What Does the Sony PlayStation Breach Mean for Gamers?

May 9, 2011  |  

Virtual exchange and digital access can be vital, particularly for the young African-American segment which often times out-indexes in terms of frequency of access across tech platforms. But what’s the fall out when a major security breach occurs? No doubt a good number of the close to 100 million users of the Sony PlayStation Network are of color and have growing concerns about the hacker access to private information. In fact, now Sony is being called to testify in Congress and the FBI is involved, but what does it all mean on the user level?

As most are aware, Sony recently revealed that hackers accessed data which might have included full name, password, email, home address and purchase history of all its users. First the company said that credit card numbers were not compromised but has recently changed its tune, saying that it could not guarantee that for certain.

Thank goodness for the three-digit number on the back of credit cards which the company says were not exposed. However, all this could be particularly worrisome for young African-Americans who, since statistics show, are “underbanked” and therefore more apt to use such items as pre-paid credit cards. One’s own money is quite different from that of MasterCard, Visa or American Express!

Thus many gamers seem are beginning to move well away from the gaming giant. Of particular note are rap artists who are known for gaming while on the road on tour or during breaks while recording in the studio.

Indeed, Grammy-nominated rap recording artist recently Game told me that he defected to X-Box Kinect in just the last few days. Known as a major gamer and a huge PlayStation Network fan before all this, Game says that he thinks Sony PlayStation has probably lost 1 millions fans, easily. He also said that many gamers are converting over and his own conversion started when he recently returned home from a tour with Snoop Dogg.

At that point the system was down; shortly thereafter, the hacker problem was reported. Snoop had tried in the past to convert Game to X-Box, with no previous luck; but this incident did the trick. Game has not looked back since that moment. He and Snoop not only exchanged tags but Game also went out and bought about 10 X-Boxes to give to previous PlayStation gamers just so that they could still play together.

His particular story has a pretty positive ending, but we’ve barely just seen the tip of the iceberg of the Sony breach. In fact many say that it is such a sophisticated attack on security that a ripple effect is being felt throughout the industry. This coupled with the fact that the recent outages caused by Amazon’s cloud also created some tense moments in the industry – we may all be in for a rocky ride as technology continues to expand and stretch the limits. And since young African-Americans are often times such large users of all things digital, they might benefit by proceeding cautiously as more of the digital terrain continues to be built.

Lauren DeLisa Coleman is a writer, speaker and thought-leader specializing in the diverse segment of the Gen X,Y demo, tech and its convergence with socio-economic concerns. Follow her @mediaempress

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