Unless you have slept through the Easter weekend, you will have realized like many others that Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity service have been offline for days. This is unusual for a service that counts 75 million users on its books, and you’d expect Sony to have some kind of backup ready to jump in and take over when something went wrong.That backup system does not exist it seems, otherwise we wouldn’t be about to enter day six with no PSN. What’s worse is Sony isn’t explaining to anyone what happened or what exactly it is doing to fix it. The only statement we have had came via the PlayStation Blog which basically says Sony is working on it, but there is no time frame for it coming back online.All we know is some kind of external intrusion occurred and Sony is rebuilding PSN from the ground up. Games will get updates for some, possibly all users, but you can’t access the PlayStation Store, or anything that you would deem as content.75 million users, an increasingly important part of the PlayStation experience, and the revenue stream of a growing number of developers being hit hard. You’d think Sony would be sharing more information about what happened, wouldn’t you? Even Kaz Hirai, deputy president of Sony failed to mention it at the announcement of the S1 and S2 tablets late yesterday in Japan. He mentioned the earthquake from a month ago, but not the last 5 days of his company’s failure to keep its service online.Eventually Sony will get this fixed. It could be by tomorrow, it may be a week from now, but we have to consider the long-term consequences of such a digital disaster.Gamers for the most part are angry. A service they use is not avaiable and was offline for the Easter holiday weekend. You could argue its a free service so you can’t complain too much, but I’d have to disagree. Some gamers do pay subscriptions for PlayStation Plus, or for access to rentals which some will have lost access to during their valid viewing period. Then there’s the games we bought for their multiplayer. We can’t play those games until the service is back online. We aren’t losing money, but we paid money to play them on the service Sony offers and promotes as a reason to buy a PS3 and its games.If Sony brings PSN back online tomorrow then this will be seen as a major bump in the road it can’t afford to repeat. But if this continues for the rest of the week, or longer, then it shows a lack of planning and forethought as to the whole PSN system. This should not have happened, and even if it did, the downtime should have been minimal. Would you expect Google or Facebook to go offline for 5 days? No, they can’t afford to, but apparently Sony believes it can.At the moment, it probably isn’t making anyone think they should trade their PS3 in for an Xbox 360. However, say this carries on to the weekend, a time when new games get released and those of us with jobs have time to go out and make purchases. Will you be buying a PS3 game or a PS3 console?My guess is new PS3 game purchases will be down significantly even if gamers are buying for the single player experience. PS3 hardware sales will be hit even harder. There’s also going to be a few indie developers out there sweating due to 6+ days of no sales. It’s even worse if your game only released last week and any marketing has completely gone to waste. The big games publishers will also be asking questions. One of the biggest games of the year just launched, Portal 2, which you may remember was a big deal because it ships with Steam. That means nothing if you can’t access any online features. Or what about SOCOM 4? That “squad based multiplayer” is just a bullet point without PSN. Publishers als have DLC to sell, and I bet a few DLC launches are having their availability dates revised as we speak.Even when Sony gets this problem sorted out it still has some major repair work to do in its relations with gamers, developers, and publishers. Sony has to give a full disclosure of what happened to take the service offline this long otherwise gamers will not be satisfied (nor will investors I imagine). The company will have to reimburse PSPlus members somehow, it will have to give indie developers some kind of compensation or incentives for lost sales, and it will have to convince publishers the PS3 digital experience is still a good thing to support.In a nutshell, Sony may be fixing the hardware and software issues at the moment, but the real work starts once the service is back online.