NEW YORK — On Sunday, the PlayStation Network went down yet again — this time not allowing people to sign in and play games or watch movies.
Immediately, rogue online hooligans claimed responsibility for disrupting the network. But was it really hackers? Or just routine maintenance?
Sony still doesn’t say. Via its PlayStation Twitter account Sunday night, the company only said that “engineers are investigating.”
But this is becoming a repetitive and tiring experience for the 56 million people who actively use the gaming and media network. Thousands took to Internet forums to complain, castigating Sony Computer Entertainment for being unreliable and insecure.
Kaden Fallon Jones, a gamer in Oklahoma, criticized Sony’s decision to charge for a network that doesn’t work consistently.
“I’m a lifelong fan but you’re letting me down,” she wrote on Twitter.
The PlayStation Network has always had problems. The worst was when Sony was hacked in April 2011, suffering a month-long outage and losing subscribers’ credit card and personal data.
But it’s been especially patchy lately. In August, digital punks calling themselves “Lizard Squad” interrupted the PlayStation Network along with several others. On Dec. 8, they attacked knocking the network offline again. They successfully took down the network yet-again during Christmas, ruining new gifts for millions of people.
On Sunday evening, during the Super Bowl, the PlayStation Network wouldn’t let users sign in. The outage went on for six hours. On Twitter, someone claiming to be a member of Anonymous took credit, but other members of the online hacker collective distanced themselves and questioned the person’s claims.
All of these issues are separate from North Korea’s massive hack of Sony Pictures, the company’s Hollywood studio.
Sony Computer Entertainment has not yet responded to requests for comment. Some electronic messages to Sony bounced back, because of a Sony computer error.
For some loyal PlayStation fans, this latest outage is the final straw.
Tracey Chancellor is a single mom who works long hours at a cafe in suburban Virginia. When she finally manages to put her daughter to bed, all she wants is some quiet time playing the game Destiny on her PS4.
She already paid $60 to access the PlayStation Network, plus another $60 for the game, plus another $35 for those annoying add-ons that have become standard with every game. And after dishing out $155 total, she expects it to work.
“To not be able to unwind at the end of the night, it’s just awful. I’ve just sunk so much money into this thing,” she said. “Sony made so much money off of the PS4. They could use some of that money to fix the problem with their network.”
Chancellor said she’s now considering breaking her decade-long loyalty to Sony products and switching over to the Microsoft Xbox. That network has its fair share of outages too, she admits, but nowhere near as many as Sony.
“I’m just so sick of this,” she said. “I’m seriously considering going back to Microsoft just because their servers are better.”