PlayStation Network has had a tough time of it in recent days - so much so that it's been offline for extended periods.
While this downtime has obviously affected anyone who wants to play a PlayStation 4 game online, PSN's recent wobble also impacted a big official FIFA tournament.
Let's start with the FUT Champions Cup, which took place in Barcelona over the weekend. 16-year-old Brit Donovan "DhTekKz" Hunt won the tournament, but he did so playing entirely on Xbox One in a grand final match that was supposed to be cross-platform.
The tournament structure saw Xbox One players go up against each other, and PS4 players go up against each other, culminating in two "console finalists" (one from each console pool) facing off in a two-leg grand final (one leg on Xbox One and one leg on PS4). But PSN's problems on Sunday meant all the post-quarter finals matches were played on Xbox One - a development that did not go unnoticed by one sassy Xbox executive.
Hope the games go well. https://t.co/qQa4T85LxC— Mike Ybarra (@Qwik) January 28, 2018
Some said this gave Xbox One champion DhTekKz an unfair advantage over his grand final opponent, Nicolas "nicolas99fc" Villalba, who won the PS4 portion of the FUT Champions Cup. In the end, DhTekKz won the two-leg Grand Final 8-2 on aggregate.
Have to point out tho, both games were played on Xbox. Big disadvantage for @nicolas99fcx— Christopher Holly (@didychrislito) January 28, 2018
Why did FIFA 18 need to be online for this live tournament? EA stipulates all FUT Champions Cups are played using the FIFA Ultimate Team Friendly Seasons mode with accounts provided by EA. This meant competitors were provided with limited log-in details for the accounts for use at the tournament only.
While Sony said PSN's problems sorted themselves out late on Sunday, FIFA's online issues continued into Monday evening. Yesterday, EA Sports temporarily disabled match creation across the entire FUT mode, which meant I was unable to play Squad Battles - FUT's single-player portion.
#FUT match creation has been temporarily disabled. Apologies for the inconvenience.— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) January 29, 2018
The upshot of all this is that PSN - a premium service all PS4 owners must pay for in order to play online - is once again in the spotlight for its unreliability. Sony and EA will be hoping PSN doesn't have another wobble when the FUT Champions Cup returns in April.