Sony released its “Welcome Back” package for PlayStation users nearly two months after the PlayStation Network, as well as several Sony websites, were hacked. Around 100 million users’ personal information was potentially stolen. While some Sony websites are still being attacked by various hacker groups, the PlayStation Network and PlayStation Store are back up and running for all users. PlayStation users can play games online again and all of the downloadable content from the store should be available.
To compensate for the weeks that gamers were unable to play games online and use other Sony services, Sony made the “Welcome Back” package available on the PlayStation Network on June 3.
Sony also released this statement to its users: “Thanks again for your patience and understanding as we restored the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services — your support has meant a lot to us and is greatly appreciated.”
The “Welcome Back” package is available for any user that had an online PlayStation 3 account before April 20. It consists of free games and other content as an apology for causing millions of users to lose Sony services for weeks and having to worry about the possibility of identity theft.
The first part of the package is games available for free download. Users will be able to choose two of the five games for the PlayStation 3 and two of four games for the PlayStation Portable. The five games for the Playstation 3 include “Dead Nation,” “inFAMOUS,” “LittleBigPlanet,” “Super Stardust HD” and “Wipeout HD + Fury.” Most are full games, but Super Stardust HD is a PlayStation Store mini-game. It is an arcade style of game very similar to the old school games of “Space Invaders” and “Galaga.” The games available to choose from the PlayStation Portable are “LittleBigPlanet,” “ModNation Racers,” “Pursuit Force” and “Killzone: Liberation.”
Sony has also created a guideline to help users figure out how to download these games for free. First, go to the PlayStation Store and select “Welcome Back.” Next, users should select “Game 1” and then the user will be able to choose one of the games. After selecting the first game the user must return to “Welcome Back” and select “Game 2.” Once it is selected the user will be able to choose the second and final game to download for free.
However, many users have encountered problems trying to download the free games due to high traffic. The problem is that users select “Game 1” or “Game 2” but then receive an error message. When the user tries to go back and download it again, the options for “Game 1” and “Game 2” are no longer in “Welcome Back.” This does not mean the games are no longer available, but that the games will have to be downloaded a different way. First, go to the XMB (XrossMediaBar) and select “Account Management.” Then select “Transaction Management” and after that “Services List.” Finally, the user can select “SCEA Promotions” and download the games.
PlayStation Home will also have free content for users. There will be 100 virtual items for each user and additional content will be provided at a
later date. There will also be free movie rentals for users during the weekend of July 2-4, but only three movies will be available and all three were older movies such as “Bad Boys.”
Another part of the “Welcome Back” package is a 30-day free trial of PlayStation Plus. This is a subscription service that includes games, huge discounts and other features such as online storage and automatic discounts. In order to get this, the user must go to the PlayStation Store, choose “Welcome Back,”and then choose “PlayStation Plus: 30 Days Free.” This subscription will automatically terminate after 30 days,
so users will not have to worry about contacting Sony to terminate it themselves. Also, an additional 60 days will be given to users who already have a subscription to PlayStation Plus. This is automatically added to subscribers’ accounts, so there will be no need to select this at the PlayStation Store.
Finally, users that are subscribed to Music Unlimited Premium will receive an additional 30 days of free service. Even though many users are getting errors when trying to download the games, the package will stay available through July 3. By that time, the traffic should lower back to a normal rate and downloads should become much smoother. Also, the 30-day free trials start the day of the download and not July 3, the last day the “Welcome Back” package is available. for more details go to blog.us.playstion.com. There is a post that details all of the “Welcome Back” package information, and it is also one way to keep updated on anything new that Sony puts out.