May 24th has come and gone, and as every PlayStation 3 owner knows, the PlayStation Store still hasn’t come back online. When PSN went down for maintenance on Tuesday, Sony’s Jeff Rubenstein re-assured PS3 players that the company was “still targeting” restoration of service by the end of the month. Recent developments suggest that they may not achieve that goal. The question is, how much longer will PlayStation 3 owners have to wait for the return of the PlayStation Store?

In a statement on the European PlayStation Forums, Sony delivered the news that the PlayStation Network will once again be undergoing maintenance next week. That maintenance is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 31, at 19:00 GMT and run until Wednesday, June 1, at 1:00 GMT. According to the statement, PC registration, the console storefront, PS3 account management, PS3 Network account registration, PSP Network account registration, and Qriocity account management will all be unavailable.

Does word that PSN is due for another dose of maintenance signal that the PlayStation Store is nearly ready to return? Could it be ready and waiting at the conclusion of the maintenance period? It remains possible, though Sony themselves have not in any way indicated that that will be the case. Unfortunately, a recent tweet from Atari makes such a return sound significanlty less than certain.

Atari’s Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale released to the Xbox Live Arcade on Wednesday of this week. PlayStation 3 owners are undertandably curious as to when they might get a crack at the game, though the answer may not have been quite what they expected. From Atari’s twitter account:

“This just in… looks like Playstation Network is not gonna be ready for #Daggerdale release on 5/31. Stay tuned for more details today”

As of this writing, no further details have been revealed. Still, if the PlayStation Store was going to be ready mere hours after the scheduled PSN launch of Daggerdale, it seems likely enough that Atari would have mentioned it. As Capcom stated during the PSN outage, that situation cost publishers millions in revenue. The continuing absence of the PlayStation Store can’t be helping, even with a partial return of PSN.

How much more maintenance will be necessary before the PlayStation Store can return? Sony appears to be keeping publishers aware of the situation, though that may not be much solace to players. As the last major step in restoring PSN, the re-launch of the PlayStation Store has got to be Sony’s primary focus right now. Whenever it finally does take place, let’s hope it goes off without a hitch.

When do you think the PlayStation Store will return? Will it be up before the start of E3 2011? Let us know in the comments below.

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Source: PlayStation Forums [via PlayStation LifeStyle], Twitter [via Joystiq]

tags: PS3, PSN, Sony