With PlayStation Network service quickly being restored in many parts of the world (most Canadian gamers were back online as of Sunday), Sony has moved into the making amends phase of its recovery plan following last month's data theft that left the personal information of tens of millions of gamers exposed.
The North American arm of the Japanese game giant released details Monday night concerning the much anticipated "welcome back" package offered to gamers who had been registered PSN users as of April 20th, 2011. The package, copied below as it appears on U.S. PlayStation blog, includes free games, free services, free movie rentals, and more. Read on to find out what you might be entitled to.
Based on comments from outraged users that have appeared on various online forums over the last few weeks, it's clear that there is nothing that Sony can do to restore trust in all of its consumers. Some people have simply lost faith in the company, and the only thing Sony can do to win back their trust is prove that it takes the responsibilities that come with handling a consumer's personal information seriously. That will take years of demonstrated security and transparency, and may, in the end, never be enough for some people.
However, for those who simply want to get back online, who have taken the proper precautions, changed their passwords, and, if they felt obliged to do so, replaced their credit cards, this seems like a fair offering. Sony is extending an olive branch on which rests free games worth between $10 and $60, limited free access to its subscription services, and even some movie rentals.
Granted, the games aren't new releases, and the services and movie rentals on offer are worth just a handful of dollars each, but remember that Sony is a business. It can't give away the farm. This is about as much as most people could have reasonably expected from Sony's "customer appreciation program."
More importantly, it's a gesture that shows Sony understands how badly it screwed up, and that company executives know they have work to do to win back the loyalty of the gaming community. So long as these execs get that the work doesn't end with a package of freebies, they're on the right path.