Sony goes offline
For millions it's been a lost weekend, unable to play online games or stream films or music to their games console. The PlayStation Network has been down since last Wednesday, victim of what Sony will only describe as "external intrusion".
This looks like something of a crisis for a firm trying to position itself as the major force in home entertainment - and it's also worrying for any business trying to persuade consumers that the "cloud" is a safe place to store valuable content or personal data.
The 75 million people with PlayStation Network accounts have plenty of questions about the outage. They want to know what caused the problem at the network, whether their credit card details have been compromised, and crucially, how soon they will be able to get online again.
But so far Sony has been less than forthcoming on any of these issues. A spokesman told me Sony engineers were working around the clock but that the company wants to make sure it has a long-term solution to the security problems with the network, rather than just rushing to patch it and restore access. "We can live with the short-term embarrassment," he said. "The protection of our consumers is paramount."
WIth Xbox owners rushing to play the hit new game Portal 2 with online friends, this was not a great time for its rival console to be offline. It was also unfortunate timing for today's unveiling of the device which Sony hopes will make it a major contender in the battle with Apple's iPad. The Sony Tablet, which will go on sale in the autumn, looks promising. It comes in two forms - one with a 9.4 inch display another with two 5.5 inch screens.
The tablets will be integrated with other Sony devices so you will be able to use them as remote controls for your television, and to project content on to the bigger screen. And the promise is that users will also be able to get music and video from Sony's Qriocity service, and play games... via the PlayStation network.
So the Tablet looks ready to rival the iPad in terms of hardware and content - but only if Sony's network is back online and enjoys the trust of the consumer. Maybe that is the reason the company is taking so long to fix whatever it found last Wednesday. Better to leave millions of gamers frustrated for a few days now than to have the network fall over later this year, just as Sony Tablet owners try to stream a film or play a game.