Updated. Online video services Netflix, (s NFLX) Hulu Plus and MLB.tv have been hard hit by an ongoing outage of Sony’s (s SNE) PlayStation Network, which has been down since last Wednesday. Sony took the network for its gaming console offline last week after hackers gained access to customer data. The company admitted the breach Tuesday and said it expects “to restore some services within a week.”
PlayStation 3 users haven’t just been locked out of online games, but also have been unable to access video services like Netflix or Hulu Plus, which both require a PlayStation Network subscription. Also unavailable are VOD rentals from Sony’s PlayStation store, as well as programming from MLB.tv. Vudu rentals, on the other hand, are accessible without any issue, we confirmed this week, which suggests the Walmart-owned (s WMT) download store interacts differently with the Playstation Network than Netflix and Hulu Plus.
While online video services like Netflix and Hulu Plus have rapidly increased the number of consumer electronics devices they are available on, game consoles still represents a large percentage of viewing. Netflix, for instance, claims to be available on more than 250 different devices, but the PS3 is definitely one of the more dominant players. Sony’s PlayStation Network has more than 70 million users worldwide, and the console maker had sold close to 18 million PS3s in the U.S. alone by the end of last year. Just for comparison’s sake, Roku has sold a little more than a million of its broadband set-top boxes.
The outage is particularly cruel for Netflix users, who are able to launch the Netflix UI after going through a number of failed attempts to log into the Playstation Network. Users are able to select a title for streaming, and the application even starts buffering the stream. However, another log-in window pops up, and the app throws the user back into the catalog overview after the log-in fails. Check the video embedded below for all the depressing details:
A Netflix spokesperson told us the company is redirecting any requests by end users who inquire about the issue to Sony. Hulu wasn’t available for comment at the time of writing, but the company has reportedly started to offer refunds to some of its customers to make up for the fact that they can’t access the service on their PS3.
Update: Judging from our comments, some people have been able to access Netflix streams despite the PlayStation Network outage. However, we tried multiple times yesterday without success, and also talked to a number of users who ran into the same issues described above. Individual results may vary.