Sony's PlayStation, Entertainment Network Breaches: 10 Possible Results

As the PlayStation Network data breach continues to vex Sony customers around the globe, a number of things could come out of it-most of them bad-for Sony and for the users of its gaming and entertainment services.

Sony's PlayStation Network, which lets consumers play games and access multimedia content, is still unavailable as the company works to improve its security. The saga started last month when a single hacker broke into Sony's servers and stole customer information. According to Sony, credit card data was encrypted, but personal user information was not, causing some to wonder what will come next.

For Sony, the next step is getting PlayStation Network and Qriocity back online and available to all of its customers. But for those customers and even Sony, the next several months could be marked by more trouble, more apologies and growing concerns that the data that was stolen is being used to the detriment of the more than 100 million PlayStation Network, Qriocity and now Sony Online Entertainment users around the world.

The next several months could be telling as Sony attempts to rebuild its brand and prove that it can once again be trusted with consumer information.

Read on to learn about what could result from the massive data breach of Sony's gaming and entertainment sites.

1. Sony's decline in the gaming business?

Prior to the PlayStation Network breach, Sony was gaining ground in the gaming market. The company's PlayStation 3 was catching on with more consumers than before, and both Nintendo and Microsoft were forced to finally worry about the console. But then the PlayStation Network breach occurred. Now, it's quite possible that Sony's operation in the gaming business could be negatively affected for years to come.

2. An issue with online gaming?

Although the breach occurred on Sony's PlayStation Network, it's quite possible that it could impact the entire online-gaming market. Consumers who are worried that the issue could happen again might leave Xbox Live and hurt Microsoft. Then again, they might only leave Sony's offering and stick with Microsoft's option. In either case, expect a noticeable shift in the online-gaming space going forward.

3. Personal-security issues for months to come?

As of this writing, Sony has said that it has not found any evidence of identity theft occurring around the world because of the breach. However, the company said that it will help customers enroll in identity-theft-prevention services in case such a problem erupts. Although that's better than nothing, it indicates that personal-security problems could be around for months (if not, years) to come.

4. A wake-up call

If nothing else, the PlayStation Network breach should be a wake-up call for consumers. Although Microsoft and Windows are typically panned for causing security problems, Sony's breach proves that issues can occur anywhere a Web connection is available. Hopefully this breach will energize consumers to start thinking more seriously about how they share personal information and the risk they take every time they do so.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...