Tuesday, 17 May 2011 10:45

PlayStation Network: It's Alive! Now with free stuff [UPDATE]


It stuttered, it blew smoke, it rumbled, it coughed and then last night roared into life.  The PlayStation Network has been resurrected into a, hopefully, more secure form, ready for action.  Sony has now given out the details of its 'Welcome Back' programme with free games and PlayStation Plus subscriptions.

For almost a month now the PlayStation Network has been down, depriving gamers of any online gaming fun, or the chance for Sony to redeem some cold hard cash in the form of digitally distributed content.

Last night, (In the Australian region at least) Sony rolled out the activation of the new and supposedly more secure PlayStation Network with PS3 firmware upgrade 3.61.

Today we get the details (see below) of the Welcome Back programme, designed to make PSN users happy, but perhaps not really garner much in the way of warm-fuzzies around improved security functionality, though you will need to change your password.

It is all well and good for Sony to tighten password restrictions, now requiring an eight character (including digits) password for access to the network, but if they don't improve security of the database where this information held.

If even some of the rumours around the April 19th security breach are true, we need to hope Sony sys-admins have been very hard at work behind the scenes of this new improved network.  Rumours such as unpatched Apache servers, lack of a firewall, passwords stored in clear text and more have fuelled trepidation about returning to PSN.

Still when I tried to download 3.61 firmware last night, it was obvious the network was under load with returning PlayStationites, so perhaps trepidation is outweighed by anticipation of getting back online for many. [UPDATE] The PSN may be up and running, but the PlayStation Store is still to be revived.

Check out PAGE TWO for what freebies you can retrieve when you get back online.

Sony has detailed the 'Welcome Back' Programme of rewards for the PlayStation Network faithful:

Now that certain PSN services have been restored and you're once again enjoying online gaming, it seems a good time to confirm what is being offered as part of the Welcome Back programme.


Once we restore PlayStation Store, which will be just a little while longer, you will have the opportunity to claim your Welcome Back gifts. Please note that the Welcome Back programme is only available for those countries with access to PlayStation Store*.
All existing PlayStation Network members will be able to access the following from PlayStation Store*:

Two PS3 games from the following list:
* LittleBigPlanet
* Infamous*
* Wipeout HD/Fury
* Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty
* Dead Nation*

For those with PSP accounts, you will also be eligible to download two PSP games from the following list:
* LittleBigPlanet PSP
* ModNation PSP
* Pursuit Force
* Killzone Liberation*

- 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership for non PS Plus subscribers*
- Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will be given 60 days free subscription.
- For existing Music Unlimited subscribers, you will be given 30 days free subscription.
- We are working on a Welcome Back offer in PlayStation Home and will share that when it is confirmed.

I would like to thank all of the developers and publishers involved in this programme for their support in making this happen. We certainly couldn't have done it without you.

You will be able to access this content once PlayStation Store comes back online and we are doing everything we can to make that happen as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support []

1. For eligibility for the welcome back programme consumers must be an account holder on 20 April 2011. Specific details about these offers and eligibility requirements will be posted as the services go live. All existing PSN registrants have 30 days from when the welcome back programme goes live to redeem their content.
2. For the German market, InFamous and Dead Nation will be replace with Super Stardust HD and Hustle Kings in the selection of PS3 games.
3. For the German market, Pursuit Force and Killzone Liberation will be replaced with Everybody's Golf 2 and Buzz Junior Jungle Party in the selection of PSP games. Killzone Liberation will not offer online gameplay functionality.
4. Access to the 30 days free PS Plus subscription is only available for those countries where PS Plus is offered. You will have access to the PS Plus content planned for May for 30 days. Access to the free games and exclusive features finishes at the end of the 30-day subscription period. Anything you buy with exclusive discounts, dynamic themes and premium avatars are yours to keep forever.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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