tl;dr version--input your ISP's DNS servers manually into network settings. I bought the game on launch day. Ever since then, if my networking cable is plugged in, the game would hang at the opening screen, then come back a few minutes later saying it couldn't connect to the server. It did it again when entering the main menu. I can sign in to PSN, update to 1.03, and play other games online (just not GT5). This seems to be a consistent problem with some portion of the playerbase, and there is no word on the issue from Sony/Polyphony. My temporary fix was to disconnect my ethernet cable so that it times out right away. Of course, you can't play online then or share cars. The problem is definitely not server overload, as some threads have assumed. It happens too consistently for it to be server lag. The problem is the local network and how the game is implemented. It also doesn't appear to be a port forwarding/DMZ issue. What I found was that my router (a Linksys WNR3500 running DD-WRT firmware) was giving itself as the main DNS server. Either something is broken with the way I configured DNS on the router (though I haven't had any DNS problems elsewhere), or GT5 doesn't like a local DNS server for some reason. Interestingly, even though my router was giving itself as the primary DNS, it was sending my ISP's DNS servers as secondary. If the primary DNS doesn't work, it ought to automatically fall back to the secondaries. Solution: go to network settings, and go through the network setup in custom mode. Let the machine pick up everything else automatically (like you probably do now), but override the DNS settings manually (you should be able to get this info out of your current router config, or ask your ISP). With my router's IP out of the DNS list, I was able to start the game and get the "Online Agreement" popup at the start and move through the menu normally. So there you have it. Thanks go out to Google, which let me track down forum threads in many different places before I was able to find something that worked. No thanks to Sony and Polyphony, who seem to be completely mum on this issue.