Nick Caplin, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Head of Communications has finally taken the bull by the horns and announced on his official blog that Sony Europe will be offering a form of Identity Theft Protection and a couple of free games to PS3 and PSP users too as part of their Welcome Back programme.
The offer of Identity Theft Protection is a smart move by Sony, and although the details of what will be offered to European or British users have yet to be determined, as they vary from country to country, the service being offered to American users appears extremely comprehensive and includes both insurance and access to dedicated investigators.
The free games offer has also yet to be properly fleshed out, but at the moment the plan is to offer gamers a choice of two out of five PS3 titles, and two out of four PSP titles.
This is extremely welcome news for the thousands of gamers who have been extremely frustrated with the loss of services and the lack of clear information so far. Constant delays have also seen an increase in the number of people trading in their PS3s for Micrososft’s rival Xbox 360.
Will it be enough to stem the tide of an abandonment of Sony’s powerful but under-utilised entertainment system? Released at the end of 2006, the PS3 suffered from a high price tag, a swathe of poorly developed ports, a shortage of quality exclusive content and an inferior online service.
The hacking scandal is a tremendous blow to the machine which has only in the last couple of years addressed those issues and really started to pick up momentum.
There are bound to be a large numbers of gamers who will reluctantly wait about for their online services to be resumed, but the loss of consumer confidence is bound to seriously affect new sales of the console. Sony need to get the network secured and up and running as soon as physically possibly and maintain a stronger dialogue with the community. Offering free software and services demonstrates that things are indeed being taken seriously, it’s bound to a financial blow, but they need to make sure those are heavyweight titles on offer to keep gamers content.