PS3 crashes end, PSN service fully restored

[UPDATE 2] Following nearly 24 hours of the "ApocalyPS3," afflicted units of Sony's console begin to come back online, initially with an erroneous date; this evening, Sony sounds official all clear, blames false leap-year reading.

The past day has been a traumatic one for owners of the PlayStation "Fat." Last night in Australia--one of the first territories across the international date line--reports began to surface that non-Slim units of Sony's console were suffering from "Error 8001050F," which force-quit games shortly after they were started. As a result, thousands--perhaps millions--of owners of pre-2009 PS3s were locked out of the PlayStation Network for an indeterminate amount of time.

The error at the heart of the "ApocalyPS3."

With furious console owners decrying the "ApocalyPS3" in myriad forums, this morning Sony announced that a solution to the problem would arrive within 24 hours. By this afternoon, the global crisis appears to have begun abating. Around 3 p.m. PST, all the older-model PS3s in the GameSpot offices began working again. Similar reports began popping up on other game-news outlets and in online forums.

Though Sony had not responded to requests for clarification about the cessation of Error 8001050F, it did say this morning that the problem was likely associated with the internal clock in older PS3s. Indeed, the problem's sudden abatement was accompanied by a resetting of afflicted consoles back to Sunday, February 28. This was true of all the PS3s in GameSpot's US office, including debug units used for testing preview games. The fact that no system updates needed to be downloaded and installed adds weight to Sony's theory.

Unfortunately, the erroneous date raises the issue that many believe was at the center of the problem--that the clock error was causing problems with the PS3's trophy system. Sony warned specifically that playing afflicted PS3s could result in loss of trophies. Several GameSpot editors who resumed playing games on older units were earning trophies, but with the wrong February 28 date affixed. Inquiries sent to Sony Computer Entertainment America about the status of the trophy system were not answered as of press time. However, gamers worried about losing trophy data may want to hold off until the official announcement before resuming playing.

[UPDATE] As of 5 p.m. PST, afflicted PS3 "Fats" were awarding trophies with the correct date and time.

[UPDATE 2] Around 6 p.m. 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."

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