Update: You can now use our LBP Server Status Dashboard to check if the servers are up as well as see the latest news and updates from the developers!
LittleBigPlanet’s online community has been a bit of a tumultuous place recently. With intermittent server outages since Saturday, March 6th and rumors of malicious hacking running amuck, it’s no surprise that I’ve heard the common expressions, “LBP is dying” or “LBP is dead.” What’s worse, even though the servers had returned for a short period of time in May, they’re back down again.
You may already be ready to point fingers about what’s going on. Hold on just a second and hear me out, because there are far better things we can do as a community for LittleBigPlanet than to cast blame and give trolls the attention they want.
Let’s talk about the recent server outages and what might be causing them before we come to the conclusion of whether or not LittleBigPlanet is dying.
On Saturday, March 6th, 2021, Twitter users noticed that the LittleBigPlanet servers were experiencing some hiccups. I myself attempted to log onto LittleBigPlanet 2 to host a mech battle tournament match when I was unable to access my Earth, Community page, and any published levels. However, I was still able to play with other people on my friends list.
Many players started to see an error that read, “A problem occurred when attempting to connect to the LittleBigPlanet servers (403).”
As the days went on, many noticed similar circumstances which led to uproar on Twitter:
@StevenIsbell what is happening to the lbp servers? me and my friends can't use any online features.— Dream (@YourMomDream) March 6, 2021
@StevenIsbell @LittleBigPlanet Hello! The LBP servers might be down. Trying to do something online on LBP3 results in a infinite loading screen. I go to Social and it says I have no friends. Cannot publish a level. Could you look further into this?— PorkchopGMX (doing online school) (@PKCPx_) March 6, 2021
#SaveLBP and Official Response
With no official response, LittleBigPlanet fans erupted on Twitter with a new hashtag, #SaveLBP, in an effort to gain recognition about the issue from Sony and the LittleBigPlanet team. The hashtag trended with over 3,000 tweets as of March 12th. As of April 28th, the hashtag had accrued 16,000 tweets.
After six days of radio silence, an official Sony Twitter account, @Sony_XDEV responded with the following tweet on March 12th:
An hour later, Sumo Digital, the developers of LittleBigPlanet 3 and Sackboy A Big Adventure also gave a statement:
The @LittleBigPlanet servers have been taken offline whilst we investigate some technical issues. The team are hard at work and the servers will be back online as soon as possible.— Sumo Digital (@SumoDigitalLtd) March 12, 2021
Steven Isbell also eventually responded with his own tweet on the branded @LittleBigPlanet Twitter account, including the #SaveLBP hashtag in the message:
It’s clear that the servers, for whatever reason that they may have needed to be taken offline, are being worked on by Sumo Digital, Sony, and the LittleBigPlanet team. Check out our article about the server return timeline.
The day after the server outages began, rumors began to circulate on Twitter that a LittleBigPlanet user had tampered with the servers in a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. What is a denial-of-service attack, and is it hacking?
Denial of Service Attacks
Denial of service attacks overload a server with information to slow it down to a crawl for users like you. A distributed denial of service attack took down PlayStation Network for some time in August 2014.
Many do not consider DoS attacks to be hacking because these kinds of attacks generally do not exploit a distinct system vulnerability. They are similar to another term that you may have heard of called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The main difference between DoS and DDoS is that DoS uses one computer and DDoS uses multiple.
What Is an HMAC Key?
According to Twitter rumors, the individual supposedly responsible for the intermittent LittleBigPlanet server outages utilized an HMAC key to gain access to the servers and overload them with information, but what is an HMAC key?
A Hash-based Message Authentication Code (HMAC) is like a house key for an Internet server. It allows you to do some things that only administrators should be able to do. In this case, it is alleged that a user was able to obtain the LittleBigPlanet server HMAC and use it for malicious purposes in a DoS attack.
Is It True?
Without comment or explanation from LittleBigPlanet Community Manager Steven Isbell on Twitter, it’s difficult to say exactly what’s going on with the LBP servers. With rumors circulating about malicious activity and no other given explanation, anxiety and worry has set in for a great deal of the LittleBigPlanet community.
However, it’s important to remember that this is not necessarily true. Although it has been alleged that a user was responsible for the LittleBigPlanet server outage, it has not been proven. With Discord chatlogs and screenshots circulating Twitter, the ‘evidence’ can appear overwhelming.
It has been confirmed that malicious activity was responsible for the most recent server shutdowns, as script abuse was the reason that the developers gave for shutting them down in late May.
Media Literacy and LittleBigPlanet Rumors
It’s important to utilize a valuable tool called media literacy to analyze information on the Internet, especially during the LittleBigPlanet server outages. It’s important to consider the following questions when analyzing rumors about LittleBigPlanet:
- Who created the content?
- Why did they make the content?
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the author doing to try and make the message credible?
- Was anything left out, and why?
- How did the information make you feel?
The origin of the rumors, which I will deliberately not link in this article, may have had good intentions. Perhaps my skepticism is wrong, and the rumors are true! However, we cannot know for sure. The chatlogs that were provided can be fabricated or edited, both text-based logs and screenshots.
I’m not calling people who support the rumors liars, but I urge you to consider what you are reading with criticism. As of the writing of this article, there is no definitive answer for what is causing the LittleBigPlanet server outages.
The reason I am reluctant to link to the tweets related to the rumors is that they identify a single person as being responsible for the LittleBigPlanet server outages. Whether or not these rumors are true, it’s important to consider that this individual may have wanted to become infamous. Talking about them and referring to them as the hacker that ‘took down LittleBigPlanet’ will only gratify their actions.
It’s important not to publicize these kinds of actions because it can encourage people to continue to stir up trouble.
BlazingVictini uploaded a video about the situation which has achieved over 4.8 thousand views so far. I encourage you to view ‘the end is near’ with some criticism, as the LittleBigPlanet team has heard the outcry on social media and is doing what they can to resolve the issue!
What Do We Do Now?
Without any answer for what’s causing the LittleBigPlanet server outages and when they will be properly restored, it is unclear about what lovers of the game ought to do. I’d like to make some suggestions.
The most important takeaway is a question you should ask yourself: even if the rumors are true, are you going to let one person take away all your joy and passion for LittleBigPlanet? Even if the servers are down, even if Steven Isbell won’t make a statement, even if hope seems hard to come by, we can still stand together and enjoy our favorite game!
Play With Friends Online
Back in March, there was an interesting problem that occurred that prevented players from being able to access their Earth and community levels, but they were still able to play with others in multiplayer in online create mode.
Conflicting reports have made me curious; what #littlebigplanet online features do you currently have access to? I'm also curious if down-time depends on region and time of day.— Michael Youngling (@m88youngling) March 11, 2021
This is likely due to the fact that the HTTP side of the servers was too slow due to malicious activity. However, even though the HTTP side of the server was down, the peer to peer multiplayer side was still available. You can read more about this in our other article.
Back Up Your Profile
Although your offline save data stored by your profile is not affected by server outages, it’s always a good idea to routinely back up your LittleBigPlanet profile to safeguard against profile corruption. This is especially true for LittleBigPlanet 3 players who may experience save data corruption more frequently.
Share Your Creations on Social Media
While the LittleBigPlanet server outage continues, I highly encourage you to post photos and videos of your creations online via Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Be sure to hashtag it with #LittleBigPlanet so that others can find your content on the web.
Let’s show the world that we still care about LittleBigPlanet! If you’d like to support the LBP Union’s pro-community campaign, hashtag it with #SaveLBP!
Share This Article
I encourage you to share this article with your friends on social media to bring them up to speed with what’s been going on with the LittleBigPlanet servers. There’s a lot of misinformation going around right now and it’s important to set the record straight.
So, Is LittleBigPlanet Dying?
The answer is up to all of us. LittleBigPlanet server outages shouldn’t stop us from enjoying our favorite game together. Let’s Get It Together! Join in on the conversation via the LBP Union’s Twitter and Instagram and come hang out with us on Discord. Thank you for reading!