With PlayStation Network still down, what else is there to do?

Sony's PlayStation Network is still offline in the wake of a massive data theft, leaving disgruntled gamers bored and listless. We round up the best alternative digital pastimes.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
4 min read

Are you a disgruntled PlayStation Network gamer? At least you're not alone -- there are more than 100 million PSN users who've had their data nicked by shadowy digital thieves. Sony's (probably) working hard to get the service back online before everyone throws their PS3s in a canal, but with the only date we have to go on still nearly three weeks away, we thought we'd rattle through a few suggestions of what to do in the meantime.

1. Go outside

Just kidding. We hate the outdoors as much as you. Seriously, it's full of bugs and pollen. Besides, everyone knows you can get a decent tan simply by turning your monitor up really bright.

2. PC gaming

We're not about to suggest PS3 owners rush out and buy an Xbox 360 just because PSN goes down for a few weeks -- apart from the cost, such a suggestion is liable to raise the blood pressure of Sony fans to lethal levels. But you don't need to splash out on a whole new console to get some online gaming kicks.

If you own a mid-range laptop or computer that's less than a year or two old, it's probably got enough computational clout to run some online games. And the good news is, you can do it on the cheap!

First, download Steam, the excellent games store from Valve. Next, download something that'll give you some online jollies. We'd recommend the excellent Team Fortress 2, which is currently available to buy for an astonishing £7, or Left 4 Dead 2, which is going for a reasonable £15, both with free online play. You might never go back to your PS3.

3. Social gaming

You could see the PSN outage as an opportunity to reconnect with old friends. Fire up Facebook, navigate to your school network, and cruise through the profiles of all your old buddies. Then remember you never liked any of 'em, and head directly to FarmVille. In the three weeks or so it might take the PlayStation Network to get up to capacity, you could have constructed a farm so beautiful it would make Father Hoggett weep.

If you feel the need to trample your opponents underfoot, consider doing so in Words With Friends -- a Scrabble clone for iOS and Android devices. Award yourself bonus points if you can construct rude words, and there's a chat function too, so you can let random scrabbling strangers know just how much you enjoyed smacking a 'z' on a triple letter with a double word multiplyer. Trust us, it's just as satisfying as landing a tactical nuke killstreak.

4. Minecraft

If you're addicted to PSN, you just need to transfer your addiction while it's down. And rather than hitting the sauce, we'd recommend the eye-twitchingly addictive Minecraft. The indie-developed creation game costs €15 (£13) while it's in beta, which is a small price to pay for the opportunity to dig to the centre of the Earth, construct a monument to your own brilliance out of glass in the middle of the ocean, or build a zombie-proof torchlit bunker and cower inside listening to their horrible groans.

It's not as flash as blockbuster PlayStation titles, but we reckon when a corporation as large as Sony loses its customers' personal data, it's the perfect time to show indie game developers some support.

5. Finish those left over games

If your gaming behaviour is anything like ours, your shelves will be packed with games you started ages ago and totally meant to finish but oh hey look a shiny new game let's buy that one! Take this opportunity to tie up those loose ends and do a bit of videogame housekeeping. It's more fun than real housekeeping (also an option).

6. Change your passwords

Yeah, you should probably do this. If you use the same password for your PSN account as you do for other services, it's a good idea to switch up. It's a pain, but you can't put a price on peace of mind. Sony's also warned its customer base to be wary of phishing scams, so if someone gets in touch seeming to know a lot about you (possibly even pretending to be Sony), be extra wary before giving your credit card details or any other info away. While you're at it, a call to your credit card company wouldn't go amiss.

7. Get Spotify

Spotify? Huh? It's not just Sony's online gaming services that have gone down. Qriocity, the music- and movie-streaming service with the Qriously stupid name is also kaput for the time being. We're not sure how popular this service is, but we imagine anybody who suddenly finds themselves bereft of tunes might appreciate some Spotify goodness.

You can get Spotify Open for free, though the amount of music you can stream is limited. The Unlimited service (which works on your desktop computer, ad-free) costs £5 per month, or for £10 per month you can go Premium and enjoy Spotify on your mobile and offline playlists. Whether or not you stick with it after Qriocity comes back online is up to you, but it should tide you over.

Right, that should be more than enough to keep you all busy. We're just as ticked off with Sony as you are over this whole mess. Stay tuned for updates on when we can hope for a resolution, and in the meantime be sure to vote in our Facebook poll on whether you'll ever trust Sony again.