Sony fixes PS3 bug
Washington - Japanese electronics giant Sony assured millions of users on Monday that a system bug halting play on older versions of the PlayStation 3 had been fixed.
The company "verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally", Sony spokesperson Patrick Seybold said on the PlayStation blog.
Sony earlier indicated that the problem, which has left many PS3 owners unable to connect to the internet for more than a day and some unable to even play games, was only affecting models released before last year's PS3 Slim.
"We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model recognised the year 2010 as a leap year," said Seybold.
"If the time displayed on the XMB is still incorrect, users are able to adjust time settings manually or via the internet."
Earlier, the company urged users of the older versions to stop using the videogame console until it fixed the bug.
Using consoles could have resulted in errors with functions like recording obtained trophies or restoring data, according to Seybold, Sony's senior director for corporate communications and social media.
Some PS3 users had complained on the PlayStation blog that "trophies" they earned for progressing through game levels had disappeared.
The players suspected the problem was related to the transition from February 28 to March 1 and deluged the PlayStation blog with hundreds of comments and complaints.
"Please fix it as soon as possible. I can't even play my games offline," said user MohammedMK.
Users were also unable to play back certain rental videos downloaded from the PlayStation Store.
Sony has been pushing the PS3 as more than just a gaming console, partnering with movie rental website Netflix, for example, to allow users to download movies to television sets or computers.
According to market tracking firm NPD Group, Sony has sold 11.4 million PS3s in the US, including 276 900 latest-generation consoles in January.
Since its launch with much fanfare in 2006, the PS3 has boasted power and rich graphics, but at premium prices compared to Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's innovative Wii consoles.
The PS3's high price tag and a lack of hot new videogame titles translated to sluggish sales that left the consoles in third place behind Xbox 360 and Wii.
Before the latest bug, the consoles were finally gaining momentum thanks to trimmed prices and blockbuster game software.
Sony head Sir Howard Stringer said in January that the PlayStation Network would spread beyond PS3 consoles to a wealth of the consumer electronics titan's devices.
"I don't think one glitch in the system is going to topple the entire Network but I think a lot of us are wondering what exactly is going on," said videogame analyst Scott Steinberg, author of "Get Rich Playing Games."
"This helps undermine its credibility at a fairly crucial point in time."
Microsoft survived an Xbox 360 "red ring of death" flaw by fixing the problem and quickly replacing problem consoles. The Xbox Live online play network is now the "gold standard", according to Steinberg.
"Gamers, while fickle creatures, know a thing or two about software glitches," he said. "At the same time, it remains to be seen whether this is a temporary hiccup or we are really going to be bugging out."
Sony cut prices on existing models to $299 when the slim PS3 went on sale in September.
Soon after Sony slashed the price of its PS3, Microsoft cut the price-tag of its Xbox 360 console, followed by Nintendo, which reduced the price of its Wii for the first time since its 2006 launch.