PlayStation 3 system update 3.61 available now, 'phased restoration' of PSN begins today (update)

Ladies and gentlemen, your PS3 may technically be able to connect to PlayStation Network now, but we're not through the woods yet -- today, Sony is issuing a mandatory System Update (v3.61) which will prepare your game machine for that magical day when the company actually throws the switch. In the meanwhile, Sony says the update will prompt you to change your PlayStation Network password, which will likely rank among the easiest decisions that you've ever made.

Update: Sony's just announced that a "phased restoration" of PlayStation Network and Qriocity is beginning today, and that online gaming, Music Unlimited, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and MLB.TV should rolling out right now in Europe and North America. Watch cool cat Kaz Hirai deliver the good news in a video after the break.

Update 2: Sony's got a map of the US up, and will be lighting up individual states -- check out our more coverage link to get a rough idea of when you'll be able to play. The company also says it plans to have PlayStation Network fully functional by the end of May. PR after the break.

Update 3: The restoration is beginning now: we're seeing Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and California.



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