updated 07:15 pm EDT, Sat May 14, 2011
Sony pushes PS3 3.61 to brace for PSN return
(Update 2: PSN now back) Sony on Saturday night said it was rolling out the promised mandatory new firmware for PS3s to get ready for the return of the PlayStation network. The 3.61 update pushes a password change and also requires that password changes for PS3 users can only take place on the PS3 itself. Those who've never used a PS3 to get content will still get an e-mail with a one-time link to change the password.
Despite the new firmware, Sony didn't have new information on when PSN would go back online. Service has been out for more than three weeks and only has a May target for when it would return. Sony's issues were compounded on May 2 when SOE was also known to have been hacked and plans to get PSN back up quickly had to be put on hold.
The April 19 breach isn't known to have compromised any credit cards or other vital data, but the exposure of personal information for 77 million PSN and Qriocity users, along with the 24 million for SOE, still makes it one of the biggest account hacks in recent memory.
Update: Sony has posted again saying that PSN is being restored now in phases. North America and Europe will both start getting PSN and Qriocity back today, with Qriocity's Music Unlimited as well as multiplayter games, Hulu, MLB.TV, and Netflix all coming back. A live map (included in the link) will show when individual US states come back.
Full service should be still be back by the end of May.
Update 2: All of North America has come back online as of 3AM Eastern.
Restoration maps: late Saturday (top), 3AM Sunday (bottom)