Sony said it planned to start conducting "routine maintenance" on the online network starting at 16:00 GMT today (8 a.m. PT). The maintenance will shut down all online activity globally across PS3 consoles, barring players from signing on to their PSN accounts.
While Sony isn't commenting on the details of the maintenance, some will probably speculate that hacking issues are involved. In a battle against piracy and hacking on the PlayStation 3, Sony has recently taken legal action against hacker George "Geohot" Hotz and prompted a request to seize IP addresses from Google. But maybe we're just getting some fixes or cool updates.
Either way, it shouldn't come as a big surprise to gamers. The free-to-play PSN appears to need the most time for fixes compared with other online gaming services; Sony has often allotted as much as 10 hours to buff out errors. All gamers know the pain and sorrow of scheduled maintenance, which has had Xbox Live offline for as long as 24 hours.
Heartbroken new PS3 owners should keep in mind that things could be much worse: firmware update 3.41, best remembered as the PS3apocalypse, wiped out hard drives and broke flocks of PS3s upon installation. Breathe! You can do this!
Hopefully, you'll be on the side of the world that's sleeping through this update. For those who will be awake and bored: Buck up! There are always those strange, papery things called books you can read.