Honestly, the downtimes/maintenance or whatever it is has had zero impact on me in the past few years. I am not a multiplayer person and I only renew my membership for a short period of time when I see games on offer that I wish to try out. Rarely have I run into a problem doing that. But I can see why it would frustrate people who are heavily invested into multiplayer games and purchase annual subscriptions. I don't see Sony ever reducing its prices so the only thing one can suggest is a better investment of funds when it comes to creating a solid network.
Being honest here, am I affected by it? To some degree, yes. But am I affected enough that I want to game on PC or on Xbox Live instead? Nope.
Every network infrastructure will have downtimes, maintenance periods and whatnot, it's just bad that Sony seems to have more of it than the rest.
I will say though, when the PSN is down, people are quick to judge or say that online gaming should be free. I mean, would I want online gaming to be free? Hell yeah! But it's not going to happen, no matter how much we complain.
At this point, I think Sony's network woes are significantly spotlighted more due to what happened to the PSN years ago, and how it seems to be the favorite for DDoS attackes.
At the end of the day, I can choose to game another time, or play with my single-player games until the service is back up.
You'll be hard pushed to find such an extensive network that supports so many things simultaneously remain perfect 100% of the time. Blips in the service shouldn't be news and shouldn't be taken so harshly, they're a fact of any internet service, even Netflix has maintainence and blackouts!
The network usually goes down during the day on a work day, so I never get affected. That being said, I honestly think both the PSN and Xbox Live have made huge strides since first releasing and while I would say that Live was better than PSN last gen, right now they are neck and neck.
The network was down? it's a question that I repeatedly ask every time I see another "PSN is Down" article. These down times hardly ever impact me, and I do a lot of online gaming. I'm very curious how many people would even notice that the network was down if it wasn't announced all over the internet. My guess is that nine out of every ten people that complain about how terrible they think Sony's network is are not actually impacted by the network being down in any way.
I'm in a similar boat in that I don't usually find myself affected by the outages. That's not to give Sony a free pass when it comes to handling the outages and/or maintenances, I just don't believe you can jump from seeing the "we're aware that some PSN users are experiencing connectivity issues" message to decreeing the entire PlayStation Network is a shambles. Same goes for Xbox Live.
Suspiciously, the downtime always occurs during the hours in which I usually game, quickly turning a planned evening of multiplayer shooter action, into a solo session on an indie title or RPG.
Sure it's annoying, but it would be even more annoying if every game demanded players be online to play, even while playing alone. Thankfully, this is not the case!
More information on issues would be nice, though, instead of the usual copy and pasted spiel Sony currently pump out.