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RUMOR: Security Breach an Internal Job After SOE Lay-Offs?

Sony cut one third of its online division days before the massive security breach, leaving many to wonder if this was an internal invasion. The Agency team, and many other divisions, were let go, and in this economy, that may not be taken lightly. Take a look at the dates and times, as posted by, after the jump.

Sony Online Entertainment Slashes Hundreds of Jobs, Shutters Three Studios
8:57 PM 3/31/2011 by John Gaudiosi

Sony Online Entertainment has closed three of its game studios and laid off 205 workers as part of a massive restructuring.

All possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern.”

“SOE will transition development efforts for the Denver and Tucson studios’ suite of products to its San Diego headquarters in order to better position SOE to remain a global leader in online gaming and deliver on its promise of creating entertaining games for players of all ages and servicing the 20 million players that visited SOE servers in just the past year,” the company said.

Sony Online Cuts Staff By a Third
April 15, 2011, 12:08:32 PM By Rick DeMott

Sony Online Entertainment has laid off a third of its staff, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The move means 205 employees will lose their jobs and the company will shut down offices in Denver, Tucson and Seattle.

Wikipedia History Timeline on SOE

On March 31, 2011, SOE has confirmed that “it will eliminate 205 positions and close its Denver, Seattle and Tucson studios.” Production of The Agency has also been discontinued.

On April 27, 2011, Sony, the parent company of SOE, released statements regarding an intrusion, on or about April 18th, into the PlayStation Network, and the potential theft of up to 77 Million subscribers personal data. Sony maintains that PSN and SOE are hosted and run on completely separate subsystems and that the PlayStation Network intrusion had no major affect on SOE’s online services.

On May 2, 2011, SOE completely interrupted their online services. Over the previous month several intrusions of PSN have caused the developers to post messages of concern and apology, but also assurances the SOE servers and systems were not compromised. This most recent development has shut the service down entirely with the message: “We have had to take the SOE service down temporarily. In the course of our investigation into the intrusion into our systems we have discovered an issue that warrants enough concern for us to take the service down effective immediately. We will provide an update later today (Monday).”

When all is said and done, we will find out how this all came to be, but I share this with you as there is some comfort in knowing it might have been an internal breach. I’m certain the Agency team wasn’t very happy as well.