It seems that a major worldwide firmware bug has affected most PlayStation 3s, preventing the consoles from connecting to the PlayStation Network and in many cases (including our own) not allowing for offline game play. The problem, whatever it is, comprises all PS3 consoles aside from the newer PS3 Slim.
We've been keeping an eye on the official PlayStation Twitter feed and blog that claims Sony has narrowed down the issue, though 12 hours after the bug (error 8001050F) was first reported most systems remain paralyzed. At first it seemed the crisis centralized around trophy support, while other reports laid blame on the console's internal clock and calendar.
Perhaps the most bizarre element to this whole debacle is the fact that there was no firmware update to trigger the problem. It seems every PS3 (aside from the Slim) is vulnerable to this glitch regardless of whether or not the console is connected to the Internet.
Coming off the release of what's arguably the best PS3 exclusive game in some time--Heavy Rain--most PS3 owners will have to wait it out until they can continue playing. Let's just hope the bug doesn't delete game saves.
We'll be updating this post as the situation develops.
UPDATE (12:45 p.m. EST): We've heard back directly from Sony on this. Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications and social media, had this to say: "We believe we have identified that this problem is being caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system...We hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, if you have a model other than the new slim PS3, we advise that you do not use your PS3 system, as doing so may result in errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data."
It'll be interesting to see how Sony rolls out the update, considering a console would have to be online to receive it.
UPDATE 2 (7:45 p.m. EST): Reports are slowly trickling in and after testing our own PS3, it seems that things are back to normal. All games appear to be running smoothly and no trophies or game saves are corrupted.