Sony appears to be ready to relaunch the PlayStation Network's online store, but not before at least one more delay. Marking yesterday's Memorial Day, Sony announced that it now expects to relaunch the PlayStation Store in the Americas, Europe, PAL territories, and most of Asia by the end of this week. The company has yet to announce a relaunch date for the store in Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
With the return of the PS Store, gamers will have full commerce access to Sony's online platform, allowing them to once again purchase and download games and movies, as well as buy in-game items. PlayStation 3 and PSP owners will also be able to once again redeem vouchers and codes. This aspect of the store had been particularly problematic after the relaunch of online multiplayer, as some Online Pass games such as Codemasters' Dirt 3 could not be activated.
With the relaunch of the PS Store, Sony will also have restored full functionality to Qriocity's Music Unlimited on the PS3, PSP, and PC. However, Sony does not plan to fully restore Qriocity's Video on Demand service or Music Unlimited on Sony's other network-enabled devices. The company plans to provide a follow-up update for these services at a later time.
"We have been conducting additional testing and further security verification of our commerce functions in order to bring the PlayStation Network completely back online so that our fans can again enjoy the first class entertainment experience they have come to love," said Sony Corp. CEO-in-waiting Kazuo Hirai. "We appreciate the patience and support shown during this time."
After a series of incremental delays, Sony said on May 9 that it had set a deadline for full restoration of the PSN and its accompanying services for no later than the end of this month. On May 15, the company restored much of the PSN's functionality, including online gameplay, chat functionality, and access to Home, for most regions.
As of today, the PS Store has been offline for six weeks, following a cyberattack that resulted in the exposure of some 77 million PSN accounts and an additional 24.6 million Sony Online Entertainment accounts. This week, Sony Network Entertainment president Tim Schaff is expected to testify before Congress to explain the security breach.
Following the restoration of service to the PS Store, Sony expects to roll out a Welcome Back program, in which PS3 and PSP users will be offered a selection of free games and other perks. Sign-ups have also begun for 12 free months of coverage in Debix's identity-theft protection program.