Sony says its PlayStation Network will be fully restored in the US and Europe today, June 2nd.
It shut PSN down in April after discovering a massive security breach involving the theft of data about 100 million accounts.
A limited service that allowed users to play games has been available since May 16th, as we reported below.
More after the break
Sony has announced that it's started a phased restoration of its PlayStation Network (PSN) and Qriocity services, which were shut down on April 20 following what the company calls 'a criminal cyber attack' on its San Diego data-centre.
The company is offering a 'Welcome Back' package of services and content to all registered users.
The package includes two free PS3 or PSP games, 30 days free membership of Sony’s premium PlayStation Plus service or, for existing PlayStation Plus members, an extra 60 days free. Subscribers to Sony’s Music Unlimited Service will also get 30 days free.
The restoration of services will be on a country by country basis, starting in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. A limited service has been restored in the UK and US.
As the service is restored, users will be able to sign-in to both PlayStation Network and Qriocity, allowing passwords to be changed, take part on online gameplay on PS3 and PSP, play rental video content, and access music on Qriocity.
They'll also be able to access third-party content and social features.
Sony says it has updated and added security technologies, and increased levels of encryption and firewalling.
Apologising to users, Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation, said that 'While we understand the importance of getting our services back online, we did not rush to do so at the expense of extensively and aggressively testing our enhanced security measures.
'Our consumers’ safety remains our number one priority. We want to assure our customers that their personal information is being protected with some of the best security technologies available today, so that everyone can feel comfortable enjoying all that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have to offer.'
Sony's PlayStation Network and Qriocity services could remain offline until the end of May.
Bloomberg reports that the new security system being implemented to stop further security breaches might not be ready to go live until May 31st.
Both services have been down since April 20th after two security breaches compromised personal data belonging to millions of users.
Capcom, a games publisher, today said the PlayStation Network outage has cost "hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in revenue".
Sony has admitted a second security breach has compromised the security of users on its Online Entertainment Portal, used by PC gamers to play online.
The breach, which happened just before that which affected the PlayStation Network and Qriocity, affects up to 24.6 million users.
The electronics giant said names, addresses, emails and more could have been stolen, though there's no sign as yet of any information being used illicitly.
The Online Entertainment Portal is used for PC owners to play games online.
The news comes just days after Sony's excecutives apologised for the initial breach, which affected PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers.
Names, addresses and credit card details could all have been stolen in the hack, which happened between April 17th and April 19th.
Sony said it learned of the breach on the 19th and shut down its online network immediately.
An announcement from Sony, giving details of the hack, was released late last night.
Sony has since made clear that while it knew of the security breach, it only uncovered "the scope of the breach" yesterday, following which the announcement was made.
All the information that users enter in to their online accounts - names, addresses, birth dates, email address, logins, passwords - could potentially have been stolen.
As yet Sony has not received any reports that the data has been used improperly.
What can you do?Sony has asked users to be extra vigilant against possible fraud and reiterated that it will never contact users to ask for confidential information such as bank details.
If you use the same login/password details on other accounts, Sony has advised that you change them. It's also crucial to monitor your bank accounts for suspicious activity.
Some security experts have gone further and advised that all users not only change all passwords but cancel any affected credit cards.
Sony has put no date on a resumption of service and said anyone requiring refunds or wanting to cancel accounts will have to wait until the network is back online.
If you notice anything untoward in any of your related accounts that you think could have been triggered by this breach, let us know in the comments section below, or join in the discussion on our Forums.