It's still possible via the web, as said above but not really explained. Same way old dynamic signatures worked. PHP or similar code to parse the page's HTML, and then have it display on your own page/image. This relies on that specific server status page being up and available. Alternatives to "downtime" of the sony website are solved by saving the status in a database.
A bit much just to see which servers are up, but possible, and not very hard either.
If you dive into the source code of the network_status.vm, you can see the explanation text is found in the <span> with the class "server_status_partial" and the down servers in "server_status_down". There may be other cases, which can be found by looking at it when servers are down/up.