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Playstation Network returns. Sony's Communal Online Service; Playstation Network is gradually being restored around the world. Japan and America are now back to near-full service, while Sony Europe is still flipping some switches to get it's services back online.

The 23-day outage (which could still be a few days longer for some regions) has now ceased, but Sony's pay-for services such as Qriocity and the Playstation Store are still down but expected to be restored by the end of May.

The outage was caused after hackers were able to infiltrate Sony's servers and extract personal information and credit card details of approximately 77 million users, however not all accounts had credit cards attached to their accounts. Hackers also targeted and successfully lifted similar details from the MMO arm of Sony; Sony Online Entertainment's servers.
Playstation Network may not return until "End of May". Sony has said that the service is still undergoing a massive refit following the intrusion to the service in April. Sony had previously said they were aiming to restore the service last week, however could not meet the deadline.

The security breach at the company has potentially exposed over 100 million users of the service's data to the thieves, the number of potentially compromised Credit Card numbers stored by the service is still uncertain, the numbers were encrypted when stored on the servers.

Although not confirmed, Sony is said to be looking to buy fraud insurance for any concerned Playstation Network user as well as offering Qriocity users a month's worth of service for no extra charge and gifts in the form of downloadable games for Playstation Network users. The cost of the security breach in good-will gifts, lost revenue to developers and pending lawsuits against the firm has yet to be determined.
Sony confirms personal details leak from Playstation Network hack. It comes after Sony confirmed that an "external intrusion" to their Playstation Network service was causing the continued black-out for the free-to-play service. Sony know that hackers have had chance to harvest full personal information such as name, address, post code, date of birth and perhaps more worryingly, password reset question and answers, making any Playstation Network account vulnerable to attack.

Sony has yet to confirm that Credit Card details for users of their service have been stolen, however they are not ruling out the possibility. Sony is working with an unnamed but "recognized security firm" to help investigate and secure the service from future intrusion and theft of personal information from their users.

Advice is currently to change your email address' password if it was the same as your Playstation Network password as well as to keep a close eye on any bank statements for credit or debit cards which have been used on Playstation Network in the past. Sony will never ask you in any communication with them to provide your personal details or credentials. Remain vigilant.
Sony investigating possible PSN credit card theft. The announcement comes after Sony abruptly took down their free-to-play online service; Playstation Network last week without prior warning or notice until after the service was taken offline on Friday (22nd April). The service has been down ever since.

Sony had previously admitted that the outage was caused by an "external intrusion" to their service, but was coy as to where the threat originated and what was intruded upon. It is now feared that they were targeting credit card credentials stored by Sony to facilitate billing of Playstation Store content.

Sony promises to conduct a thorough investigation and get Playstation Network services running as normal as soon as possible, however have not alluded as to how long the current outage may last. Reports have said Sony is now rebuilding parts of the service in light of the breach.
Playstation games coming to some, not all Android devices. Sony has announced, via it's partner; NVidia, that Android devices will be getting Sony's mobile-orientent games platform; Playstation Suite. Which will supposedly support not only select Playstation 1 titles, but also select Playstation 2 titles via emulation.

There will be certain requirements handsets will need to meet to be eligible to have access to the Playstation Suite, however. Only devices powered by NVidia's "Tegra" mobile chipsets will be able to get access, with the already mentioned Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" firmware requirement. Most Android handsets do not contain Tegra chips.

The Playstation Suite is Sony's gaming-orientated gaming platform for mobile video games on the Android smartphone operating system. It will appear on "Playstation Certified" mobile handsets, with the upcoming Xperia Play being the first such handset. The service is set to launch sometime this year.
All Playstation 3 shipments confiscated by EU customs. It follows the ruling by EU courts allowing LG an injunction to pevent Sony from selling the Playstation 3 in Europe on patent infringement claims.

Shipments will be seized by customs within Europe, meaning stores cannot get supplies. Reports state that retailers have approximately 3 weeks worth of back-stock of the Playstation 3. However, the seized Playstation 3 units will only be collected for the next 10 days.

Seems Sony just can't catch a break, what with all these Playstation 3 hacks going on...
Xperia Play advert leaks. It's been a while since the original photographs of the "Playstation Phone" were leaked onto the internet, since then we've heard the device's specifications, official name; "Xperia Play" and after last week's Playstation Meeting event, we know some classic, original Playstation games will be available for the device.

So, at this point, it comes as no real big surprise that the Xperia Play's US advert spot has also been leaked on the internet. As is par for the US Playstation advertising course, it's creepy. Very creepy. (Click the following link to view:)
Sony not ditching physical game distribution.
Let's be honest in saying that the PSP Go didn't exactly capture the imagination of the public with it's release last year. A more pocket-friendly size may have lured many towards the device, however lack of a UMD drive and the inability to play one's already purchased back-catalogue of PSP games drove many away, not to mention game prices on the PS Store being similar to those of retail, only without the flexibility of price fluctuations and frequent sales.

So it comes as no surprise then that Sony isn't taking the digital distribution-only route for the newly announced PSP2 or "NGP". Instead, games will now be distributed on Flash Memory devices similar to that of the Memory Stick Duo or Nintendo [3]DS game cards. Unlike the DS and 3DS before it, however, it doesn't appear that there is an upper limit on the size of these storage solutions. The 3DS currently has a limit of 2GB.
Sony announces the PSP successor, the NGP. Earlier this morning, Sony announced it's next generation of portable gaming solutions, the "Next Generation Portable Entertainment System" or "NGP" as it's currently being called. Money's still on "PSP2" being it's official name, however.

The system comes with the often-requested dual analogue joysticks, which are now more flush and less "thumb-nub" as seen on the original PSP, a capacitive multi-touch OLED screen and similarly multi-touch back trackpad, rear and front facing cameras, but crucially, missing any physical media slot. Update: Sony confirms there will be physical media support.

The system is packing a quad-core CPU and a beast of a GPU. The power of the machine was demonstrated by none other than Metal Gear creator; Hideo Kojima, who demonstrated Metal Gear Solid 4 on-stage, however, was keen to stress that the game is merely a technology demo and no plans to bring MGS4 to the NGP are on the table.

No word on price or release window, expect that at E3 in June. Until then, take a look at some of the shots below and hold your hats as analysts predict how much the system will cost. My prediction? It wont come cheap.
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Further PSP Phone leaks emerge, possible announcement date revealed. A YouTube video shows the most clearest footage of the Sony Erricson "Z1" or "Zeus" yet.

Meanwhile, GSM Arena has revealed that Sony could possibly announce the device on December 9th.
Is the Playstation Phone finally revealed through prototype leak? Possibly. Tech-blog Engadget has been sent intriguing photos of what appears to be a Sony Ericsson prototype phone with slide-out Playstation controls not dissimilar to the PSP Go. The device is also clearly running the Android mobile phone operating system.

As well as this, there's new rumours that the Playstation brand will come to non-Sony phones with the next major version of Android; 3.0. Exciting times ahead for Android users and those waiting for dedicated gaming-slash-phone hardware.
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Added: 27/05/2011