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[Update] Court Approves Sony Settlement In 2011 PSN Data Breach Case

by Mike Futter on Jul 24, 2014 at 05:50 AM

Update: Sony has responded to our request for comment on the settlement for the 2011 PSN hacking and data breach class actions suit.

"A proposed settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuits arising from the April 2011 criminal cyber-attacks on the PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and Sony Online Entertainment services," a representative told Game Informer via email. "Information regarding the proposed settlement, which is subject to final approval by the Court, is available in the settlement agreement and other documents filed with the Court.  While we continue to deny the allegations in the class action lawsuits, most of which had been previously dismissed by the trial court, we decided to move forward with a settlement to avoid the costs associated with lengthy litigation.  To date, the Sony entities have received no confirmed reports of identity theft linked to the attacks, and there is no evidence that anyone’s credit card information was accessed.  We are glad that the parties are working toward a resolution of this matter and that our gamers will continue to enjoy our entertainment services."

As we mentioned last night, a judge has given preliminary approval to the settlement, which would carve out approximately $15 million in compensation to affected users, including free games, unused fund reimbursements, and awards if identity theft can be proved. Another $2.75 million will be paid in attorney fees per the terms. 

Original Story:

The US District Court for the Southern District of California has preliminarily approved a settlement over the 2011 PlayStation Network data breach, which took the service down for weeks. The cash value of the settlement could be as much as $17.75 million.

The settlement includes an offer of a PS3 or PSP game, PS3 themes, or three months of PlayStation Plus membership. Sony’s settlement offer includes a number of tiers depending on whether users took advantage of the “Welcome Back” game offer that was made available in 2011. 

Users that did take advantage can choose one of these groups. Those that did not can choose two. Eight PlayStation 3 games, including Dead Nation, Infamous, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD, and Rain will be offered. Six PlayStation Portable titles, including LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers, Patapon 3, and Killzone Liberation are included. The remaining, yet to be named titles, will be at least six months old from the time the formal settlement notification is posted.

There are caps on the different groups. Once $6 million of claims in the non-Welcome Back group and $4 million in the Welcome Back group are reached, claimants will be awarded a one month PlayStation Plus membership.

Additionally, those Sony Online Entertainment users that were affected can get $4.50 in Station Cash. The cap on this category is $4 million, and if claims exceed that amount, all users will have deposits reduced proportionally to accommodate the group. 

The settlement also has a provision for identity theft protection reimbursements of up to $1 million for the group. If you can evidence that your identity was compromised due to the breach, you can submit a claim for up to $2,500.

There are also stipulations for those that had unused wallet currency and did not use it because of the intrusion (due to account lapse or deactivation). Additionally, there are mechanisms to reimburse Qriocity music service users that were paying at the time.

Attorney fees are covered in the settlement, and the many firms involved will be paid $2.75 million. We’ve reached out to Sony for comment and will update should we receive a response.

[Source: United States District Court (1), (2) via Polygon]


Our Take
The court order means that in the coming months, you should be receiving something in the mail that will allow you to claim your benefits under the settlement. You'll want to move quickly so as to get your filing in before the groups reach the cap.This is an interesting turn of events, ending the tale of one of the most memorable cautionary tales in recent video game history.