May 17, 2011

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Sony’s “Welcome Back Package” Isn’t for Loyal PS3 Gamers

Sony’s “Welcome Back Package” Isn’t for Loyal PS3 Gamers

Just yesterday Sony announced their “Welcome Back Package” to compensate customers for the PSN outage and any inconvenience the outage caused. If you haven’t already checked out what Sony is offering, you can read about the entire package here. While some PSN gamers will be happy with what is being offered, a long-time PS3 owner such as myself might find the compensation a bit underwhelming.

I understand that Sony didn’t have to do anything to compensate PSN users, seeing as it’s a free service, but since they decided to, one would have thought they would have done a bit more than offer games that most long-time PS3 owners already have. Let’s look the games being offered.

Dead Nation- a great PSN title; a game everyone should own and probably already does. The game was critically acclaimed when it was released, and gamers voted it as the PSN Game of the Year. Because of this, in March the game was offered at a 30% discount (50% off for PSN+ members). So I’m assuming if gamers didn’t get the game on release date, they definitely got it during the sale.

inFamous & LittleBigPlanet- inFamous released in 2009, while LittleBiPlanet released in October 2008. Both are great titles, and LBP has become a system seller. inFamous has a sequel coming out next month, and LBP 2 (which arrived in February) is amazingly better than the first title. Both of these games are old at this point, and even if you never played LittleBigPlanet, with full backwards compatibility in LBP2, there’s little reason to go back to play the original. I’m guessing most gamers already have these titles as well.

Wipeout HD & Super Stardust HD- Super Stardust HD was released in 2007 (yeah, exactly, another old title), and in 2008, was the first official title to receive trophy support. It was already one of the best PSN titles out at a time when there weren’t that many titles worth buying; add trophy support to it, and it’s safe to say that most PS3 gamers already have this title as well. Wipeout HD was released in 2008 and was also critically acclaimed. Though it was one of the most expensive downloadable titles, many gamers still flocked to buy it. Then when PSN+ launched, this game was the first offered for free to members who joined during the first few months. Again, this leads me to think that many PSN users have this game already.

Without even going into the PSP titles (first-party games that most PSP gamers probably already have), I can’t help but feel that Sony is looking to bring in the more “casual” PSN users with this compensation package. Maybe it’s more of a logistics issue, seeing as most of these are first party titles, but honestly I don’t feel like I’ve been compensated at all.

I own or have played all of these games, and I assume most “hardcore” gamers have as well, so I’m not feeling the love here, Sony. Why not instead of offering me two games from that list of old games, you give me $20 to spend on whatever I want in the PlayStation Store. Seems like a win-win for every gamer out there. At least with the credit, I can spend it on the Black Ops map pack or the Back to the Future games; you know, titles that are at least from this year. Being a PS+ member, the 60-day extension is nice, and really I expect to be compensated, because I do pay for that, but just an extension, really? You don’t want to, oh, I don’t know, let us keep one game we downloaded through the service? For those who don’t know, if you get a free game via PS+, you can only play it so long as you are a paying member, which means those who get 30 days of PS+ for free (as part of the Welcome Back program) only get 30 days to play that PSN title.

While a good amount of gamers on the PlayStation Blog are thankful for the games offered, there are still those who are asking the question “What about those of us who have these games already?” I can’t blame them, cause I’m one of them. Hey, Sony, what about us hardcore gamers who have these games? You know, the gamers who support you? We can’t help but feel left out of this whole “compensation” thing. Maybe I wouldn’t if they offered games that were at least from last year, but all but one is basically in the Greatest Hits section by now.

In my opinion, this is Sony trying to find a way to compensate people in the easiest and cheapest way possible. Although I don’t think Sony had to offer anyone other than PS+ members any compensation, seeing as they knew they were going to have to, one would think they would keep the loyal PS3 gamers in mind. This doesn’t feel quite as bad as the ads shoved in my face every time I sign onto Xbox Live (when I pay for the service), but none the less it still feels like a slap in the face. No one can blame Sony for what they had to go through, but I can blame them for not thinking about the gamers that support them the most.

What do you think?  Should Sony have offered more options in their game choices, offered newer titles, or perhaps some other compensation?  Or should we gamers be happy enough to have PSN restored and to receive any free games – regardless of what they are?  Let your voice be heard in the comments.