Updated: Sep 7, 2021
After several months of downtime, the LittleBigPlanet servers remain offline. However, there is evidence that the LittleBigPlanet servers are still being worked on and may be returning sooner rather than later. Let's talk about recent updates from the developers, LittleBigPlanet's newly uncovered security certificate, brief server uptime, and a mysterious new error code.
A Quick Recap...
On May 22nd, the LittleBigPlanet servers were shut down after transphobic and hateful messages were spread using script abuse. We discussed how the LittleBigPlanet team could prevent this from happening again in our article about how to Fix LBP.
However, despite this roadmap of how to get the game in working order, the servers are still not back yet. It's clear that there is more behind the scenes that we cannot yet understand, it may be best that we don't understand it. The less that we know, the less likely that the server abuse will continue.
Many online have begun to lose hope of the servers returning. However, there is a great deal of evidence that shows that the LittleBigPlanet developers have not given up and are continuing to work to bring online features back to our favorite game starring Sackboy.
Brief Server Uptime
On July 2nd, our bot Agent Washington began monitoring the status of the LittleBigPlanet servers once per minute on our Discord server. Over the course of the past few months, Agent Washington has detected several instances of server uptime. The most recent incidents were August 4th and August 10th. During these incidents, the LBP servers were online for 60 seconds or less. This suggests that the servers are still being worked on by the developers.
On August 4th, the servers were online for 60 seconds or less at 4:08 AM EDT.
Then, on August 10th, the servers came online four separate times for 60 seconds or less each.
Both of these recent incidents suggest that the servers are still being worked on. Although it's unknown what these brief periods of uptime were caused by, some speculate that they were in fact tests. A slightly longer incident occurred on July 28th that lasted for four minutes. You can learn more about the server status history with our Server Status Dashboard.
New LBP Server Security Certificate
According to Alkaline Thunder (aklnthndr), lead developer of the strategy game Socially Distant, the LittleBigPlanet servers have a new security certificate.
A security certificate helps guarantee privacy for users when connecting to a website or web service. This new security certificate was issued on August 6th, 2021, and is valid for two years. This certificate follows the server uptime incident that occurred on August 4th, and prior to the incidents on August 10th.
The fact that this certificate exists at all is evidence that Sumo Digital continues to perform maintenance on the servers, but what does it mean?
LittleBigPlanet Error Code 0xffffffff
Some users online noticed on August 11th that the notorious 'error code 403' no longer appears when attempting to connect to the servers on LittleBigPlanet 3. Instead of displaying the 403 message, it displays LBP error code 0xffffffff.
The following gets a little technical, so bear with me!
This error code does not seem to appear in LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2. However, Undying Star on our Discord server demonstrated that it does appear on LBP Vita as well.
This sparked my curiosity and led me to approach Aklnthndr about the issue. 0xffffffff is a generic error code that Aklnthndr describes as the 'maximum DWORD value.' This is a bit more complicated than I'd like to get for this article, but basically just know that the 0xffffffff doesn't really mean much in context of LBP. Practically speaking, it doesn't mean anything. The game is saying that it has no idea what's wrong.
In Aklnthndr's words, " 0xffffffff translates to negative one. -1 is generally the 'something went wrong ¯\_(ツ)_/¯' error code."
"This new security certificate is most likely purposely not trusted by the game right now," Aklnthndr explains. "This may be why the error code isn't 403." I agree with him. An error code of 403 implies that the game got a return code from the server, meaning that it was able to connect but continued connection was refused. However, a 0xffffffff code implies that a return code wasn't found at all! This may be because the certificate isn't trusted by the game like Aklnthndr says.
In other words, imagine a lock and key. Sumo Digital changed the lock on the door to access the servers. Since you don't have the right key, you can't get in. When Sumo Digital wants to let you into the game again, they just have to change the lock back to the old one.
Security Certificate and August 10th Server Uptime
Aklnthndr suggests that the brief incidents of uptime on August 10th may have been related to the new security certificate.
"They generated a new cert for the server," Aklnthndr explains. "It's possible that on August 10th they tested to make sure it worked."
We originally believed that this meant that a patch would be necessary to get users online again. "To get the servers online with this new certificate, they will have to roll out a client update to change the trusted certificate authority that's inside the game's binary," Aklnthndr wrote previously. This would mean that they will have to deploy a new patch for the game that will tell it to trust the new certificate to allow the game to use online features.
However, this is unnecessary. Once Sumo Digital is ready to let people access the servers again, they'll just have to change the security certificate to one that is trusted by your PlayStation.
Client Patch and Mods
It's possible that modders might be able to play the game even while it's down for maintenance by forcibly adding the security certificate to their PlayStation. Although this might be possible, we strongly recommend against this as it could impede the progress of Sumo Digital's maintenance.
So, Why Are the Servers Still Down?
We still aren't sure why, but Aklnthndr weighs in on this. "Updating the certificate might be an extremely clever anti-hacker move." Now that the developers can test the servers without allowing everyone to go online, they can get more work done at a faster pace than they could before. We might be seeing the servers go back online very soon!
Official News from the Developers
On August 11th, the LittleBigPlanet Twitter made this response to LBP-Hub, a German LBP fan community:
Alongside all of the evidence earlier in this article, it's clear that the LittleBigPlanet team at Sumo Digital is still hard at work to bring back online service to our favorite UGC video game!
So, What Can We Do?
The best thing you can do is continue showing your support for LittleBigPlanet on social media. You can also continue to enjoy the game with others even while the servers are down. Feel free to post creations that you have made in our forum!
You can also continue to keep up to date with the LittleBigPlanet server status by checking our our Server Status Dashboard page and joining our Discord server for live updates. We recently reached 800 Discord server members and Level 2 Discord Nitro perks!
Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting LittleBigPlanet and the LBP Union! Please share this article if you found it helpful and leave a comment and a like on the page as well!