All 77 million of you that had your personal information exposed in the massive breach of PlayStation Network, you can get your free games now.
Sony said this morning that its "Welcome Back" package of free games, movie rentals, and in-game content is available starting today.
Sony initially announced the compensation package in early May as a way to apologize to customers whose names, addresses, birth dates, e-mail addresses, and passwords were compromised when a still-unnamed group of people were able to access 10 Sony servers running its PlayStation Network and Qriocity entertainment service. In addition to the free content promised, Sony also has made a year of identity theft monitoring available to all users for free.
Now that the PlayStation Store is back online, PlayStation 3 owners can choose to download two free games from a choice of five. PlayStation Portable owners can choose two free games from a choice of four. Customers also have the option to sign up for a month of free access to the company's premium version of PSN, PlayStation Plus. Susan Panico, senior director of the PlayStation Store, wrote on Sony's blog today that the subscription is commitment-free and will not automatically renew.
The free games are only available to customers signed up before April 20, and will be available for free until July 3.
PSN users will also be able to download 100 virtual items in PlayStation Home, and this weekend only there will be a selection of movies customers can rent for free.
It's probably wise that Sony got all this taken care of by today. That's because the biggest show of the year for their gaming division, E3 Expo, starts on Monday in Los Angeles, and it's in Sony's interest to be able to focus on what's next for PlayStation Network users, not the past.
Still, other parts of the company are having to deal with their own security headache. SonyPictures.com and Sony BMG in Belgium and the Netherlands had more than 1 million of their customers' profiles compromised, according to a group of hackers calling themselves Lulzsec. Yesterday the group posted the names, passwords, e-mail addresses, addresses, and phone numbers of several thousand users that they took from what the group says were poorly secured servers.
Update 3:52 p.m. PT: Sony said that due to high-volume traffic on PSN, many people are experiencing errors trying to get their free games. For instructions on what to do, check its blog.