With the PlayStation Network back online and the PlayStation Store reactivated this week, Sony on Friday announced the launch of its Welcome Back program in North America. The plan provides PSN users put out by the recent network outage with free content.
The Welcome Back program offers users who signed up for PSN prior to the outage (April 20, 2011) with access to two games for PlayStation 3, including:
- Dead Nation
- Super Stardust HD
- Wipeout HD + Fury
Users of the PlayStation Portable similarly afflicted can choose from games including:
- LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
- ModNation Racers
- Pursuit Force
- Killzone Liberation
And yes, if you have both systems you can download a total of four games.
Users also get 30 days of free access to PlayStation Plus, Sony's premium subscription service. (Current PlayStation Plus subscribers get an extra 60 days of account time added). PlayStation Network users get 100 virtual items for free in PlayStation Home, Sony's 3D social network, and a selection of free movie rentals, available to PlayStation Network users for this weekend only - at least where Video Service is available. The content will be available through July 3rd.
Sony's Welcome Back program is its most public act of contrition following the PSN's weeks-long outage which started in April. Sony took PSN, and another gaming service, Sony Online Entertainment, offline after it discovered that hackers had broken in to their servers and made off with more 100 million user accounts.
After Sony revealed that information, the public learned that much of the personal information associated with those accounts, including names and addresses, were stored in an unencrypted and easily viewable fashion.
Sony executives have apologized and the company has promised to take steps to improve security, including hiring a new executive in charge of information security.
Since then, Sony's other servers have been probed and attacked by hackers repeatedly. On Thursday, LulzSec said it was able to retrieve the user account information of one million users from Sony's SonyPictures.com servers.