Playstation may find themselves the subject of some serious criticism over the next few months following emerging cases of Playstation Network (soon to be renamed the Sony Entertainment Network or SEN) users experiencing extreme difficulty when downloading the newly added Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 titles to their machines, as well as other select PSN titles.

The issues began after routine maintenance left users in the UK and Europe unable to access their previously purchased content. According to many online forum posts and complaints threads on the Playstation Help Site, many customers who had purchased digital content encountered error messages and corrupted installations as a result of problem downloads from the Playstation Store.

As one of those who fell for the trap of buying Mass Effect 2 and 3 via the PSN for the serious price of £69.98, partly due to the sheer amount of hype generated regarding its new availability via the PSN, the resulting inability to access the content and a distinct lack of response from Playstation does leave the end user feeling a little disenfranchised.

A senior moderator on the Playstation Support forum revealed earlier today:

“”I’m being told that the cause of the problem has been identified, but a resolution has yet to become available.””

Users are warned that if they wish to experience BioWare’s Mass Effect series or any other PSN titles unhindered, they would do well to buy the material disc, instead of taking a potentially large financial risk, as cases of lost records of purchase have also been permeating the support forums. It seems as though the PSN is not yet sophisticated enough to contend with the industry leaders such as Steam and other PC based Direct2Drive concepts, who offered customers a pre-order deal which allowed customers the opportunity of downloading the game in advance. Many PS3 users have commented that the speed of domestic shipping is on average quicker than a successful digital download on account of Playstation’s lacking content server speeds.

Although many users have reported spontaneous solutions to their issues, this information alone is not a sufficient reason to rekindle my interest in using the Playstation Store in the future. With many new titles exceeding the 10GB mark as standard in size, digital downloads, unless provided at a satisfactory speed, will never be a satisfactory replacement for a material disc release.

Sources: Sony Support Forum, Playstation Network Support,