The time has come to acknowledge the most significant event to happen on the Playstation Network, the great hack of 2011. To sum a very long story into a very short synopsis, hackers have exploited weaknesses in Sony’s Playstation Network to gain access to free downloads. In response to this attack Sony shut down the PSN to repair and strengthen its network security. Sony has decided to redesign its infrastructure and as a result the network has been down for over 2 weeks and counting. Since this was an extended delay and information has been hard to come by, Sony has made the announcement that it will provide a “welcome back” promotion for all effected users and that is what I want to specifically address.
The details of the package are still being worked on but this much has been provided to the public so far. Non-Playstation Plus (PSPlus) members will receive 30 days of PSPlus for free. All Playstation Plus members will receive an addition 30 days of free service. Qriosity members get an addition 30 days free service. They also mentioned that addition content will be made available to everyone depending on the region you live in. Those details will be provided at a later date. Now this sounds pretty good right? Well I have some issues with this right off the bat.
First, if you want to know why this isn’t a good deal you need to know how Playstation Plus works. PSPlus is a service that gives you free PSN titles, PS Minis, A theme, an episode of Qore and a few avatars every month. You usually get one or two sets of content each month. Occasionally you’ll get early access to demos or other small perks but that is about it. The whole catch to the PSPlus program is you only get to keep everything you downloaded if you stay in the program. Once you opt out your content can not be accessed. So for 30 days all those non-PSPlus members will get a nice perk but if you don’t keep up the service you are right back to square one. The only way I would say this is a good idea is if they get to keep whatever they download permanently otherwise this is just a cheap way to boost memberships to PSPlus.
The other problem I have with this is what they are doing to PSPlus members. If you already have PSPlus chances are that you are a big fan of Sony products and services. I am sure that most of those PSPlus members signed up in the beginning and are already getting an additional 3 months free. With that said, I am sure that most of those members are going to use continue their membership. I say this because PSPlus was offered as a one year plan or a 3 month plan. Users have had the opportunity to take advantage of the 3 month program so anyone curious or didn’t like the service is probably not a member now and I would say a majority of users are the people that opted in, in the beginning. So how is this helping out anyone already subscribed to PSPlus? You’ll never see this free month that they are offering and it essentially renders this perk useless. I would have much rather seen additional free content for those that were loyal from the beginning. Instead they do less for those that love Sony and perk all the skeptics. To me that is just bad business and this really isn’t a way to welcome back the super users of your service.
The specific game they are going to give everyone has not been announced yet so I am not going to comment on it but for everyone hoping this is going to be a good game I wouldn’t count on it. Sony has already lost a ton of money with the Playstation Store being down, paying all their network engineers overtime to redesign the network from the ground up, and paying the 3rd party firms to come in and diagnose all the problems. With all these losses I would be surprised if Sony would then offer a 3rd party game and pay for all the downloads it will get. I think it is much more likely that Playstation will release a 1st party game for general download. Chances of this being a new game is fairly low as well so don’t be surprised to see Flower or flOw.
To be completely honest I don’t think Sony owes us anything at all since none of us really sustained any damages. The PSN is free to use and even if you did pay for PSPlus you can still download all you want when it goes back online and not skip a beat. I think its great that Sony wants to try and “make things right” with its customers but I think they can do a better job just based on the announcements they made. I really hope that the downloads they are going to offer people meet up with expectations but at this point even that seems difficult to achieve.
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