Yesterday, PS3 owners worldwide suddenly found themselves locked out of the PlayStation Network, with trophy and game functionality severely compromised. No-one knows why, but it appears that a calendar bug within older PlayStation3s has wreaked havoc with the PS3's DRM and authentication systems with a far-reaching impact on the system.

The phenomenon does not appear to have affected the new PS3 Slim, but owners of the larger console are at risk, with the PS3 logging an 8001050F error as soon as the system attempts to connect to the PlayStation Network. The bug causes the date on the system to be reset to 1st January 2000, and reseting the clock manually makes no difference.

Other gamers have reported that the same error kicks in even on offline systems, meaning that titles that synchronise trophies when first booted fail to start. Even test PS3 units used by press and developers are said to be affected. The impact of the bug is so far-reaching that all the paid-for PSN content residing on your PS3 hard drive suddenly loses its activation privileges, meaning that in addition to some retail Blu-ray games that sync trophies on launch, bought-and-paid-for PSN titles are no longer playable in anything other than their trial versions - if they have one.

Quite why the bug kicks in remains unknown at this time. Checking in with SCEE this morning, the official line is, "We have found out that some users are experiencing a network connection failure when signing on to PlayStation Network. We are currently looking into the issue to identify the cause of this network connection failure and will update further information as necessary (on the Blog or official website). We appreciate for your understanding and continued support."

Sony initially acknowledged the issue early this morning, but thus far has offered no advice so far on what the problem is, how it can be avoided, and crucially when it will be fixed. The company has confirmed that Slim units are unaffected.

In the meantime, if you have a non-Slim PS3, and you've not used it since Saturday or beforehand, our advice is to keep it powered down until Sony issues some sort of guidance, or provides a fix. Confirmed on our 60GB launch unit this morning, the bug still impacts PS3s powered up today, even if they were not active on 28th February.

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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