Source: Web gaming forums, including GameSpot's.
What we heard: PlayStation 3 owners globally have received an unwelcome surprise in the last few hours, with a yet unexplained error preventing some games from being played. The error--commonly being reported as "error number 8001050F" by console owners on user forums such as GameSpot's--prevents gamers from signing into the PlayStation Network and in several cases disallows gameplay in both offline and online modes.
Though Sony Computer Entertainment did not immediately make an official statement on the issue, various online forums said pre-Slim PS3 models have been the most affected. Forum goers have speculated that the issue could be related to a Y2K-like error with "Fat" PS3 internal clocks, or something more along the lines of a PSN server failure.
The official story: A Sony Computer Entertainment Australia spokesman told GameSpot AU that Sony was "aware of the issue and are currently investigating it."
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus that there's a massive issue affecting plenty of consoles globally. Internal testing performed by GameSpot staff has found that while some games can still be played offline successfully, others--such as Tekken 6, Darksiders, and Heavy Rain--cannot be played, with error messages reporting an inability to obtain or create trophy data on startup.
[UPDATE] A Sony Computer Entertainment America representative has now confirmed that the issue is indeed a widespread clock error affecting non-PS3 Slims built before 2009. It released the following statement to the press:
As you may be aware, some customers have been unable to connect to the PlayStation Network today. This problem affects the models other than the new slim PS3.
We believe we have identified that this problem is being caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system.
Errors include: * 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 playback certain rental video downloaded from the PlayStation Store before the expiration date.
We hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, if you have a model other than the new slim PS3, we advise that you do not use your PS3 system, as doing so may result in errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data.
As mentioned above, Please be advised that the new slim PS3 is not affected with this error. We are doing our best to resolve the issue and do apologize for any inconvenience caused.
[UPDATE 2] Monday afternoon, afflicted PS3 Fats at GameSpot's US offices were able to play games again and trophies appeared to be awarded as normal. However, Sony has still not given the all clear yet, and the PS3s in question all had erroneous dates of February 28 on their clocks, believed to be the source of the problem. Gamers who want to be 100 percent sure that they will earn trophies as normal may want to wait for Sony's final blessing.
[UPDATE 3] As of 5 p.m. PST on Monday afflicted PS3 Fats were awarding trophies with the correct date and time.
[UPDATE 4] Around 6 p.m. PST, Sony declared the PlayStation Network was fully operational and gamers could resume playing as normal. A spokesperson also revealed the exact problem which led to the nearly day-long outage.
"We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year," said Patrick Seybold, SCEA's director of corporate communications and social media, on the official US PlayStation Blog. "Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally.