Why the PlayStation Network Outage Should Make You Appreciate Freebies

When my AT&T U-Verse goes out, I’m mad as hell. I pay way too much money for the service and have so little to do when it’s out that I have nothing to do but sit there and think about how angry I am that it doesn’t work. And I think I have the right to be angry! The same goes for when I still had an XBOX 360. The XBOX Live online service is $60 a year! Out come my fire-and-pitchforks yet again when that goes down.

It’s then that I realize my life is fueled by technology. (No, I don’t want to go read a book!)

But what about the Sony PlayStation Network (PSN)? That provides most of the same functionality as XBOX Live but it is 100% free. Well, it just so happens to be out of service at the moment and it’s been out for 6 days now. Sony is tight with the details, but it appears to have been hacked and taken down by an anonymous group of evil-doers (thanks, W.). People are completely freaking out about it. has a page they’ve told their readers to bookmark that just says: “Is PlayStation Network Working? NO.” Hopefully that changes to “YES” soon enough. But in the meantime, people are taking to forums and various social media avenues to vent their anger. It probably didn’t help that a few much-anticipated games came out right as the outage began (Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat being the biggest names).

You know what I have to say to the angered masses?

Get over it.

Does it suck that PSN is down and has been down? Of course. Did it ruin your holiday weekend plans? Possibly. If it comes back in a decent amount of time should you be that upset? NO. I can’t reiterate enough… it’s FREE. As a general rule, I don’t complain about what someone gives me for free.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. And all that good stuff.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. And all that good stuff.

Yes, I understand that PSN is a built-in functionality of the system and that it’s built into the cost of the games, but the same goes for XBOX and I would have paid close to $200 to them in the same amount of time I’ve had my PlayStation with its free network. So I’m just not going to get that worked up about it, and neither should you! If anything, this outage should make you appreciate that you even have free online access to begin with. It’s amazing it’s not down more often than it is. It must cost a metric ton of money to keep a networked used by millions of people running smoothly, and they’re trying to do it on the cheap. So you can choose to be angry or you can choose to be appreciative of the free service and wait patiently for it to be fixed. I chose the latter.

What do you think? How much of a right do you have to get angry when something free doesn’t work as it should? Do you think gamers are being a little harsh?


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  1. QLP Kid

    I love freebies! but xbox live is the best…

    just saying….

    -QLP Kid

    “It’s How the Midwest was Won…”

  2. Jill Tooley

    I agree with you, Jeff. You tell ’em! Free is free, and people don’t really have a right to complain about PSN being down if they’re not paying anything for it. Would it be justified for me to get a free slice of pizza from a pizzeria and then demand a new one if it’s not as fresh as I’d like? No. I think it’s generous of PlayStation to give users that network for free, problems or not. They’re obviously working on it (duh, they WANT people to play their games online) and I’m sure it’ll be fixed before too long. People are so ungrateful sometimes!

    When XBOX Live goes down, though, that’s another issue altogether. I get all sorts of pissed when XBOX and Netflix decide they don’t get along and ruin my movie-watching plans for the evening! It’s different when you’re paying for a service.

    Thanks for the update – I don’t have a PS3 so I wouldn’t have known about this “controversy” otherwise!

    • Jana Quinn

      I am 100% on your side with the Netflix thing. I also don’t like how the interface is dramatically based on different platforms. I’ve seen it on my stepdad’s Roku, my boyfriend’s Playstation, and my own Blu Ray. Although I haven’t futzed around with mine too much, I can’t find a way to search for movies/tv shows; I only have access to the instant queue.


    • JPorretto

      I love your analogy. There’s an old saying about beggars can’t be something or other…. =)

      • Amanda Sneed

        “Beggars can’t be Choosers!” I use that phrase often. 😉

  3. Joseph Giorgi

    Amen, Jeff! Excellent work. 🙂

    Know what’s funny? I read about the outage a few days ago (it had only been down two or three days at that point) and I wondered whether you’d cover it in a blog. Now here it is! Kudos!

    To be honest, I kinda figured that you’d be up in arms with the rest of the PSN townsfolk. I commend your calmness with the whole situation. 😉 But I see your point, and you’re absolutely right–it is a free service after all.

    I, on the other hand, would feel differently about the situation (if it applied to the Xbox LIVE network, that is). I’d break out the fire, pitchforks, chainsaws, explosive-tip shotgun shells, and C4 with remote detonators.

    Actually no, I’d probably just pout angrily. But it would be VERY angry pouting.

    • JPorretto

      Oh, you know me too well =) Or, you THOUGHT you did…. hee hee. I like to be reasonable at all times.

      I love your wanting to go all Call of Duty, but settling for Call of Passive Aggression.

  4. Jana Quinn

    I don’t want to get all Bill Clinton here, but I think the gamers’ outrage depends on the definition of “free.” If there are Playstations that are less expensive because they do not have access to the PSN, then the PSN is clearly an extra, paid-for perk.

    Even so, Playstation consoles are sold – I assume, please correct me if I’m wrong – with the understanding that access to the PSN is included. If it’s something where the cost to the company outweighs the percentage of the sale of the consoles that go to the company to run the network, then I can see where there’s some gray.

    The bottom line is that whether you’re angry and releasing your nerd rage on internet forums or patiently appreciative, the problem won’t get solved any faster. But you might be able to call someone a Nazi on a message board.

    I forgot my point.

    • JPorretto

      You just love stirring the pot don’t you? =)

      It would be damn near impossible to completely nail down what “free” means in this situation, since you could always say that PS3’s had built-in wifi for years and XBOX charged $100 for the adapter.

      But no matter your definition of free…. it’s a lot free-er than a $60 yearly subscription.

      • Jana Quinn

        Just call me a wooden spoon. 🙂

        I agree that it is free if you look at it compared to other services that charge beyond the cost of the game to get on the network. But if you think about the online pass that’s getting attached to more games, the online portion – which is supposed to come “free” with a new game and therefore be an incentive for gamers to buy their games new instead of used – does seem to have a cost associated with it.

        I don’t know at what point the “freeness” reaches a level of “freedom” (wait, that *is* a word) where you need to suck it up, but I can see why there might be some grumbling.

        It’s the people who whine about Facebook and Twitter being over capacity (fail whale!) that get me nuts.

        • JPorretto

          If you notice, I mentioned that if it came back in a decent amount of time people shouldn’t be that upset. It’s kind of a “you get what you pay for” situation.

          But if it takes weeks on end to fix, now you’re treading on me not getting the full value of my expensive electronics purchase.

          • Jana Quinn

            Depends on what you mean by a “decent amount of time”…

            Ha, this could go on forever. I would have made a great lawyer.

  5. cyberneticSAM

    ugh… more video game blogs…. Well written however, when these OFTEN come up I painfully make my way through them, and find myself with nothing to contribute…. I feel so left out, so often. :'(

  6. Kyle

    Very good points here, Jeff. Although I believe when Sony advertises the PS3 with their PSN service included for free it makes sense why some people might be upset for it being down for so long. I can see how it’s especially frustrating when it happens the day after the release of Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat.

    It’s kinda like buying a new car that includes OnStar for free for a year or whatever deal they do and you get in an accident so you go to use it and it doesn’t even work. Sure it was “free”, but you just bought a friggin’ expensive vehicle and you expect the extras to work as advertised. Of course that’s a slightly more dramatic example, but when I buy a console for a couple hundred bucks I expect to be able to squeeze every bit of value out of that system.

    I have to admit I’d be kinda upset about PSN being down for almost a week now… If I didn’t already have Xbox Live. The only game that kept me on PSN for any substantial amount of time was Uncharted 2 (AMAZING game by the way). So unless this happens the week Uncharted 3 comes out, I don’t really see it as much of an issue personally.

    And since we’re on the topic of PS3… Uncharted 3 is gonna define EPICNESS! By far my most anticipated game of the year. That is all. 🙂

    • JPorretto

      Nice analogy. But OnStar has a subscription fee 😉

      Plus, nothing is life or death here – No matter how much it “Kills” you that you can’t kill your buddies online.

      BTW, You speak the truth about Uncharted. EPIC.

      • Amanda Sneed

        OnStar is 100% FREE for one year with the purchase of a new car, but then after that period, yes they charge for it.

        • Kyle

          I started to second-guess myself there. Thanks for the clarification Amanda. 🙂

          On that note, I stand behind my comparison. Even if it is a bit dramatic. =P

  7. Bret Bonnet

    People who play Video Games are total dorks.

    I, for ONE, agree with Jeff though – it’s free, you don’t pay a penny for PSN; so stop your crying NOW!

    Try something new for a change of pace like go outside, get some exercise, maybe kiss a girl (or boy). Be a rebel with a cause! 🙂

    Seriously though, video games are SUCH a time suck, a time suck I secretly miss, but still, to go on a rampage over something that is otherwise free, to bad.

    If I was Sony, I’d be more worried about the PR issue at hand than anything else. Maybe to help offset some of the costs it takes to run PSN, you know – in an effort to beef up security, they should offer different levels of service, a metered system have you, so at least the craziest addicted gamers can still play while the other freeloading peons suffer from the outage (secondary network).

  8. Amanda Sneed

    I can see each side of this.

    No service whether paid or not paid for can be absolutely 100% reliable. I think that whether it’s paid for or free, some downtime should be expected every so often.

    I think it’s more reasonable to get upset when it’s a paid service that goes out, but I also agree that if you buy something with a “free” sort of service included, for the most part it should work, because it was included in the price somewhat. I’m glad that it sounds like it hasn’t been down super long, and I’m also glad that I’m not a gamer who has to deal with this downtime, lol. 😉

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