Many people seem to be quite angry with the compensation package offered by Sony as part of their apology to the PlayStation community. With the choice of games to choose from being on the older end of the spectrum, a lot of gamers are a bit miffed that the games are either past their sell-by date or a blatant advert for upcoming titles.
You can sort of see the point they’re making. Infamous could be seen as a perfect way of getting people excited about Infamous 2 which is out in a few weeks, and LittleBigPlanet could easily tempt the non-believers into picking up LBP2 which has been out for a few months. On top of that, the one month free PS+ subscription is having people grumbling about another advertising opportunity seized.
But let’s consider the options Sony had. Maybe it’ll become clear we’ve ended up with something quite reasonable.
Option 1: Sod ’em
It would’ve been very easy for Sony to point to the price we all pay for the PSN (i.e nothing at all) and offer the same in return. There was no obligation to offer some free stuff to PSN members after the outage, and doing so was not only a welcome sign of good will but also a pleasant surprise to some. If you’re pissed off about what has been offered, imagine how pleased you’d be if they didn’t bother at all.
Option 2: A month of PS+
PS+ is part of the “Welcome Back” package – if you don’t like it, don’t keep it. Some see it as a pointless extra, others swear by the features it offers. Either way, a lot of people expected the compensation to just be a month of PS+, after all it wouldn’t cost Sony anything until people started making the most of the discounts, and even then they’d be selling stuff they might not ordinarily have sold to those gamers. Yes we’re getting a free month, but that’s not all…
Option 3: Free Downloadable Games
A huge number of people were insisting on this. “I’ve not been able to play online, I demand nine copies of Modern Warfare 3”. Get real. The games had to be downloadable and already available. People wouldn’t want to wait until November for a reward for staying loyal to the Sony cause. The point of offering the games that they have, is that they’re already on the PSN to download so they can offer them out to members as soon as the store gets back on its feet.
Option 4: Free Retail Games
Why did the games have to be downloadable? Because of the time and manpower needed to send a free retail boxed game to every PS3 owner in the world. There are a lot of people with a PS3, and for each person to be sent a full game, never mind two full games, would have taken a massive amount of time and money. If we want the PSN to remain free, this sort of extravagance needs to be avoided. I’m sure most people would be delighted with a free copy of L.A.Noire, but then not so thrilled when Sony emailed you to tell you they were going to charge £30 a year for online gaming.
Option 5: Free Downloads of Anything for a Month
I didn’t see this suggested anywhere, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I heard that some people were hoping for this. Full access to download anything they wanted from the store for a whole month without paying a penny. Meanwhile, they could look out the window and see a flock of pigs in perfect formation gliding over the nearby fields.
These options cover the full range of possibilities, and while it’s true that the games on offer aren’t the most up to date titles around, they are some of the finest games available for download at the present time. If you’ve got them already, then that’s just plain unlucky. If you’re already a PS+ subscriber then you still get an extra free month, and everyone is getting the free identity protection.
Yes, some people will be unhappy. Yes, some people won’t get a lot out of this. But let’s be honest, Sony didn’t have to offer us anything. Option 1 was very much a possibility and we shouldn’t lose sight of that. Personally I reckon it’s a fairly generous package that Sony have put forwards, and with a Wipeout sized gap in my gaming collection it’s an offer I’m grateful for and will take advantage of, especially considering I didn’t miss the PSN all that much.
It’s time to stop complaining, take it on the chin and move on. If you’re unhappy, tough. Moaning won’t change the offer, nor will it make you any friends. If Sony have upset you that much then trade up for a 360 and get ready to miss out on some incredible exclusives this year. But you’ll have a reliable online service with XBL, and that’s all the counts, right? If the welcome back package isn’t your thing, and that alone is enough for you to jump ship, then the community won’t miss you.