We Want Our PSN! What Happens When Gamers Suffer Through 3 Weeks of Network Playing Withdrawal


A good portion of gamers out there were waiting, waiting, waiting for the Playstation Network to recover from their recent intrusion, loss of private customer data, and restore services to the online gaming platform. The network was shut down on April 21st, as indicated by the reach/attention spikes below. Actually, the daily attention and reach metrics closely track to the events as they unfolded. Luckily, they recovered services this weekend so U.S. gamers had an opportunity to play both Saturday and Sunday.

On the 21st the network was shut down, and the second bump on the 23rd was from when Sony announced that they’d been hacked and that customer data had been compromised.

daily reach and attention for playstation

In terms of search, visits from search engines increased by 67.88% month over month from March, and to no surprise, the Playstation Network keywords are getting a lot of attention.

top 25 daily search referrals for playstation

Google even ranked the search “Playstation Network Down” to be “on fire” on the 21st. Over the last 90 days about ⅓ of searches for this term lead to Playstation.com, the other ⅔ of searches went primarily to news, social networking, and gaming sites.

From the Playstation.com destination traffic, we can infer that users are increasingly leaving to social networking, gaming, and entertainment sites. Many gamers behavior indicates they were keeping their thumb callouses properly primed by brushing up on their skills locally with heavy increases in share to game cheats sites like ign.com and gamefaqs.com. Users also left in droves to the customer support channels with over an 83% increase in share to PlayStation’s branded custhelp.com site.

destination traffic from playstation

While it’s still too early to fully gauge what the financial impact will be on Sony and the PlayStation Network, we’re seeing other types of media benefiting from displaced PSN gamers’ energy; we all know that Thor had a big opening weekend. Can you think of any other activities that gamers likely gravitated to? Please leave me your thoughts in the comments below.

To view the official customer apology and welcome back details, check out the video (below) posted to Playstation’s blog Saturday. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this approach from a customer service perspective. What do you think would make this type of outage right in the eyes of the customer, and can you think of similar instances in which brands came out of an unfortunate situation either stronger or weaker as a brand? Feel free to leave your thought in the comments below or tweet them out @compete with the hashtag #custserv.

About Lindsey Mark:
Lindsey Mark works in Client Relations at Compete and is responsible for the strategic development of client retention and support policies for compete.com, with a focus on education and training efforts. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY so she's a certified technology junkie and open source advocate. When she's not thinking about marketing or training digital 007's at compete, she's doing yoga & blogging about gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Find Lindsey on Twitter as @linji, Google Plus as Lindsey Mark or connect with her via LinkedIn.