PSN’s 2011 At a Glance

With 2011 well out of the way, there’s no better opportunity to look back how the PlayStation Network fared in the previous year. Spoiler alert! It got hacked.

The games

The PlayStation Network did not disappoint in this department  — a lot of familiar games, though. Much like Braid before it, Limbo made its much anticipated appearance on the PlayStation Store about a year after the game initially launched on XBLA. To say the least, it’s given fans hope that other games will make the same transition. Bastion, anyone?

What’s more, games from previous generations became available on the PlayStation Network. Sony announced as part of the “Only On PSN” campaign that PS2 games will finally be sold on the store. Unfortunately, for those that were hoping an emulator would be available via update, the news may not have been the most exciting. The PlayStation 2 Classics that first launched (and have launched since) weren’t exactly heavy hitters back in their day and were also just straight ports. Still, it was nice to see Odin Sphere get a re-release.

In 2011, the PSN saw a push for HD remakes. Beyond Good & Evil, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath and Resident Evil 4 received HD makeovers.

2011 was also the year Square Enix released two of the best games in its back catalog: Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. Often lauded as two of the best RPG’s of all time, it wasn’t hard to see why fans got excited over the news. Better still, some lesser-known Square titles like Legend of Mana made the jump to PSN as well.

Again, a lot of familiar games made an appearance last year, but Sony did commit to bringing new ones to the PlayStation Network. The Pub Fund was Sony’s $20 million investment into doing just that. Okabu, Eufloria and PixelJunk Shooter 2, just to name a few, spawned from the company’s initiative. But the Pub Fund wasn’t the only thing delivering the goods, other studios treated PSN users to some great games like Renegade Ops, SkyDrift, and BloodRayne: Betrayal.

The controversy

Now, no 2011 recap would be complete without mentioning the PSN shutdown, the security breach that exposed the personal information of 77 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts and shut down the service for about a month. Consumers were rightfully upset with Sony for notifying its costumers a week after the hack had occured. Some fans turned their ire towards Anonymous for the breach. Others were more concerned about identity theft.

While Sony did take measures to revamp the system’s security, the outage and the manner in which the situation was handled did not restore people’s trust in the company. At least, not immediately. The company even gave away free games as part of the Welcome Back Program once the service was back online. But neither the updated security measures or the free games could relieve the tension that made Sony’s conference at E3 the one to watch.

The controversy doesn’t really end there. Shortly after the debacle, Sony updated the terms of service user agreement to include a “Don’t sue us” clause which users had to agree to in order to continue using PSN. In December, one California man decided to challenge that clause and take Sony to court for unfair business practices. The story ends there, but PSN Fans will follow the story as it develops.

That pretty much sums the year for the PlayStation Network. So what are your thoughts on PSN in 2011? Still trust Sony with your money? Moved on to XBLA? Wished you downloaded LittleBigPlanet instead of Wipeout HD as part of the Welcome Back Program? I did. Give a shout out in the comments below.

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