Sony is making good on its promise of a "Welcome Back" program now that the PlayStation Network is semi-operational again. The company has announced a selection of free games that will be available via the PlayStation Store soon, and surprisingly there are some real winners on the list. The cynical side of me had assumed that the company would offer up a free download some other underwhelming title, but Sony has actually gone the extra mile here. Via the PlayStation Blog, here's what North American PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable owners will be able to access for a limited time (European players have access to a slightly different selection):
All PlayStation Network customers can select two PS3 games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.
- Dead Nation
- Super Stardust HD
- Wipeout HD + Fury
For PSP owners, you will be eligible to download two PSP games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.
- LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
- ModNation Racers
- Pursuit Force
- Killzone Liberation
A selection of “On Us” rental movie titles will be available to PlayStation Network customers over one weekend, where Video Service is available. Those titles will be announced soon. 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership for non PlayStation Plus subscribers. Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive an additional 60 days of free subscription. Existing Music Unlimited Premium Trial subscription members will receive an additional 30 days of free premium subscription. Additional 30 days + time lost for existing members of Music Unlimited Premium/Basic subscription free of charge for existing Premium/Basic members. To welcome users Home, PlayStation Home will be offering 100 free virtual items. Additional free content will be released soon, including the next addition to the Home Mansion personal space, and Ooblag’s Alien Casino, an exclusive game.
Infamous and LittleBigPlanet alone are a great deal if you don't already own those games on a retail disc. Moreover, the PSP versions of LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers aren't too shabby either. Unfortunately, this is not enough for some people. Pete Davison over at GamePro reports on the malcontent rage:
Now that PSN is back, Sony has offered a number of free titles to PSN subscribers as a means of making amends for the long outage. But some gamers aren't satisfied with the games on offer, most of which are popular titles that people are likely to already own, and have taken to the PlayStation Blog to express their frustration. Sony has responded to these criticisms.
"I'm really sorry that there is nothing there that you want," wrote SCEE's Nick Caplin in response to customers complaining the games weren't to their satisfaction. "We've tried really hard to put together a list of high quality BD games rather than simply offering cheaper PSN titles. The average Metacritic rating for these games is over 84%, so these are high quality games. Unfortunately with a user base of 77 million people, it is really hard to offer something for everyone."
I already own Infamous, both versions of LittleBigPlanet, and have Wipeout through PlayStation Plus, but I'm not complaining about the available freebies. I'll take Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD without any bitterness or anger that, say, God of War Collection wasn't part of the deal. Sony didn't really have to do anything at all when it comes to offering free games, nor did actual games you'd want to play need to be a part of the offering. The company could easily have tossed out a free download of flOw and called it a day, but instead some actual critically acclaimed games are up for grabs. Already owning some or all of the selected titles or not wanting to play any of them does not entitle you to pick something else from the PlayStation library. No exchanges or substitutions. I know I'm being especially grouchy here, but it really frosts me when people are not happy with a free offer and demand more because of some misguided sense of entitlement. The "Welcome Back" program is a make-good gesture to the community at large. You can take it or leave it. These kinds of complaints are why we can't have nice things.