Waking up this morning, I was surprised to see my PS3 tell me that I could party as if it were 1999, but apparently its version of the millennium bug has been going on since Sunday. According to updates on Kotaku and Slashdot, there’s some kind of calendar issue that’s affecting PS3s worldwide. Many of those, they say, are the original phat units. Even developers are being affected by this with debug consoles caught in reboot loops.
On my end (I have a launch 60GB PS3), I couldn’t even sign onto the PSN network and the date on my unit was already set to 12/31/1999. I couldn’t even update the time from the internet, but it allowed me to download patches for games such as MW2…which I couldn’t play anyway. See the screen above? That’s all I get from MW2. At least it’s patched to 1.90, though, not that it helps.
Funny thing is that it doesn’t seem that every game is affected in the same way. I started up Valkyria Chronicles and was able to play the game, albeit it’s a single-player only title but it does have trophies. With MW2, it didn’t matter whether or not I wanted to just play the campaign. It booted me out regardless of what I wanted to do and it isn’t the only game affected. Manually changing the date doesn’t do much except make it look correct, but whenever MW2 checks back with PSN for trophy info, I’m sent right back into the Black Void of Error.
The ‘net is filled with plenty of speculation at this point on what the cause might be, running from it being a problem with leap year interpretation (it’s not due yet) to a possibility that it stems from upgrades to the PSN (which doesn’t explain why offline systems like mine were affected, or why it was able to download patches for titles).
Sony has acknowledged that they are working on the problem. Hopefully we’ll get some kind of fix sooner than later, but it’s more than a little disconcerting to see something like this cripple so many systems at once.
UPDATE(1) 3.1.2010: Some PS3 owners in Europe have even gone so far as to try and trade in their affected units for the slims at retailer GAME. GAME, however, is reportedly refusing to do so at this time.
UPDATE(2) 3.1.2010: Kotaku reports that Sony has contacted them with news that it has narrowed the problem to the clock the PS3 uses. They go on to say that a fix should be on the way in 24 hours, but “if you have a fat PS3, do not use it for 24 hours”. Aside from coming off as if it should be quarantined, I’m surprised that they actually had to say that.
It defies belief that something like this actually slipped past Sony’s Q&A. The PS3, for me at least, has performed flawlessly until now and I have no doubt that it will again after this fix. But still, it’s incredibly eerie to see Sony with this much egg on their face over what seems like such an innocuous feature.
UPDATE(3) 3.1.2010: Kotaku has good news that it looks like the problem with the internal clock for fat PS3s has been fixed and no patch was even needed. I was able to sync my PS3′s clock with the ‘net and start up MW2 without any problems. It looks like today’s craziness might be over.