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Keep calm and carry on: The PSN downtime is not the apocalypse
by Chris Hawke

I own a PS3. In fact, I've owned every Playstation console. I've followed the Metal Gear Solid series from humble beginnings to tired old end, played over a decade of FIFAs on a Dualshock, and booted up all three machines countless times. I really like my Playstation 3.

But I'd never fight for it.

I own a PS3 for a plethora of totally inconsequential reasons. When 2007 rolled around, I decided to plump up the extra money due to little things; I was much more comfortable with the Sony controller, I wanted to finish off exclusive series, I had some old Playstation games I didn't want to become obsolete. It was just habit. If I had the money, I'd buy an Xbox 360. And I'd really like it, too - for different reasons, obviously. Maybe I'd make a snap judgement like 'Nah, I don't like the buttons on the controller much' or 'I dislike the green colour scheme', and then I'd be favouring one console over another. But do you see how absolutely minute the details are there? How utterly trivial the minor discrepancies between green and red, Sony and Microsoft, PS3 and 360 are? At the end of the day, they both play games, and all I want to do is play games. Whichever I use, I win.

That's just a brief outline of why I hate fanboys with an undying passion. Occasionally, there's a story or event that brings these gormless, cowardly fools into the deadly pits of forums and websites across the internet, where they ooze out senseless propaganda and whip up scornful hatred again the 'opposing side', because... well, I'm not really sure. For some reason, one of those machines is infinity better than the other due to [insert minor difference here]. Duh.

So, the PSN is down. The online service that connects the Playstation universe has fallen to unknown forces, and rumour is rife. It's the perfect storm for flame wars, as users complain how incompetent Sony is, or remind others that Xbox Live went down once, for a while, and that the PSN being down proves nothing/proves everything. But when you step back for a minute, and just lay down your internet quill, you may come to a different conclusion:

A free service that users have no absolute right to has been taken down, possibly due to a very large security threat, and no one has much control over the situation.

For some reason, IGN decided to get involved in all of this, demanding answers, putting a useless, fanboy-baiting, size 72 'Yes/No' sign up, and just generally trying to cause as much of a stir as possible. Various websites reported on Sony fans thanking the Playstation Blog for continued updates, even if all they did was update on the lack of updates, and the internet basically dissolved into a riotous street brawl, full of misspelt swear words and insinuations.

It's very frustrating to watch all this. There seem to be two views on dealing with PSN downtime - either rise up with your comrades and demand compensation from Sony, or do other stuff. The 'do other stuff camp' seems insistent on dressing up as your mother and patronizing you about how it's such a warm day outside, and you should get a life and go make some friends. It's very much a time for extremism.

It really shouldn't be. While it's true that the PSN is down, and you can't play games online, it's really no cause for all this anger. I'm using my very limited economic knowledge to guess that, oh, I don't know, bringing down the online capabilities of a machine owned by millions probably isn't good for business. So, Sony aren't secretly holding PSN down to mess with people, or to frame some internet group, or to validate any other childish rumour; their service went down because of circumstances we do not fully understand. No one really had a choice. And yet there are so many posts and threads demanding compensation, that this is an outrage, and so-and-so should be shot. This too shall pass.

Everyone, just chill out.

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- Chris Hawke

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