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    PlayStation Network restoration process is a go — in phases (update: North America is online)

    PlayStation Network restoration process is a go — in phases (update: North America is online)

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    While everyone braces for the potential monthiversary of PlayStation Network downtime, Sony has given us a rather tangible bit of good news. According to the official blog, mandatory firmware update 3.61 is now available for download. What's it do? Glad you asked — and to answer, not much on the surface. The update will require you to change your password (smart, smart) and I'm assuming some other behind-the-scenes code to prepare for the restoration. As for when that is... well... we still don't know. I hope the weather's been nice in your area, and / or you've found a new hobby. Need another way to bide the time? Here's a timeline of the PSN security breach.

    Update: Well, wouldn't you know it? The PlayStation Network restoration process has begun! The process won't be instantaneous, however, as Sony will be launching it in phases. You can watch the US map here (no map currently available for Europe) to see if your area has been given the go-ahead. The current phase applies to online gameplay and services (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and, friends list, chat, PlayStation Home, and more. (Nothing involving payments — that's for another day.) The Welcome Back offerings have not yet been detailed. Kaz Hirai has a video he made just for you — it's after the break.

    Update 2: The first phase has been revealed (as of 10:14PM ET), and it's the northeast US — New York, New Jersey, Main, and everything in between. Sony warns that it can take some time for the servers to populate fully, but fear not, these regions are getting Portal 2 multiplayer soon.

    Update 3: As of about 3AM ET last night, the entirety of US and Canada were lit up on PlayStation Blog's restoration map. (Say it with me now, "finally!") The European side said it would post updates on the @PlayStationEU Twitter handle, so keep an eye out there.