It Seems Sony’s Welcome Back Pack Doesn’t Suit Everyone

We’d been offline for well over three weeks, the PSN’s downtime giving many gamers chance to catch up on some single player stuff (or, of course, defect and jump onto other ships) but over the weekend things started to grind back in life, culminating in a stuttering restart on Sunday and everyone (except Japan) back online Monday.  It’s been an odd few weeks, people generally feeling a bit left in the dark but hopeful that Sony would get everything fixed and we – the loyal gamers – would get rewarded.

Well, yesterday evening the various territories announced their Welcome Back packs – a selection of PS3 and PSP games that PlayStation gamers could opt for, once the Store’s back online.  Whenever that’s going to be.  Were people happy?  Well, despite the games being offered generally being pretty good titles, the general concensus around the internet (and from 11 pages of comments here on TSA) is that Sony’s most loyal gamers are feeling a little bit hard done by – mainly because they’ve already bought most, if not all, of the games listed.

– ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW –

Let’s take a look at the European options, then.  First up, the PS3 games.  We’ll be able to pick two out of the following five: LittleBigPlanet, Infamous, Wipeout HD, Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty and Dead Nation.  Now, we don’t know about you personally, but that’s really not a bad selection of games.  You’ve got the wonderful (albeit slightly dated now with the superior sequel) LittleBigPlanet, a massive third person action game in the shape of Infamous, one of the best racing games ever created with Wipeout HD (and the Fury add-on), cute platformer Quest for Booty and top down zombie blaster Dead Nation.

Really, what did you expect?

We’ve seen comments around the net from those that had already bought all five complaining that there’s nothing in there for them – but these are popular, high scoring games, so anyone regularly buying them would have already got them – that’s going to be the case whichever five titles Sony picked.  And of course they’re all first party titles, we’d imagine the logistics and licensing behind trying to secure third party titles would have been a nightmare, not to mention the physical restriction of having to ensure the games were available to download from the Store, you’re not getting Blu-rays here.

The PSP selection’s equally strong: LittleBigPlanet is great, ModNation Racers is one of the most rounded games on the platform, Pursuit Force is an oldie but worth looking at, and Killzone Liberation’s a decent enough filler for anyone looking for more Killzone, albeit third person and top-down.  Again, all first party, all downloadable, and – yes – if you’re a hardcore Sony fan you’ve probably already got them.

But what were Sony supposed to do?  Offer credit for every account?  Even if it’s just £20 – a rough figure pulled from approximating the value of the above games – that’s over one a half billion pounds, hardly realistic in anyone’s eyes, right?  Could they have offered newer games?  Certainly – although Dead Nation’s recent enough the others are a little dated now, but we weren’t ever going to get LittleBigPlanet 2 (it’s still selling) and inFamous 2’s just around the corner, so presumably Sony thought a refresher with the first game might have been a good idea.

Warhawk, though, should have been on there.  With Starhawk announced and hype at an all time high, securing the first game would have ignited interest and got people talking about Lightbox’s 2012 offering.  Why it’s not on there is anyone’s guess, licensing, perhaps – who knows – but swapping the third person multiplayer shooter for the rather short Ratchet and Clank episode might have swayed people’s minds a little.

And if you have got all five games (and the PSP titles) then at least there’s 30 days of PlayStation Plus to keep you going – but hey – let’s hear your opinions…

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

199 Comments

  1. I was going to send in a guest writer article on this… stole my thunder!

    Sony last night unveiled their “Welcome Back” program, including a list of five games that PS3 owners can pick two from for free, Sony’s way of saying sorry for the whole PSN outage debalce that users have expereinced over the last month.however, this generous offer has been met with cries of dissapointment from some corners due to the games on offer, especially from early adopters of the Playstation Plus service such as myself. InFamous and Dead Nation have been titles offered to us at discount recently, while Little Big Planet and Wipeout HD have been freebies. That leaves us with a list of one, Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, which many will also own as it’s a little dated.

    Playstation Plus subscribers are, generally, loyal Sony customers happy to pour money into Sony’s coffers in order to support their various services and titles. Nick Caplin, Head of Communications for SCEE tried to argue that the titles on offer are generally well received, stating, “The average metacritic rating for these games is over 84%, so these are high quality games”, which while true should perhaps suggest that these titles will already be owned by a lot of their customers, especially those who have demonstrated a willingness to support Sony financially.

    We’re rapidly approaching the point in time where those of us eager to sign up for twelve months of Playstation Plus will be looking at a renewal. There will be more than a few questioning whether to leave their card details saved, thus allowing the automatic re-up. A small token gesture from Sony, towards these customers, could go a long way towards retaining those subscriptions. I’m sure the thirty days of free Playstation Plus to everyone portion of the “Welcome Back” package will yield some subscriptions for Sony but the potential loss of long term “core” customers and early adopters could be catastrophic.

    So, how can Sony fix things? I’m not in the camp of some who are calling for PSN credit for all (I’ve seen calls for a sum as high as £50, I mean come on!), it would simply cost Sony millions and that doesn’t help at all. Instead, how about a sixth option of a discount on the next store purchase. We Plus customers are the most likely to spend money in the store, so why not offer us a blanket discount of say 10% as a gesture of thanks for our patience and continued support in these trying times? Or perhaps a discounted price on renewing our Plus sub, as long as we don’t take advantage of any of the free titles on offer? You lock in our business for another twelve months and put a smile on our faces at the same time.

    • Thumbs up, totally agree!

      The choice to use LBP and Wipeout is close to an insult against the PSN+ customers. I understand it’s properly not easy to come up with games, they can give away free, even if they are from their own devs, but still the choice to give away specially LBP wasn’t very wise.

    • I didn’t realise so many of the games had been Plus discounts/freebies. That does make this a bit of a slap in the face for the most loyal customers.
      They should have had some kind of special loyalty deal which gave users with 4 or 5 of those games access to a something a bit more special.

    • I’m happy, Wipeout HD and Ratchet & Clank are 2 games that I know are good, but I’ve never owned them :) (I have the others on disc)

      I seriously don’t know what people are expecting, these games have all been successful so it’s less of a hit for sony to give them away free of charge, but, anything where new money is involved, they need to be careful, the 30 days of free plus subscription is a big enough gesture, that’s a lot of money in itself.

      I mean the only other option is for them to send every PSN account holder a 60″ 3D tv with 7.1 surround system, and a brand new gold plated slim lime PS3…but even then someone would moan…”I don’t like gold…why couldn’t they have made it platinum”

      ;)

    • Asking for credit or a general discount is just ridiculous. What du you expect;: that Sony is going to pay – let’s say – Activision for thousands of CoD map packs that are bought with that credit/discount?

      • Yes.

        Sony should be trying to offer something of approximately the same value to us as what they lost for us.

        So if a criminal walks up to you and asks to buy your personal information and your password (hashed but still brute forceable), thow much would you have asked for it? An average of That figure should be the basis for what they offer as compensation for losing our details.

        (For the mild inconvenience of PSN being unavailable the 30 days of plus is more than adequate, if that had been the only issue)

        I don’t get the people that think “poor Sony, this will cost them so much, boohoo”. The thing is it should hurt them financially, a lot, so much that it would have been cheaper for them to implement sufficient security (like they say they are doing now) in the first place. They are a corporation and their decisions are driven by profitability, the rules and regulations should be made in such a way that real security is more profitable than broken security.

      • Bladesteel said:
        “So if a criminal walks up to you and asks to buy your personal information and your password (hashed but still brute forceable), thow much would you have asked for it? An average of That figure should be the basis for what they offer as compensation for losing our details. ”

        That’s absurd. Ridiculous. Are you trolling? Did you even give this any thought?
        Nobody would ‘sell’ their details, and to actually expect Sony to reimburse the ‘average’ value of what people might think some abstract idea is worth (their name, address, and phone number, basically) is… yea. You must be a troll, because your post makes zero logical sense.

      • Ignoring Bladesteel’s question as I don’t really like it either. The rest of his/ her point still stands. This should cause serious financial harm to Sony as it could cause serious financial harm to their customers. People may well trot out that they are giving us free ID protection for a year, but I would like to keep my name and D.O.B for decades and not hav eto be concerned that some unscrupulous individual or group holds my details.

      • @affa

        I know the question isn’t directly answerable, because most (sane) people wouldn’t sell their details. The purpose of the question is to make people think, but if someone can come up with a good answer then I’d be interested to read it.

        “You must be a troll, because your post makes zero logical sense.” Then so is most everyone else in this thread because discussing if the offer is good enough makes zero logical sense without a price tag on the damage caused.

        Still this discussion is littered with people calling anyone that’s unhappy with the compensation greedy, and saying that expecting sony to lose money on this is unreasonable. Without somehow attaching a value to the data that is lost any discussion (about whether people are greedy or the compensation is not enough) is meaningless.

        Speaking for myself I’ll take their offer and hope this whole mess ends up costing enough that going forward they, and other companies, spend the extra bit on security instead of risking anything like this. (I don’t want anybody bankrupt or jobs lost, but I do want board members cursing that they can’t get that new sports car because profits are down)

      • @a inferior race – If you want to keep your name and DOB free for nefarious characters, keep it off the net. There are always risks.

      • @Bladesteel – There’s a difference between not agreeing with someone because you don’t agree, and then there’s your argument, which is quite frankly absurd. The criminal analogy is pathetic and not even remotely similar. Despite all of the rumours, it seems Sony had adequate protection that in hindsight obviously wasn’t enough but sufficient enough for the law.

        As for attaching a ‘value’ to the data, let’s say one hour. That is how much time I’d give a hacker to find out everything that was compromised in the hack. Not really that long.

      • @djhsecondnature

        Which part of my argument was absurd (or all of it) and why? Does it not make sense to need to know the value of something before discussing what the compensation for losing it should be?

        As for your proposed value: So if it takes five minutes to steal a car then the value of that car is five minutes? That’s not absurd? I don’t think that way is used anywhere else in society. I know of two common ways to place a value on something: How much those that have it would need to give it up willingly, and how much those that don’t have it are willing to pay.

        My opinion that the security wasn’t sufficient isn’t (and never was) based on rumours floating around (I don’t believe someone bragging on irc or a forum makes something true) but on the fact that it was broken. If the security was broken then it wasn’t sufficient, and that Sony are now implementing extra security proves that they didn’t do everything possible before the breach.

        Unfortunately without knowing the exact details of how they got broken into (and I expect we never will) I can’t decide if I think their security was reasonable or not, and am left with the very black and white assumption that since it got broken it wasn’t.

        You also say that it was “sufficient enough for the law”. You may be right, I don’t know what the law requires and that’s not what I or anyone else (that I’m aware of) is discussing.

    • I agree totally. Active PSN purchasers and PSN+ subscribers are the ones that should be welcomed back (after all it’s probably our encypted credit card info sat on some hackers computer waiting to be brute forced) yet we are the ones that aren’t really being welcomed back at all.

      Take me for example, I have already rebought Infamous when it was available as a digital download, obviously have LBP as a plus subscriber and have bought all the games from PSN apart from Dead Nation which looked like a poor mans Burn Zombie Burn so I didn’t bother buying it.

      Where is my welcome back Sony? Why should someone who has had their PS3 for 2 months get more out of your “welcome back” than me who’s been on board since release day spending money in the store?

      Am I being punished twice here? Not only is my personal details sitting on some nerds computer waiting to be exploited, I am also being insulted by your offer which excludes anyone that has been a loyal customer of your store.

    • Agreed, PSN store credit is a ridiculous suggestion, but the Welcome Back programme should have taken into account everyone accordingly.

  2. The point is, if they offered small minis that less people are likely to have people would have moaned, seems sometimes you just can’t win.

  3. I think this is a great selection of games. I personally own 4 of the 5 games, but I’ve wanted Dead Nation since it’s release and am really happy about getting it for free.

    As was said on the EU Blog, with 77m users worldwide, Sony aren’t going to have a selection of games that pleases everybody! But they’ve chosen 5 really great games and are offering them to their customers for free, as well as a month of PS Plus…

    They didn’t HAVE to offer free content. They could have just said “Right, the PSN is back on, thanks for waiting”, and not given away anything…

    • I own four of five too, I’m quite happy to receive the one I don’t already have. Added to that, I’ll be able to trade in my copy of inFamous if I’m going to have a copy sitting on my HDD.

      People really need to get a little perspective.

      • I’m in the same boat with 4/5 and Infamous the only one on disk. Have to trade it in quick before the market gets flooded.

        The deal is good, but should not have included Wipeout and LBP due to previously being “free” in Plus.

      • A fair point, but then they are both pretty decent games. In fairness I already had both on disc before I joined Plus anyway.

    • The downside of that argument is that everyone who signed up tih correct details could be affected and that means that any form of compensation should be offered to everyone.

  4. I’m very happy. There were always going to be some people who would moan about it – Sony wre never going to please everyone. They’ve made a great gesture here and I’d like to think even if I had all the games on the lists I’d be happy enough with 2 extra months of PS+

    I do think the one month of PS+ for non-subscribers is a bit cheeky though. Anything half-decent is gonna stop working for them after the month is up, so seems like a hollow offering to me just to try and boost PS+ subs.

  5. Absolutely great offer. As far as I’m concerned the games all have a decent value be it play-wise or value. I say this and I have them all except Infamous which I have on disc. So really I’m not getting much, the option to finish Infamous from my HDD is enough though so I’m happy, plus I get 60 days ps+ free.

    I do agree though that it’s a shame, as it always is with anything like this, that the most loyal fans who have invested the most money into the brand, get the least. I also think it was a slight over-sight to offer games that have already been given away to PS+ members, who haven’t even finished their first years subscription. I’d prefer an option as you say to add an extra month or 2 to my subscription instead of the other game, both have a roughly equal value.

    • but your not getting 60 days ps+ free you are only getting 30 days as we missed almost 30 days of our ps+ subscription to start with.

      • To be honest, you aren’t missing any content due to the long outage. You had the possibility to download/buy the content of April (until the 20th) and now you get the possibility to download/buy the content of May, albeit for only the 13 days that are left. So, we get compensated with two extra months of content instead of just one.

  6. I’m in the mind of perhaps they should have given a few more options… I personally have both LBP ( due to my PS+ sub and Wipeout ) I also have none of the PSP games on offer. Evreything is fine and dandy othewise.

  7. I don’t have LBP and Infamous on disc so I don’t really mind… but yeah Ratchet over Warhawk for me. Its still alive so why not try and boost the number of players?

  8. Personally, I’m happy with it, as three of the game available for PS3 I haven’t bought, son I’ll gladly take it.

  9. I can understand why they can only have Sony exclusives, but there are plenty other options out there. It’s not just about the age of the freebies, it’s that at least three were so well promoted and hyped that most people already have the games. A few others on the list would have been welcome (Pain, SSHD, Warhawk, High Velocity Bowling…). Some games where we’ve thought “I’d like to have given that a go, now’s my chance”. As for the 30 days of PS+, to me, that just feels like it’s their chance to entice me to spend cash, that doesn’t feel like a way of apologising to me.
    On the flip side of the coin.. it’s still better than a kick in the teeth.

    • Out of curiosity, what are the rest of the ‘plentiful’ options?

      • lol 3rd line – (Pain, SSHD, Warhawk, High Velocity Bowling…)

      • I was thinking of the wider selection of PS store games, the games that have not been as well known, but still good fun. Off the top of my head (without repeating myself) I can think of Warhawk, Super Stardust HD, Pain, PixelJunk Eden and High Velocity Bowling. I’m not saying it to flame Sony, I just think it’d be nice to have more variety, and also show users what variety there is on the store.. not just games you own on Blu-ray already.

      • @DeathByNumbers – So complaining about the games chosen but wanting to replace it with games older and cheaper? Great choice :-p

        Also, four options doesn’t count as ‘plenty’.

      • @djsecondhandnature – it has nothing to do with the age or financial value. Not to me anyway, also when there are 5 options adding another 4, an 80% increase, could easily be considered as ‘plenty more options’. I don’t have warhawk, I don’t have MAG. I just want something I don’t have, regardless of what it is. 5 things I already have is 0 things.

        I’d like to see them reward ‘loyal’ customers with a 1-3% of their total store spend for the year account credit to spend on what they like. We’d soon see who the ones who support Sony with their wallets are, compared to those just wanting something for free and complaining about the age or financial value of the content. As I previously said I’d be more than happy them offering another 30 days PS+ in place of one of the titles, that way it’s one game and 90 days total for me. And between 30 and 120 days for everyone else.

    • That’s why I said “It’s not just about the age of the freebies”. ;-) There are good store games out there that may have slipped people by, why not list them too as people may already have the more popular/advertised ones.

      • ..But OK, maybe not ‘plenty’! :-D

      • :-p Just heard people asking for other Sony games yesterday. Point is, for full releases, there aren’t many that are on the PSN already. Kind of the best available was offered.

      • then maybe it shouldn’t be juts full releases, I’d rather take 3-4 psn sized games out of a selection of, like, ten than the current deal which is, for me and probably plenty of others, dead nation and one game you already own

      • @eye8have9you3 – If they’d offered PSN games then even more people would be complaining.

      • Although i already had/have 3 of the 5 (& wouldn’t actually want one of them), i think what they have offered is actually pretty decent.

        I am baffled why Warhawk was not offered over Ratchet & Clank though – Surely raising awareness/hype for this one ahead of Starhawk was a bit of a no-brainer no?

  10. I haven’t bought any of them, because none of them interested me enough at release to do so. But as long as they’re free then I’ll be picking them up. Sony could have offered more methods though, like others have suggested a discount or maybe throw some PS1 games into the mix. But what the hell, you’re getting free stuff for a free service, and even if you have the games listed you’re still getting plus free for a month. Get on with it.

Comments are now closed for this post.