Technology

Sony offers PlayStation Network apology package

Cover image for Little Big Planet
Image caption Litte Big Planet is one title being offered to PS3 gamers for free as part of a 'welcome back' pack

Sony has begun offering PlayStation Network gamers incentives to return to the system following its major hack attack.

The compensation package includes a selection of free games and additional days of premium content.

The plans also include a 12-month free identity protection programme.

The protection will be available for PlayStation gamers in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

It will offer victim of fraud support, a dedicated helpline and insurance covering expenses incurred in identity restoration.

Details of how to apply for protection can be found on the PlayStation blog. Users must be over 18 and have been an account holder on 20 April 2011.

In a press release, Sony said it will "investigate the possibility of similar programmes" in other countries.

Free games

So far, the announcements have been met with mixed response in the Playstation community.

Many gamers complained the games offered were too old, and that the package was "disappointing".

However, senior PR manager for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) Jonathan Fargher told the BBC it represents a good offer.

"Clearly there's going to be a minority of people out there who have some of those games.

"We certainly believe the welcome back programme and the choice of games that we're offering, for free, is good value."

He added that it is the first step in regaining the trust of PlayStation users, with more plans being announced soon.

In a blog post, SCEE head of communications Nick Caplin told PS3 gamers that they could pick two games from a list of Little Big Planet, Infamous, Wipeout HD/Fury, Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty and Dead Nation.

PlayStation Portable users, who were also affected by the downtime, could choose from Little Big Planet PSP, ModNation PSP, Pursuit Force and Killzone Liberation.

"I would like to thank all of the developers and publishers involved in this programme for their support in making this happen. We certainly couldn't have done it without you," Mr Caplin wrote.

"You will be able to access this content once PlayStation Store comes back online and we are doing everything we can to make that happen as soon as possible."

In addition to the free games, users were also offered 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership which offers premium content not available to free users.

Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive 60 days free.

Users on the Sony Online Entertainment network - another affected by the hack - will receive their own package of 45 days of game time as well as in-game currency.

Old games

The gaming community's reaction to the PSN package has been mixed.

"I own all of the five games I can choose from and have finished most of them," commented user Arkeologen in response to the announcement.

"Isn't there any way you can offer alternatives instead of these old games?"

However, on the US PlayStation blog, commenter WhizKid105 said: "Jeeze Sony, I know you're sorry, but you don't have to welcome us back that hard.

"Not that I'm complaining or anything."

Oli Walsh, from Eurogamer.net, believes the compensation package is "fairly generous" given that the PlayStation Network is a largely free service.

"They are old games, but they're all good games. The risk is that if you're a real passionate fan you've probably played them already," he said.

"I think it was a very difficult one for them to get right. I'm not sure there is something that would satisfy most people."

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