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PlayStation Network down, Sony says should return soon

Sony's massive gaming network experiences an outage today that's affecting users worldwide.

The error message shown when attempting to log into PSN. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Sony's PlayStation Network is currently experiencing an outage affecting users of the service around the world.

An error message appears when attempting to log in to PSN: "An error has occurred. You have been signed out of PlayStation Network. (8002A548)." According to an official PlayStation support site, the error code 8002A543 may also appear.

"We're aware that some of you are having issues trying to log into PSN. We're working to resolve the issue, and we'll update you here," read a tweet on the PlayStation Twitter account several hours ago.

PlayStation Blog Europe also chimed in on Twitter with an acknowledgement that the PSN is down in that region. "PlayStation Network engineers are working hard on restoring the service."

Just a few moments ago, the same account offered a timetable and some hope for confused users of the service who can't get online: "Current indications are that we'll be restoring PlayStation Network services in approx. two hours. We appreciate your patience." (Update: As of 1:30 p.m. PT, tweets were beginning to indicate that the service was gradually returning online.)

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Nonetheless, frustration has been popping up, including a flurry of responses on Twitter and the official PlayStation Facebook page. "Sony, why is the Playstation Network down AGAIN. You are letting us down and embarrassing us in front of Xbox users," Daniel J. Armstrong wrote. Meanwhile, Reed Decker griped on Twitter: "Never seen a better example of 'you get what you pay for' than the Playstation Network."

PSN downtime is a sensitive subject for many following a month of PSN outages earlier this year that were ultimately pegged to cyberbattacks.

The sheer scope of the recent hacking scandal--which compromised the personal information of millions of gamers--was a huge smudge on the public perception of the gaming network. In the damage-control department, Sony issued multiple apologies and the promise of a strengthened network, along with giving affected users a $1 million identity theft insurance policy and free games. It also gave all PSN members affected by the outage access to PlayStation Plus for a month.

Update, 1:32 p.m. PT: to indicate that the PSN appears to be gradually coming back online.