blame Sony’s data leak for their own financial issues however. As other outlets have pointed out, that’s possibly due to being on high alert for such things.

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  5. PSN Update: Trophies, Cloud Saves, Download History Safe and Credit Card Info was Encrypted

    A few days ago, Sony spoke out about the PlayStation Network breach in great detail, delivering potentially devastating news. It looks like there is finally some good news regarding the fiasco, though, as Sony assures us that trophies, friend lists, PS+ cloud saves and account download history remain intact and will be restored when the network goes live once again. As for the worst potential piece of news that came out of this whole nightmare -- users' credit card information being stolen -- Sony claims that the credit card information was indeed encrypted, which, even if the info was stolen and decrypted, removes some of the negativity surrounding Sony, as anything can be hacked regardless of its encryption and security, so at least Sony was responsible regarding the most sensitive information they guard.

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  6. Sony Explains PSN Outage In Greatest Detail Yet: Personal, Login and Possibly Credit Card Info Compromised

    After the earlier news of Sony shutting down the PlayStation Network indefinitely hit the masses, Sony posted their official press release, one which they claim they will be sending out to all users with a registered PSN account. We've all been following the harrowing collapse of the PSN since it began just over a week ago, with rumors swirling regarding the safety of the sensitive information the network contains. Well, as detailed in the press release, one of the worst scenarios possible seems to have come true: Just about every bit of sensitive information users provided the PSN could've been compromised, including the usual menagerie of account creation details, (name, address, birthdate, login, password, etc.), along with profile purchase history, billing address, and security questions and answers. Thankfully, Sony claims to have no evidence stating that users' credit card information has been compromised, though they aren't ruling out the possibility. Check out the full press release after the break, as it contains more detail regarding the situation, as well as cautionary advice from Sony about how one should handle the compromise.

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  7. Sony Sheds Light: PlayStation Network Outage Due to “External Intrusion”

    Sony's PlayStation Network mysteriously went down a couple of days ago, with Sony delivering the horrifying news that the network could be down for a few days following the beginning of the outage, depriving everyone of the wonderful co-op modes of a couple of recently released, highly anticipated titles. Over on the PlayStation Knowledge Base, Sony has posted the cause behind the network's outage, an "external intrusion" that caused Sony to shut off their network as a safety precaution while they investigate.

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  8. PS3 Jailbreaker’s Website Subpoenaed, User Information Targeted

    Federal Magistrate Joseph Sperohas allowed Sony to demand information related to the internet activities of George Hotz, the hacker that published tools allowing users to jailbreak their PlayStation 3 consoles. Sony's suit against Hotz is based around the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which prohibits sharing information to disable copy-protection systems. Their argument hinges mostly on how the jailbreak gave PS3 users allows the use of pirated games, though it can also be used to simply gain full control over the console. In a somewhat shifty move, the subpeona's also request information about people who visited Hotz's site and downloaded the jailbreaking program. Apparently this is to determine the distribution Hotz's program has received. It's also being used to determine where the trial will be held. From Wired:

    [...] a jurisdictional argument over whether Sony must sue Hotz in his home state of New Jersey rather than in San Francisco, which Sony would prefer. Sony said the server logs would demonstrate that many of those who downloaded Hotz’s hack reside in Northern California — thus making San Francisco a proper venue for the case.
    Sony has also requested visitor and download information from Hotz's webhsot Bluehost, from Google about visitor's to Hotz's blog, and also to from YouTube about viewers of the jailbreaking videos. His twitter account is also a target of the investigation. It's difficult to ignore the ominous overtones of requesting such information, which will likely make those that have downloaded Hotz's tools squirm a bit. As of now, there is no direct indication that Sony will use the information for anything other than the Hotz case. Until the hearing begins next month, the ball is more or less in the court of the companies receiving subpoenas and web-privacy advocates. In some cases, companies have fought against such requests -- such as Twitter's resistance to reveal information about an Icelandic member of parliament associated with Wikileaks. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already complained about the subpoenas, which appears to have been largely ignored by the courts. There is certainly a fight of some kind brewing here, likely on web-privacy grounds. For the moment, however, it seems that proponents of open electronics and privacy advocates have lost this round. (via Wired)

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  9. Hacker Claims PSN Hacked: PS3 Sends Unencrypted Credit Card Info to Sony, Users Can Download Games for Free

    Ars Technica is reporting that a hacker claims to have hacked Sony's PlayStation Network, and found some very intriguing and fairly terrifying tidbits regarding how Sony handles their online security--in that they don't so much. Aside from Sony supposedly being "the biggest spy ever" and collecting information regarding every little thing a console is doing--including every single device connected to the PS3--users' credit card information is supposedly being sent to Sony via a completely unencrypted text file, which can be seen in the Ars article. On top of this, according to the hacker, when a PS3 requests a download from the store, the actual URL of the request can be edited and toggled to enable free downloads.

    Of course, there isn't really any proof of this, other than what the hacker claims, but Ars points out that much of what the hacker says "links up with what [they] know from other sources about the behavior of the PlayStation Network," so it wouldn't be farfetched if these odd "security measures" turned out to be true.

    (via Ars Technica)

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  10. Kevin Butler’s Twitter Account Accidentally Tweets PS3 Security Key

    Kevin Butler, a fictional character played by Jerry Lambert in Sony's "It Only Does Everything" campaign and Sony's Regional Manager of War, recently retweeted the METLDR root key, otherwise known as the PlayStation 3 security key. Twitter user @exiva sent Kevin Butler's Twitter account this tweet, to which Kevin Butler's Twitter account replied with this one (the link is a retweet of Kevin Butler's now-removed reply).

    The reason why I'm not referring to Kevin Butler's Twitter account as simply "Kevin Butler?" Because Kevin Butler is a character played by an actor, and his Twitter account is most likely handled by various people, as one who follows @TheKevinButler and notices small deviations in writing style between different tweets probably realizes. Hopefully whichever person retweeted the security key--whether they knew what the mess of numbers was or not--doesn't receive some kind of harsh punishment for retweeting something that can be found with a quick Google search.

    (via GamersMint)

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  11. PS3 Portal 2 Comes With Free PC and Mac Versions and Cross-Platform Play

    Back at E3, Valve honcho Gabe Newell said the PlayStation 3 was going to be the platform with the best Portal 2 experience available. A bit after that, it was revealed that the PS3 title would be receiving Steam integration. Now, continuing to back up Newell's statement, Valve has announced that if one buys the PS3 version of Portal 2, they'll receive a free voucher for the PC and Mac Steam versions of the game as well, simply by linking one's PlayStation Network account to their Steam account. If that weren't enough, all these platforms will be able to play and chat with one another, as well as store save files on the cloud, which can be accessed by any of the platforms. Valve also promised to add "more Steam features and functionality in DLC and future content releases."

    Portal 2 is currently set for an April 20 release. I apologize, but it has to be said. This is a triumph.

    (via Ars Technica)

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  12. Carnegie Mellon Professor Mirrors Geohot’s PS3 Hack, Challenges “Breathtakingly Stupid” Sony

    Yesterday, we reported that Sony has taken legal action against hacker Geohot, a.k.a. George Hotz, for releasing hacks for the PlayStation 3 which allow anyone to run unsigned code through the system, potentially (though not necessarily) allowing PS3 owners to play pirated games. Sony's hardball legal tactics inspired immediate controversy on the web because it wasn't entirely clear that Hotz had violated any law: In July, the Library of Congress ruled that jailbreaking electronic devices to run software unauthorized by the companies that made them is not a criminal act. Sony argues, however, that Hotz's release of the hack violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Now, Hotz has a defender in the form of David Touretzky, a Carnegie Mellon professor of computer science. Touretzky is no stranger to controversy: An outspoken critic of Scientology, he has outraged the Church of Scientology by publishing information about the upper levels of the belief system and refusing to take it down despite legal threats. This time around, Touretzky is hosting a mirror of Geohot's PS3 jailbreak in its entirety on his Carnegie Mellon webpage, and he challenges Sony to do anything about it.

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  13. Sony Takes Legal Action Against PS3 Hacker GeoHot

    Hacker GeoHot is finally in a legal bind due to his notorious, hackery ways: Sony has served papers to Geohot and hacker group fail0verflow after they recently released hacks for the PlayStation 3, which basically allow anyone to run unsigned code on the system. Though unsigned code technically counts as homebrew applications - -something usually beneficial for the gaming scene -- the ability to run unsigned code usually results in people running pirated software. So, one can imagine why Sony isn't to thrilled with the hackers. Hack on past the break for more details, including the actual papers with which GeoHot was served.

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  14. Angry Birds Now One Step Closer to Being on Every Platform Ever

    Like we mentioned back in November, Angry Birds, the highly philosophical game in which the player throws birds at things, is taking a cue from Pinky and the Brain and trying to take over the world by releasing on every single thing on which it can possibly release. Last night, Angry Birds hit the PlayStation Network with a version that can be played on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, as well as a PC version that can be obtained from Intel's AppUp Store. These new releases are more expensive than the iTunes version, which is currently sitting at an attractive $0.99, with the PSN version resulting in a less attractive $3.99 hole in your gamer fund, while the Intel version is priced one dollar higher than that.

    Embarrassingly enough, this gamer has never actually played Angry Birds for more than a few seconds on someone else's phone, so in the name of science and journalistic integrity, I purchased the PSP version last night and gave it a whirl. Head past the jump for my highly journalistic sort-of-first impressions.

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  15. Ben Heck Makes Portable, Ruggedized PlayStation 3

    He has his own show, he makes really neat novelty items, and now famous console modder Ben Heck has made a portable ruggedized PlayStation 3 for a couple in Afganistan that needed something that can be banged up a bit. Though Heck is no stranger to making portable consoles, this time he shoves it all into a Pelican Storm Case to provide some ruggedization.

    Take that, G'zOne phones.

    (Ben Heck via Kotaku)

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  16. God of War’s Kratos Playable in New Mortal Kombat Reboot

    The January issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine is reporting that Kratos, main character, rage personified, and unstoppable murder machine from the God of War series, will be a playable character in the PlayStation 3 release of next year's Mortal Kombat reboot, which is currently set release in March. Not only will Kratos be a playable character, but he'll have his own combat moves (Cyclone of Chaos, anyone?), fatalities, and a God of War themed combat arena. Not to mess with the canon of the new Mortal Kombat's story, Kratos won't be playable in story mode.

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  17. US Air Force Makes Supercomputer Out of 1,760 PlayStation 3s

    The US' Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) recently unveiled a supercomputer made out of 1,760 PlayStation 3 consoles. (They used older PS3s instead of PS3 Slims due to the Slims' lack of Linux support; looks like that wasn't just a fringe Slashdot-type issue after all.) Dubbed the Condor Cluster, the Air Force's new computer  has some serious specs -- 500 TeraFLOPS, with 168 separate GPUs and 84 coordinating servers.

    According to the Air Force, at $2 million, the system costs only five to ten percent as much as a comparable system made from separate components, in addition to consuming one-tenth the energy.

    (Feed the Gamer via GameFreaks)

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  18. PlayStation Rewards Launches Today: Level Up in Real Life by Leveling Up In-Game

    Sony unveiled PlayStation Rewards on their PlayStation.Blog yesterday, a service that rewards users with various prizes for playing and buying Sony games, as well as being an active member in the Sony gaming community. The program launches today, and best of all, is free. Currently in an invitation-only beta phase available to eligible PlayStation Plus and Gamer Advisory Panel members, PlayStation Rewards only focuses on the PlayStation 3 at the moment, but Sony is planning on adding the PSP to the program in the near future.

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  19. PlayStation 3 Netflix Goes Disc-Free Next Week, Adds Search

    After Netflix came to the PlayStation 3 via a service that ran off a disc inserted into the console, PlayStation 3 owners immediately wished for downloadable Netflix software rather than being required to keep the disc in their system. Finally, Netflix has announced that PlayStation 3 Netflix users will be getting that software on Monday that they've craved for over a year, along with the much desired feature that allows users to search Netflix on their console, rather than having to log into the website. But wait, there's more!

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  20. Sony Launching PSN Imports Store

    Sony Computer Entertainment of America will be adding an imports section to its PlayStation Store next week, planning to bring Japanese tiles, without any kind of localization whatsoever, to American audiences.

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