Sony hints at compensation for PlayStation Network hack

However, it's unlikely to involve money as access to the service is free

Sony may offer users some form of compensation for the outage, now in its 8th day, of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services, its U.S. unit said late Thursday.

The two networks were taken offline by the company after it discovered they had been hacked. Sony subsequently said personal information on some of its 77 million registered account holders had been stolen. It also said credit card numbers could have been stolen, but an ongoing investigation had uncovered no evidence of that so far.

On Thursday, in the latest of a series of postings to its PlayStation Blog, the company said compensation is being considered.

"We are currently evaluating ways to show appreciation for your extraordinary patience as we work to get these services back online," it said.

The PlayStation Network is offered at no charge to users, so the compensation, if it comes, is not likely to be monetary. A subset of users do subscribe to the PlayStation Plus service, which offers access to beta versions of games and other perks for an annual fee.

The blog posting also said subscribers to Sony Online Entertainment's MMO (massively multi-player online) games "DC Universe Online" and "Free Realms" would also see something from the company.

"To thank players for their patience, we will be hosting special events across our game portfolio," the blog said. "We are also working on a 'make good' plan for players of the PS3 versions of DC Universe Online and Free Realms."

The latest blog posting didn't provide any updates as to the status of the PlayStation Network, the Qriocity service for consumer electronics devices, or an ongoing investigation into the hack.

It did say gamer trophies and game data files storied on Sony's servers will be available once the service is back online.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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