While Microsoft's Xbox might gain some new, disgruntled customers in the wake of the Sony PlayStation Network outage; experts say a mass exodus is unlikely.
Since April 20, Sony's PlayStation Network has been disabled due to the outcome of a vicious hack that infiltrated its database. Hackers got illegal access to 25 million consumers' account information. Sony hasn't set an exact date for when the PlayStation Network will return, but said it wanted to make sure everything was covered and people's data was entirely secure.
Yet this delay and lack of an informative response has caused many loyal PlayStation users to openly vent their anger towards the company. While some users have threatened to go and buy an Xbox, PlayStation's main competitor, video game analysts don't see an exodus forthcoming.
Once the network is back up and secure, and once people calm down and realize they didn't lose anything, the damage will largely be repaired, said Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities. There are a few people who undoubtedly threw their PS3s in the trash, and likely a few thousand who bought an Xbox 360 over a PS3 due to the PSN outage, but I can't envision this number being more than a rounding error.
Scott Steinberg, chief executive officer of video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global, said most gamers have short memories. He says if PlayStation introduces something really cool at the upcoming E3 gamers conference, most of them will forget about this whole ordeal.
While I don't think free games, a month of free service and an insurance service will recapture everyone and people will still remember, I definitely don't think this is the nail in the coffin, Steinberg said.
Hardcore gamers, who love to play multiplayer games on online networks, have often been decidedly split when choosing between the two consoles. While the PlayStation Network has more than 70 million users, Microsoft's Xbox Live only has 30 million. It is worth nothing however, Sony's PSN is free, while Xbox Live comes with a monthly subscription rate. In terms of total sales, according to both companies' official numbers, Xbox 360 actually tops PS3 53.6 million to 50 million.
Nintendo's Wii has blown both of these consoles away in terms of sales, but the company doesn't have a strong presence in online gaming. Interestingly enough, however, according to YouGov, a company which rates brand perception, Nintendo has benefited the most from Sony's failures. While YouGov said Sony's perception index score has tumbled 10 points, Nintendo's score jumped from 19.6 to 29.8.
Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna