It was almost a month of no service, but the PSN is finally showing signs of life. Last night, a PlayStation Blog post informed us that a firmware update was available. This update is mandatory for using the PSN. Now that it's back, when we go to sign in, we must change our passwords. It seems like everything but the PlayStation Store is up and running.
This has been a very tense month for Sony and gamers. Some gamers threatened to leave the PSN and buy Xbox 360s. That's their decision, although I think it was a bit of an overreaction. While Sony could have been more forthcoming with updates, I never doubted that they would set things right. The PSN went down at the worst time with Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, and SOCOM just released a day before. Yes, it's been hard to be patient, but the worst is over and hopefully the PSN will be better then ever. (and cross game chat would be nice, btw)
If you had a credit card tied to the PSN and you're wary about doing so in the future, the answer is simple: use PSN cards. They are available everywhere and can be purchased for $20 and up.
And don't forget, we should receive more info on the Welcome Back packages in the next few days.