Security experts have attempted to estimate the cost of the ongoing PlayStation Network security scandal to Sony, with suggestions ranging from around $20 million to $24 billion.
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter, speaking to website Shacknews, suggests that PSN generates around $10 million in revenues and $3 million in profits per week. The service has already been down for over a week now.
However, Pachter's estimate does not take into account indirect losses from reduced customer confidence in the service and nor does he address the question of legal compensation. In his opinion though: "If they offer some free stuff and continue to follow up, this will all be forgotten in a few months."
According to data security research firm The Ponemon Institute, as quoted by Forbes, the average cost of a data breach involving a criminal act is currently $318 per record.
Forbes suggests that with 77 million registered accounts worldwide this creates a potential cost to Sony of over $24 billion.
US streaming video service Hulu has already offered subscribers one week's credit as a result of the service downtime, with website Kotaku reporting that Sony Online Entertainment will offer a range of special events and compensations this weekend for titles DC Universe Online and Free Realms.
In related news, reports suggest that Sony is asking developers to install new SDKs (software development kits) on their PlayStation 3 development kits during the PSN downtime.
According to Gamasutra the new SDKs include advanced security features, meant to avoid any repeat of the current problems.