Published: 22.30 Europe/London, May 1, 2011

During a press conference in Tokyo on Sunday, May 1, management of Japanese electronics maker Sony Corporation apologised to users of PlayStation Network (PSN) services in connection with the mass leakage of their personal data and a possible loss of the credit card database.

Three top managers, including the head of PlayStation unit, Kazuo Hirai, apologised at the head office of Sony, bowing in traditional Japanese style.

Sony also announced they will “shortly” begin a phased restoration by region of PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, beginning with gaming, music and video services being turned on. This process is expected to start sometime this week.

The company also announced both a series of immediate steps to enhance security across the network and a new appreciation programme to thank its customers for their patience and loyalty.

According to Sony, there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, but added that the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.

However, unconfirmed newspaper reports suggest that indeed 2.2 million credit card details have been offered up for sale for an amount exceeding $100,000 (€68,000).

Sony will also rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity Welcome Back program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.

Central components of the “Welcome Back” program will include each territory being offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon. All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service. Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.