It's been down since the middle of April - and now over three week later it appears the Playstation Network is finally gaining some signs of life. If you fire up your PlayStation 3 you'll be prompted to download system software version 3.61 - this mandatory update includes fixes and enhancements for when the PlayStation network comes back online - which appears to be sometime in the next few hours.
Sony sent out a press release stating that phase one of their service restoration has begun in most regions. What's included in Phase One?
Sign-in for PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, including the resetting of passwords.
Restoration of online gameplay across PlayStation 3 and PSP.
Playback rental video content, if within rental period, of PlayStation Store Video Store on PS3, PSP and Media Go.
Q Music Unlimited, for current subscribers, on PS3 and PC.
Access to third party services such as VidZone and MUBI.
‘Friends’ category on PS3, including Friends List, Chat Functionality, Trophy Comparison, etc.
Noticeably absent in the PlayStation Store. To see if your region or state is live in the United States hit up this link which shows a map of the services in dramatic NASA style fashion.
Update: All states and Canada are live as of 8AM Eastern - May 15th.
After applying the update you'll need to change your password on your PlayStation 3 or PSP. Doing so binds your account to that system and you can only reset or change your password from this system or via an authenticated email address.
Here's a video message from Kaz Hirai regarding the outage, the return of the services, and a few details on the Welcome Back packages which will be announced in the coming days.
Sony Online Entertainment, who manages games like Everquest and DC Universe Online, also sent along an announcement that their services should be coming up tonight. Gamers can expect a free month of play on those respective games and services.
It looks like we may be playing some online co-op...tonight on the PS3!