Poor Sony. In addition to rebuilding the Playstation Network and enduring weeks of well-deserved criticism for letting hackers through its defenses, the company faced one more unenviable task: creating a “Welcome Back” package that will actually pacify customers.
The result is rather generous. Playstation 3 users get to choose from two of the following: Dead Nation, inFamous, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD and WipeOut HD + Fury. PSP users get two games from another list: LittleBigPlanet for PSP, Modnation Racers, Pursuit Force and Killzone Liberation. Everyone gets a free weekend of selected movies, 30 days of Playstation Plus (or 60 if you’re already a subscriber) and 100 free items in Playstation Home. Music Unlimited users get 30 free days.
I assume most people are mainly interested in the free games, which make up the bulk of the retail value in this apology package. And while I have a hard time faulting Sony for giving away so much — the PS3 package has a maximum $60 value — I also can’t shake the feeling that Sony’s best customers are getting a raw deal.
After all, Infamous and LittleBigPlanet are both popular Playstation 3 exclusives, which means a lot of PS3 owners are going to own one or both. Wipeout HD was one of the original, high-profile offerings in Playstation Plus, Sony’s VIP membership that includes free games and other perks. So if you’re an avid Playstation fan, you might be stuck with two other games whose combined value is $23 — less than any of the other individual games in the selection. The games themselves are fine, but they’re much smaller in scope.
But again, it’s hard to complain about free stuff without sounding like a brat. To me, the best way Sony can make up for lost time is by returning with a more reliable and secure network, and adding new features that customers have always wanted. I’m pretty sure that if PSN got cross-game voice chat in the next few months, Sony’s biggest customers would instantly forgive and forget.