Gamers' offline misery stretches into second day

(From Microsoft)

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ATLANTA (CNN) — Sony's PlayStation networks were still down Friday after an alleged hack on one of the busiest gaming days of the year. Xbox, meanwhile, is mostly up, but some functions are limited, according to their service websites.

Sony's official PlayStation support Twitter account posted at 2:30 a.m eastern time, "Our engineers are continuing to work hard to resolve the network issues users have experienced today. Thanks for your continued patience."

But based on the overall sentiment expressed in the comments posted to message boards and on Twitter, the collective patience among PlayStation users is offline as well.

"@AskPlayStation has been tweeting that for hours now since last night," user christopha710 posted on Sony's PlayStation 4 support forum. "I'm getting rid of this piece of trash and going back too [sic] pc gaming"

"Totally not cool," allenjaelee said late Friday morning. "I've tried so many times and am unable to play."

"This is so frustrating," wrote calin75. "The hackers think they're hurting Sony, but the ones that really pay for this bull crap are the innocent users."

Hacked again?

A band of hackers called Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was "smacking" the two systems, apparently one of several attacks it took responsibility for in December.

CNN cannot confirm the identity or claims of the group nor has PlayStation acknowledged them — or even that it may have been the victim of a new hack for that matter — and Xbox spokesman Sean McCarthy told CNN that "we don't share info on the root cause of specific issues."

On our behalf, we would like to apologize to those who had to experience the misfortune of being harassed by these kids. Criminals Never Win. FinestSquad will always find a way to take you down and take legal actions.

–The Finest's statment on website

So while little is known about the group whose Twitter profile reads "Next generation Grinch. Cyber terrorists labelled as a matter of national security," based on the spelling of "labelled," its lingua franca appears to be the proper Queen's English of the UK. (Either that, or they are better hackers than grammarians.)

Self-proclaimed hackers taunt gamers on Twitter

Lizard Squad relentlessly taunted PlayStation gamers Friday by making seemingly arbitrary and capricious demands via Twitter in order to stop their attack.

Whether it was "Go like our Facebook for (PlayStation's network) back," or "Eveyone [sic] report (a Twitter user) and I'll turn psn back on," or quite simply "Rt for psn," the demands were also hollow, as the network remained down even if the eager gamers it claimed to hold hostage followed through.

A ray of virtual hope came to the online gaming community came early Friday morning on the East Coast after Internet titan Kim Dotcom let out a cry of celebration to his nearly 400K Twitter followers:

"I'm online playing #Destiny on XboxOne now. Lizard Squad must have stopped the attack," he posted at 3:45 a.m. ET.

In negotiations that played out on Twitter hours earlier, Dotcom bribed Lizard Squad with the offer of vouchers from MEGA — the file hosting service he started — to relent.

"Thanks @KimDotcom for the vouchers—you're the reason we stopped the attacks," @LizardMafia tweeted. "@MegaPrivacy is an awesome service."

"Thanks @LizardMafia for stopping attack on XBOX Live & PSN," @KimDotcom's verified Twitter account responded. "Let everyone play with their Xmas gifts. Your Mega vouchers have been approved!"

But if Lizard is actually behind the attack, it appears to have welched on their deal to relent and never attack PSN or Xbox networks ever again — since the network was back down Friday morning.

Stupid coincidence?

The network downtime started just hours after Microsoft's Xbox video store started to stream the Seth Rogen comedy "The Interview." The movie was made by Sony Pictures, a sibling of Sony's PlayStation division.

Sony was the victim of a massive cyberattack in late November that was widely believed to be motivated, at least in part, by North Korea's anger over "The Interview," which depicts the assassination of the country's leader Kim Jong Un.

But there was no indication that Thursday's problems were in any way connected to the movie's digital release. Other participating distributors of the movie, such as YouTube, were unaffected. And PlayStation is not participating in the release.

A Sony Pictures spokesman deferred to PlayStation for comment about the outage..

CNN's Steve Almasy, Brian Stelter and Tony Marco contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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