UPDATE: It would appear that the issue is, as suspected a PSN one which is resolving itself. When I logged back in this morning my friend list has returned and I am no longer ‘Billy no-mates’. We’ve had reports of numerous fixes that can be attempted (from changing your availability status and signing out and back in again to PSN, to the more extreme PS3 database rebuild), but (in my experience at least) these are not necessary. We’ve also been informed that this was in fact not just a UK and Ireland issue, with users in the wider EU and US impacted; still no official comment from Playstation EU to us though. Tell us about your experience in the comments section!
ORIGINAL: PS3 users in the UK and Ireland are currently flocking to Twitter to complain that their friend list has disappeared; I’m one of them… The problem is not total as several people in the UK on my list are currently online without any issues and can see me signing in and out repeatedly, as I hope the problem will miraculously fix itself when I press the matter.
Some people are supposing in online forums that this is related to GTA V and the recent 1.04 patch; my personal feeling is that this is a PSN issue, and the fact that many people have been playing the world’s best selling game of all time when it’s happened is a staggeringly plausible coincidence. The recent debacle surrounding the shaky launch of GTA V has left it open to criticism that it might not have otherwise received if all had been plain sailing; if MI6 suggested it could launch WMDs within 45 minutes, I would expect war to be declared on R* at the moment. That said, being a professional scientist I reserve the right to have my hypothesis disproven.
We have reached out to Playstation EU for an official comment.