It has been a long time coming, but it looks like Sony is getting ready to finally roll out two-factor authentication for its PlayStation Network services. The company confirmed the news to Polygon, saying the step is being taken to better "safeguard our users and their accounts."
The Sony representative didn't offer up an exact date for when the feature would go live, saying more details would come at a later date. Two-factor authentication is a much more secure method for keeping accounts safe than a password alone. Usually, two-factor authentication requires users to input their account login information (like an email and password) alongside a generated code that is sent via text message or generated through an app.
For many PSN users, the news is long overdue. The announcement comes exactly five years after a massive 2011 PSN hack exposed the personal and financial information of more than 77 million users. Eventually, the company would be found at fault for the data breach, and required to pay out $170 million to customers affected by the hack. The hack brought down PSN for a total of 23 days, while Sony investigated issues and fixed its network. PSN is used across all of Sony's gaming consoles, including the PlayStation 4.
Since then, it's been relatively smooth-sailing. Considering PSN's history and the fact that rival game services like Xbox Live, Blizzard's Battle.net, Valve's Steam and EA's Origin service already use two-factor authentication (with some of them having done so for years), it feels like Sony is definitely late to the party on this one. Xbox, the PlayStation's biggest rival, has used two-factor authentication since 2013. Hopefully, the addition of two-factor authentication and Sony's newfound efforts to protect user data will mean a data breach like the one in 2011 never happens again.
PSN was recently taken down for maintenance during a period of two hours in order to pave the way for the two-factor authentication. Now, it's simply a matter of waiting for Sony to roll out the feature for all users in the coming weeks. In other news, Sony recently shut down the PlayStation MVP program, which gave certain members of the PlayStation community exclusive access and prizes in exchange for organizing community events.