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March 1, 2010

Leap-year bug bites PlayStations

Posted: 11:17 AM ET
PlayStation Network
PlayStation Network

Sony said problems with its PlayStation Network that kept some PlayStation 3 users from playing games on or offline has been resolved.

A posting on the PlayStation blog said Sony officials have identified the cause as a leap year bug in the clocks on their older PS3 units. The newer slim PS3 consoles were not affected.

The posting said the internal clocks wanted to treat 2010 as a leap year, making March 1 into February 29. When the clocks rolled over to March 1, Sony “verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally.”

Sony suggests that anyone continuing to have problems should adjust time setting manually or via the Internet.

But the outage frustrated many PlayStation users, who lit up blogs and message boards with angry comments. One PS3 user said the episode prompted him to go buy an Xbox 360 console.

“I've stuck with Sony through the years, but ... this failure by Sony pushed me from thinking to doing,” a user named Jumping Ship posted to's Tech blog. “Sony lost a customer. You have to think there are more people out there doing or contemplating the same thing.”

“I find it completely unacceptable they allowed most of their customer base to endure this outage. Sony waited this out rather than take action to resolve the issue,” wrote Jamesg, another reader. “I believe Sony was aware this would be a problem and had a plan of not addressing it. Sony should be held accountable for allowing a known defect to manifest itself in a 24-hour outage for millions of their loyal customers.”

Some Xbox 360 owners took the opportunity to taunt rival PS3 users online about the problem, while PS3 owners fired back about the “Red Ring of Death” glitches that have plagued the Xbox.

Other PS3 owners decided to wait it out and were rewarded for their patience when Sony announced the problem had been resolved.

In a post on its Web site Monday, Sony addressed the symptoms of the outage. The company said error messages and glitches included the following:

• The date of the PS3 system may be re-set to Jan 1, 2000.

• When the user tries to sign in to the PlayStation Network, the following message appears on the screen; “An error has occurred. You have been signed out of PlayStation Network (8001050F)”.

• When the user tries to launch a game, the following error message appears on the screen and the trophy data may disappear; “Failed to install trophies. Please exit your game.”

• When the user tries to set the time and date of the system via the Internet, the following message appears on the screen; “The current date and time could not be obtained. (8001050F)”

• Users are not able to play back certain rental videos downloaded from the PlayStation Store before the expiration date.

iReport: Were you affected by the PS3 outage?

Sony said there were more than 40 million users in its PlayStation Network as of last month. There was no official word on how many were impacted by the error.

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Filed under: Sony • video games

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