PlayStation Network: Customer Appreciation Program Review- Solid, But Underwhelming
We analyze the details of Sony's Welcome Back program, including what it means for PSP owners.
After nearly a month of downtime, Sony managed to restore select areas of its PlayStation Network, much to the delight of fans itching to download games and enjoy multiplayer matches online with friends.
While that alone is excellent news, the publisher took things to another level with the Customer Appreciation program, which includes a helping of free content that'll presumably go a long way to mending fences with disgruntled PS3 and PSP owners.
That said, the program falls short where it counts the most: free video games. Sony will let PS3 and PSP users download two free titles for both platforms, from a list that would have been impressive months (perhaps years) ago.
Here's the breakdown:
Dead Nation (released in 2010)
inFAMOUS (released in 2009)
LittleBigPlanet (released in 2008)
Super Stardust HD (released in 2007)
Wipeout HD + Fury (released in 2008)
LittleBigPlanet (released in 2009)
ModNation Racers (released in 2010)
Pursuit Force (released in 2006)
Killzone Liberation (released in 2006)
New system owners clearly benefit the most, since they probably don't own any of these games. As for the rest of us, both lists are average, at best. Whereas the PS3 section includes five games, Sony shortchanged PSP owners with four, two of which debuted five years ago. To that point, there's Pursuit Force, but not its sequel, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice.
Meanwhile, there's no sign of newer games, including Patapon 3, God of War: Ghost of Sparta (relatively new, considering PSP's release calendar) and Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip.
It should go without saying that Sony should have made its entire first party catalogue available, with PSP fans choosing two. Bottom line, we've already played these games and have no interest in downloading them; same thing with the PS3 selection.
As for the rest of the program, Sony will offer 30 free days of PlayStation Plus (an additional 60 days for current subscribers), an unspecified weekend of free (and select) movie rentals, 100 free PlayStation Home items and 30 more days of Music Unlimited service for the free trial and paid subscription packages.
We've yet to meet someone that uses Music Unlimited, and those movie rentals could be disastrous. With this in mind, the best part of the deal is the 30 free days of PlayStation Plus, since it gives you access to discounted/free content, including games.
At the end of the day, something's better than nothing, and letting folks download the newest games over a 30 day period would've essentially crippled sales of those games moving forward; hence two games from 06.
That notwithstanding, there's little here that interests us. A good step in the right direction, but nothing to get excited about.
At least with PSN back online, things can go back to normal.
Final Score: 3 (out of 5)