Lolocaust Gets Opinionated: The Sony ‘Welcome Back’ Package

Hello. We are from the Internet and we *love* to complain about things. Everything and anything in fact, so when Sony offer free games in an attempt to placate the furious users who suffered inconvenience as a result of the attack and subsequent data theft, and who may or may not have had their credit card information stolen and sold to unscrupulous criminals. Of course we can’t accept free stuff at face value. But then maybe we are correct to complain… 

For all the arguments about the lacking security measures that Sony had adopted prior to the attack it is important to remember that this was not something that Sony wanted, at all. Instead it has cost the company a huge amount, share prices have taken a hit and the company’s reputation is at an all time low. So when the company makes a peace offering it would have to be well-considered and thoughtful.

The problem lies in the fact that while offering good quality titles Sony have essentially offered games that most users would already own. This is where the main bone of contention lies for many folks.

Let’s have a look at the list shall we?

PS3 owners can select two games from this list:

  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Infamous
  • Wipeout HD/Fury
  • Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty
  • Dead Nation

PSP owners can select two games from this list:

  • LittleBigPlanet PSP
  • ModNation PSP
  • Pursuit Force
  • Killzone Liberation
(It’s worth noting that US customers get Super Stardust HD instead of Quest for Booty, and the German market have a couple of changes as a result of the draconian rules there)
So not a bad selection of games, but one could argue that the best results come for those who have not bought/downloaded games in the past. These folk are not the fanboys, the platform supporters whom have been most inconvenienced, instead it rewards people for inaction, for lacking support. I personally have all but one of the titles on each list as a result of a) wanting to own games of quality and b) having paid for a PS+ subscription package. As a customer who has owned the platform for a good few years and bought pretty much every major platform-exclusive title I feel that the Welcome Package doesn’t offer me anywhere near enough in the way of compensation, (that said I wasn’t expecting much more than a couple of PSN mini/classic titles anyway).
On the flip side of the coin, my partner has had a PlayStation account for two years and not used it at all, she watches Blu-Rays, uses the catch-up television channels and on occasion will probably play a little bit of Lemmings. She, essentially, could now choose anything and it would be new, but she doesn’t want anything. If you are interested in LittleBigPlanet it would be almost impossible that you have never bought it.
So, long term platform supporters don’t want/need the games on the lists, the long term platform owners, who don’t care much for gaming aren’t bothered about them, so who exactly benefits?
The new console owner.
If I was to have bought my console on the first of April this year I would now be rubbing my hands together as I awaited the opportunity to download some games for free. Games I hadn’t already played, bought or owned. I would be getting the wealth of choice from Sony and I would feel pretty fucking amazing about it, and I would still deserve compensating, obviously, as I had still bought the machine, but I would simply have a better selection from which to select from.
So the simple situation stands that we are all ‘entitled’ to the same games, pretty fair in theory, but those whom have championed the PlayStation as a gaming platform are simply treated less well than those Johnny-Come-Lately types who have just got one now that games are cheaper and the system has been changed, again.
Personally I think that the offerings are fair, they do represent the best – sort of – of first party software titles that are available, without getting into the risky territory of giving away a very recent title. Imagine the rage if they gave everyone a copy of GT5, “I PAID £40 FOR A BORKED GAME AND NOW IT’S PATCHED AND BETTER THEY R GIVING IT AWAY!!! OMFG!!!”
I don’t think that offering the PlayStation Plus service for a month, for free, is anything less than marketing opportunity gone wild, but it still sits in a bundle and complements it quite nicely, but then what titles are they going to add to this ‘free’ month? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the ‘free’ month comes bundled with a ‘best of’ the last year of PlayStation Plus titles. I hope that’s not the case, for obviously nepotist reasons but it would make no sense to give a free month to ‘everyone’ when the paying subscribers have to, well, pay. Oh, naturally we get a month to cover the month we paid for, but as subscribers – and by extension, platform championing Sony-supporting-types – we don’t actually get any compensation specific to ‘us’.
With the PSN now blocked by officials in Japan (and possibly Australia) due to on-going fears for the long-term security Sony have in place and America getting more compensation than the rest of the world, in the form of free movie rentals/downloads – again – I think that it is highly justified to feel a little irked by the somewhat lacklustre offering for the genuine platform supporters.
I would have personally have preferred a three option system:
  1. The current ‘Welcome Pack’ – This was already titled perfectly to be tailored to new customers and would go a long way towards ensuring that new customers have faith in Sony as a whole.
  2. One year’s free PlayStation Plus membership – Value-wise this is pretty much on a par with the Welcome Pack, and as you don’t get to keep the titles if the membership expires this would still generate income, longer term, while giving platform supporters a better, fairer option.
  3. Email voucher code to offer money off of an upcoming first party release, in conjunction with retailers. This would allow people who buy ‘everything’ at launch to still get some form of compensation. PlayStation Plus is often giving away older titles that some may own already, and the welcome pack would definitely be inadequate to these users, but a voucher would allow Sony to offer something ‘new’ whilst also ensuring that retailers get Sony custom back after the reported issues with trade-ins on consoles/multiplayer-centric games.
These options would have, in my honest opinion, covered all bases while not compromising the integrity of the service or the company.
Shame my opinion doesn’t count then.

3 thoughts on “Lolocaust Gets Opinionated: The Sony ‘Welcome Back’ Package

  1. I have to agree that the free month on PSN+ is clearly nothing but a marketing strategy as for those of us that have no interest in buying a membership will be left with nothing after a month

    As for the games however i’m actually pretty happy for the PS3 I only own Little Big Planet so I’ll def be getting my copies of Ratchet and Clank and Infamous (Just need Sky to hurry up and turn my internet on)

    1. Well today saw the first throng of PS+ freebies, and they aren’t too bad.. Burnout Paradise and Pain in there – these are separate to the Welcome Back pack – which represent some other top flight games, regardless of age.

      I think it’s still more generous than I expected Sony to be, but I still fear that the actual die-hard fan-boys won’t really care, as long as they have their online gaming back… they should care. They should be pissed off but most aren’t… it’s odd. I haven’t really been inconvenienced by the outage, and I will get some form of benefit, but I’m more annoyed by Sony’s stance on the issue than most Sony fans… Brand loyalty?

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