Sony Corp. this week said it will begin a phased restoration of the Playstation Network division May 15.

The restoration will be on a country by country basis beginning in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Middle East.

Restoration includes sign-in to the Playstation Network and Qrocity division, including password reset; restoration of online gameplay across the PS3 and PSP; playback of rental video content; access to third-party services like Netflix and Hulu; Friends functionality, and Playstation Home.

The company said it has implemented new and additional security measures, including updating and adding advanced security technologies, additional software monitoring and penetration and vulnerability testing, and increased levels of encryption and additional firewalls.

A mandatory installation of Firmware 3.61 is now available to begin the restoration process.

“I’d like to send my sincere regret for the inconvenience this incident has caused you, and want to thank you all for the kind patience you’ve shown as we worked through the restoration process,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation.

“I can’t thank you enough for your patience and support during this time. We know even the most loyal customers have been frustrated by this process and are anxious to use their Sony products and services again. We are taking aggressive action at all levels to address the concerns that were raised by this incident, and are making consumer data protection a full-time, company wide commitment.”

The company expects to have service fully restored by the end of May.

Access to the Playstation Network and Qrocity divisions has been crippled following an external intrusion that compromised consumer data.

Sony in Feb. began sale of the Playstation 3 160GB Killzone 3 Bundle at $299.99.

The PS3 is sold in a 160GB SKU at $299.99 and a 320GB SKU at $349.99.

Playstation Move Console Bundle includes the PS3 320GB SKU, Playstation Move Controller, Playstation Eye, and Sports Champions at $399.99.

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