Now that the PlayStation Network is mostly back online around the world (exception in Japan), Sony has unveiled its "Welcome Back Package" to try to make amends with customers who have been locked out of their games and movies for over three weeks (since April 20). But will dangling a couple of free games and online services as detailed in the Official PlayStation Blog (and on ZDNet here and here) be enough to win back users who are beyond fed up with the company?
Kotaku found a way to put the package into terms both gamers and non-gamers can understand: money. Likewise, I checked current market value for the titles being offered for free download on the PS3 to see what PSN loyalty is worth to Sony.
PS3 owners can download any of the two games to keep:
Dead Nation ($14.99, GameStop.com)
inFAMOUS ($19.39, Amazon.com)
LittleBigPlanet ($13.99, Amazon.com)
Super Stardust HD ($9.99, Amazon.com)
Wipeout HD ($19.99, Amazon.com without the "Fury" expansion pack)
Although some prices have changed since Kotaku's post, the conclusion is still the same. For the best bang for your PS3 buck, download inFAMOUS and Wipeout HD + Fury, which is worth about $40.
PSP owners also face a similar conundrum: which two titles to download to maximize this offer from Sony?
Market value for these titles are as follows:
LittleBigPlanet ($19.54, Amazon.com)
ModNation Racers ($19.81, Amazon.com)
Pursuit Force ($8.97, Amazon.com)
Killzone Liberation ($10.37, Buy.com)
Clearly, download LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers to the PSP for best value, because they are worth a combined total of $39.35.
For those who already these classic titles, then this really isn't much of a gift from Sony. You will only benefit from the free PlayStation Plus trial membership ($6) or 2-months of free service ($12), a free month of trial Music Unlimited subscription ($9.99), free movies (exact titles to be announced) available over a weekend and 100 free virtual items, whatever they are.
At the most, a single customer could receive $101.34 worth of freebies from Sony (assuming that person owns both the PS3 and PSP so download four of the most expensive games, qualify for 2-month Plus membership and try a Music Unlimited subscription).
That said, I believe no amount of free stuff can help Sony win back customers. Customers will either forget about this involuntary lockout from their entertainment over time, or will feel slighted no matter what olive branch Sony tries to extend to them right now. Hopefully, Sony will focus on getting users online (people are still reporting random login problems) rather than placating users with lame gifts.
Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc...