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I enjoy video games. As a child of the 90s I grew up with them, and as they’ve matured in the ensuing years (in every sense of the word) the culture has now absorbed them to the point that I can still say I enjoy them as a man in my mid 20’s without being labeled a socially-withdrawn malcontent. I just wish to give you some context as to why I would wish to use this space to highlight the recent (and hopefully temporary) implosion of the PS3. Thanks to a hardware glitch which is variously being blamed on the system’s clock/calender having a Y2K-esque, leap year triggered meltdown to corrupted trophy information, most of the consoles currently in use can neither access the PlayStation Network nor even play many games on or offline. As these are two of the system’s primary functions, this makes this particular glitch rather disconcerting. This isn’t due so much to being denied the ability to play, as while this is certainly annoying everyone’s fairly certain Sony will either have this fixed fairly soon or have their programmers commit mass suicide. It’s more due to the way in which this underlines the dark side of having a console that integrates so much with the internet. The benefits of such a system are many, as for the first time in my gaming life I’ve been able to play online with a great degree of reliability. However the recent fall of PSN has uncomfortably reminded us all of just how fragile this arrangement is: remove internet connectivity, and everything else goes straight to hell. Offline games won’t work if they can’t sync trophy info or confirm copyright validity, undermining one of the main reasons people bought the damn thing in the first place.

It also underlies the fact that, as consoles grow to have more capabilities in line with PCs, they’re also becoming plagued by many of the same issues. A large userbase and internet connection makes it both a target for hackers as well as a way for companies to impose the same internet-mediated copy protection assurance that plagues many PC games. Until recently consoles were thought to be an oasis from such shenanigans, but as always the internet brings with it the potential for both good and evil. As for corporate shenanigans, the cynical part of me wants to think this is some kind of veiled forced obsolescence plan on Sony’s part as only the older “fat” models of the PS3 are afflicted, but then given even debug models used by developers and the press are also screwed this would stand to leave them joining the rest of the user base in screaming for Sony’s blood in the event a fix is not forthcoming by this evening, and stands to lose all parties an amount my friend Kevin from Saint Superman characterized as “a hojillion dollars”.

At any rate, I’m happy as long as I can still mute other players on my microphone, though I’m hoping PSN is fixed soon enough for that to even be an issue.

May 2018
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