Was it Sony’s fault or purely the hackers? Did Sony neglect their network and sit on a ticking time bomb or were they totally and utterly out witted by these cyber ninjas? We’ll never really know the true story or even the real cause of the breach, but one thing is for certain…us PSN customers are the ones who are hit the hardest. So what are Sony doing about it?

psn playstation network

Forensic investigation and maintenance to PSN has effected the network for over 3 weeks. How will Sony make it up to us PSN users?

The PSN Welcome Back Programme

The only thing Sony described in detail was the 30 day pass to PlayStation Plus for all PSN users. PlayStation Plus may have been hit by harsh criticism for it’s total value for money (especially on a yearly basis) but this subscription service becomes totally worth while and irresistible when it’s FREE! Games, Add On Packs, PSone Classics and much, much more will be at every PSN users fingertips once PSN comes back online. BUT…will PlayStation Plus be the same as it was before the outage?

Best PSN Scenario – PlayStation Plus comes back online with additional content to make up for the outage to all PSN users…Double Whammy Style!

Fair PSN Scenario – PlayStation Plus is back and in the form we were familiar with. Nothing added but nothing taken away. A download fest, nonetheless.

Worst PSN Scenario – PlayStation Plus comes back with less content then it had before it went down! If pure greed kicked-in, Sony could temporarily take more valuable and more expensive content down for the re-up. This may protect sale figures for Sony, but if you strike PSN users while they’re already down…they’ll become more powerful than Sony could possibly imagine!

I’ll put my toy lightsaber down (for a bit) and move on to other forms of “Welcome Back” content:

Providing nothing is taken away for the re-up, PlayStation Plus is a much welcomed “Welcome Back” freebie. However, we couldn’t help but notice a few adjustments in Sony’s blog posts. Earlier in the week Sony stated that other forms of free content would be available, but on 6th May Sony also made another blog entry stating that free selected games (from a selected list) would be made available to all PSN users. We’re not sure it this meant “instead of” or “as well as”. We’ll just have to hope for the best.

PlayStation Move Content

It’s no secret that Sony’s PlayStation Move is trailing behind the popularity of the Wii or features of the Kinect. Sony need hands around Move controllers and free “Welcome Back” Move content could be the incentive PSN users need. Free Move content would mean current PlayStation Move owners would be persuaded to put their hands in their pockets more, while those yet to experience Move would have a better chance investing in the tools.

playstation move games

Free PlayStation Move content would not only be very welcome to PSN users, but also help Sony to increase the Move's popularity

Game Add-Ons

First, lets be honest and break a few hearts. You won’t see Black Ops add-ons for free. Sorry. They make far too much money (being as everyone on the planet owns a copy of Black Ops) so the chances of Black Ops DLC give-aways are extremely low. However, chart-topping games that are slightly older (i.e. Uncharted, Infamous, Batman) and have made a majority of their sales already (Platinum games) have an incredibly high chance of being on Sony’s “Welcome Back” list.

batman add on

DLC add-ons for Platinum games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, would have a better chance of appearing on Sony's "Welcome Back" list

Full PSN Games

Sony have already made the announcement that free games will be offered for all PSN users. An official post on the PlayStation Blog informed PSN users that both PS3 and PSP games will be offered (no actual game titles were officially announced). Our money would be on older PSN exclusives that have either sold very well in the past or don’t sell as well due to certain times of the year. A perfect example would be Costume Quest which is a superb little RPG for a PSN release, but was themed around and released last Halloween.

costume quest psn games

Don't be fooled with other screenshots of kids running around in costumes. Costume Quest is actually a really cool RPG (as pictured) and we want it on the "Welcome Back" list!

Recent PlayStation Blog posts did not clarify whether the free PS3 games would include PlayStation Move titles.

If Only Free PSN Content Was That Simple

Unfortunately for Sony, it’s not as easy as just selecting PSN games, DLC and movies. Publishers and developers of the movies and games on PSN require profit to survive in the industry. They’ll take their deserved cut from whatever Sony charge and this will go toward staff pay and future game developments. This means that Sony will either have to pay selected publishers and developers a truck-load of money to have their content on the “Welcome Back list” or pretty much beg for an easy time from certain developers. However Sony go about it, they’ll have to put their hands in their pockets to get out of this one. In fact…and although we hate to say this…we could actually bet money that a majority of content on the “Welcome Back” list is published/developed by Sony themselves!

This does make us wonder that current US lawsuits are pushing it a tad too much. Sony have already learnt the hard way to keep their security up-to-date. It’s going to cost them some serious money to offer free content on PSN as it is, so lets just hope these lawsuits lighten up…or Sony could be in for a world of hurt…along with us PSN users.

Sony have announced that PSN features will begin to emerge back on PSN in “a few days”. Lets Keep our fingers crossed and just hope the Worst Case PSN Scenario doesn’t happen!

[UPDATE: 16th May 2011] Sony made an official announcement via email to all PSN users that BOTH the free PS3 and PSP games (from a selected list) AND a free 30 day subscription to PlayStation Plus will be available to all PSN users once PSN is fully re-activated. Good stuff, Sony.

Let us know what you think Sony should offer PSN users in their “Welcome Back Programme”, by submitting your comments below.