Chinese PlayStation Network outage may signal something bigger than security upgrades, analyst says

PSN is down for users in China due to security upgrades.

Image via Sony

China’s government has still provided no updates after Sony’s PlayStation Network went down across the country on May 10.

When the PlayStation Store was taken down, no reason was given. Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst for Niko Partners, a market research and consulting firm focused on the Asian games market, said an Xbox fan claimed they “reported to authorities about certain back door elements that are easily accessible to switch to overseas services.”

In a new series of tweets, Ahmad lays out a few possible reasons for the outage, although he did note that security upgrades typically mean there is a deeper reason behind the outage.

The first reason could be that one or many people actually did report the official PlayStation channels to authorities based on backdoor access to overseas PSN servers, which users can utilize to download non-approved games. Sony might have a license to officially sell PS4 consoles in China, but the PSN is heavily regulated, and only approved and licensed games can launch, of which there are 130. 

Another plausible reason is the service actually is down for security upgrades, which will help the service abide by new Chinese gaming laws that will go into effect soon.

Related: China to ban international online gaming and limit global services

This includes requiring all players participating in online games to use their real names instead of usernames or other alternate titles, even if the online infrastructure of a game is minimal or optional (like in Dark Souls, for example). Which will go along with limiting the number of time minors can spend playing games of any kind—90 minutes on normal days and three hours on legalized holidays and other anti-addiction changes being implemented. 

In an official statement, the Chinese government said it would start testing online elements as early as May.