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Sony Launches New PlayStation Rewards Program

Playstation RewardsSony is looking to go the extra mile when it comes to rewarding its most loyal PlayStation customers by launching a new rewards program aimed at offering freebies and goodies to those who spend a lot of time and money on PlayStation-related activities.  Playing games, exploring PlayStation Home, buying items from the PlayStation Store, joining PlayStation Plus, posting on the official PlayStation forums, and other such things will all add up to free PS3 avatars, dynamic themes, contest entries, and other unannounced incentives.  Here's some of the official announcement from the PlayStation Blog:

In its initial launch tomorrow (Oct. 28th), PlayStation Rewards will be an invitation-only beta to all eligible PlayStation Plus and Gamer Advisory Panel (GAP) members. We’re kicking things off as a beta so that we can get feedback from our most loyal fans in order to make it the best possible rewards program it can be. It’s also worth noting that during the beta phase, the program will be focused on PlayStation 3 owners, but we hope to include PSP users as well not too far down the road. Oh, and one more thing: PlayStation Rewards will be free – there is no fee to join!

The more you play and participate, the more progress you’ll make through our three reward tiers — “Select,” “Pro,” and “Legendary.” As your status increases, so do the rewards. And if you want to check out your current status level, simply go to your private profile page and look at the reward progress meter.  That’s just the start and our plan is to continually grow and improve the reward offering as the program itself evolves. Your feedback in this beta period will help make the program even better!!  If you’re a GAP member or PlayStation Plus subscriber in the U.S., who is opted-in to marketing as of October 24th, be sure to look for your invitation and sign-up for PlayStation Rewards.

So, basically, Sony is turning the gaming experience into a real-life level grind.  Whether or not that appeals to you probably depends on how much time you put into your PS3 (and, later, PSP).  There will always be whining from malcontents who believe they deserve free stuff for nothing, but on the whole I hope that this turns out to be a good thing for both Sony and PlayStation fans alike.  I know that I'm looking forward to checking it out if I'm invited to join.  It's free and it offers free stuff back in return.  What's not to like?