Whoops, looks like the PlayStation Network didn't come back up this week after all. In fact, Sony also had to shut down its Online Entertainment servers. Luckily, the rest of the industry is still in motion, so, on top of all the PSN drama, we've got some non-Sony-related news as well.
Because Who Doesn't Love Video Game Movies?
Despite the general critical panning of the recent Prince of Persia movie, Ubisoft has created a new division responsible for turning its video game franchises into movies. It looks like enough people lined up for Jake Gyllenhaal's glistening pecs to turn Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time into the top-grossing video game movie ever made. Ubi's been working on breaking into the movie scene for several years now, acquiring special effects firm Hybride and planning to open a movie studio in Montreal.
The corporate PR line on Ubisoft's movie making mania is that by making films and video games at the same time, Ubisoft is able to learn things that help it improve its games. I, for one, can't wait to see which other Ubisoft franchises become movies. Assassin's Creed is an obvious choice, but what about some of Ubi's other games? Michael Jackson: The Experience: The Movie could be a mind-blower. A Raving Rabbids movie could subject unfortunate parents to that horrible, ear-grating Rabbid scream for ninety whole minutes! How about Imagine: Babyz as fodder for a terrible rom-com? The possibilities are endless.
Sony, Sony, Sony
Things just keep getting worse for Sony. Gamers have noticed that another week has come and gone, and the PSN is still down. On May 2, Sony took down the Sony Online Entertainment portal when it discovered that hackers had not only accessed the PSN, but also the SOE servers, and had possibly accessed credit card information from thousands more Sony customers. SOE runs a number of popular online games, including Everquest 2, DC Universe Online, and Free Realms. These games are now unavailable as Sony has shut down the SOE portal to investigate. Sony has announced that it has to do extensive testing due to the SOE attack, and the PSN is now down for an "indefinite" amount of time.
A United States Congress subcommittee is now looking into the PSN incident, and has called both Sony and various experts to testify about what's been going on. One rather disturbing report to the committee from security expert Dr. Gene Spafford stated that Sony might have been running the PSN off of some very old, unpatched Apache servers that had no installed firewall. Dr. Spafford's information was secondhand, however, and has proved untrue, as a group which investigated the claim found that the PSN was running on the latest, most stable Apache servers as of March 23. It's unfortunate that this kind of information has been circulating and has even made its way into the official Congressional record, making Sony's security practices appear far worse than they actually are.
In the meantime, the rumors and conjecture around who's responsible for the hacks are flying all over the place. One rumor states that it was an inside job, while Sony continues to blame "hactivist" group Anonymous, citing a file related to the group that was left on its servers. The leadership of Anonymous, such as it is, claims that the group would never stoop to stealing credit card numbers or getting the PSN shut down for weeks. Unfortunately, it's impossible to tell if the hacker actually believes to be working on behalf of Anonymous or left the file to throw investigators off the track. Either way, Sony has stated that the FBI has an idea of the party or parties responsible, so someone may soon be finding out what it's like to meet our friendly local federal agents.
Prototype Xbox Story Refuted by EA
This week, a couple media outlets reported that Electronic Arts had an early prototype of the next Xbox console in its hands. Microsoft, which never comments on rumors, kept true to form and did not comment on the story. On Friday, however, EA flatly denied that they had any such device. An EA corporate spokesman called the story a "total fabrication" and stated that it would be very strange for Microsoft to announce a new Xbox at this point. Looks like for now we'll have to go back to speculating on the Wii 2 if we want to talk about the next generation.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*