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25 Apr 2011

Millions of gamers are unable to play online as the Playstation Network remains unavailable.

Users are seeing error messages stating the network is "undergoing maintenance" or is "suspended".

In a blog post, maker Sony said it turned off the network on Wednesday after it detected an "external intrusion" and that it was doing all it could to resolve it the problem.

In recent weeks, Playstation has been targeted by hackers' group Anonymous.

The group appeared to deny being responsible for the attack, releasing a message stating "for once we didn't do it".

The network has more than 70 million users worldwide, but Sony were unable to clarify how many players had been affected.

However, Twitter messages and blog posts have been posted from all over the world.

The problems have also affected other services running on the network. Film rental site LoveFilm confirmed to the BBC that their customers are currently unable to stream films when using the Playstation service.

This outage is the latest in a series of problems for the network which has suffered extended periods of downtime over the past few weeks.

In response, angry gamers have flooded blogs, forums and Twitter with complaints.

"A full day and you guys still have no clue what is causing this," wrote user Slickshoes in response to the company's blog post.
'Poor timing'

Another user, Max Smith, contacted the BBC to share his frustration that Sony is not keeping gamers better informed.

"To be honest I think that Sony need to give more updates towards the gamers via their Twitter account. There has been no update in the past 18 hours which is really making the community go crazy," he said.

Oli Welsh, from, said the outage is a big problem for Sony - especially at Easter.

"As much as the weather's lovely, a lot of gamers will be looking forward to tucking in to their favourite hobby this week.

"It's also a pretty big week for new releases, the biggest we've had in a couple of months. There's one really key game coming out called Portal 2 which has a great online mode that a lot of people now won't be able to access straight away.

"For gamers it's a shame, and for Sony it's a problem."

Anonymous, the group which gained notoriety over Wikileaks-related attacks, has previously strongly criticised the Japan-based entertainment giant over its treatment of George Hotz, an American hacker who unlocked the games console's closed operating system.

Sony filed a lawsuit against the 21-year-old, arguing that his hack had allowed pirated games to be played on the machine.

The case was dropped earlier this month after Mr Hotz agreed to sign an injunction banning him from similar behaviour in future.

A spokesperson for Sony was unavailable for comment.


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