In the wake of a declaration of war from the Internet hive mind Anonymous, Sony now concedes hackers could have been involved in recent outages - just as the hacktivist group announces it will back off from such attacks.
"We are currently investigating [the network instability], including the possibility of targeted behavior of an outside party," a Sony spokesperson told Gamespot.
"If this is indeed caused by such act, we want to once again thank our customers who have borne the brunt of the attack through interrupted service. Our engineers are working to restore and maintain the services, and we appreciate our customers' continued support. "
Originally, Sony put outages on its websites and PlayStation Network services down to maintenance.
In the meantime, Anonymous has apparently decided not to pursue DDOS attacks on Sony servers.
"We realize that targeting the PSN is not a good idea. We have therefore temporarily suspended our action, until a method is found that will not severely impact Sony customers," a post on the group's news site announced.
"Anonymous is on your side, standing up for your rights. We are not aiming to attack customers of Sony. This attack is aimed solely at Sony, and we will try our best to not affect the gamers, as this would defeat the purpose of our actions. If we did inconvenience users, please know that this was not our goal."
Anonymous has suffered negative press over its anti-Sony operations, after reports of operations targeting Sony staff's families. Multiple statements from Anonymous representatives have apparently sought to clarify misunderstanding of the organisation's structure, in that the activities of individuals and cells canot be taken as indicative of sanction from the entire hive.
Sony is said to have engaged the services of anti-DDOS firm Prolexic to counter Anonymous's earlier activities, although this has not been confirmed by an official representative.
Anonymous has Sony in its sight over the company's suit against hackers GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo, considered responsible for the proliferation of custom PlayStation 3 firmware allowing pirated back up games.