Sony’s Play At Home initiative—a response to the Covid lockdowns—turned out to be an “extraordinary success” according to PlayStation’s Senior Vice President Eric Lempel. Over the two phases of the initiative, players have redeemed more than 60 million games to play during the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown.
The Play At Home initiative began in April 2020 when the coronavirus outbreak first began. Players were able to download Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey for free. As Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan later told Gamesindustry.biz, it just seemed like “this would be a nice thing to do.” When they realized coronavirus wasn’t going away anytime soon and another lockdown began in 2021, they decided to have a second phase.
The second phase was split into three different parts. The first saw the free release of Ratchet and Clank, as well as three months of free membership to Funimation and Wakanim for new subscribers. The second part offered up ten indie and PlayStation VR titles, closely followed by Horizon: Zero Dawn. The promotion then concluded with a variety of add-ons and other in-game content for several popular sports and free-to-play games.
Between the two phases, players redeemed more than 60 million free games. Of those, over 30 million were games from the indie part of the promotion and 11 million were PSVR titles. The add-on part of the initiative saw players download 4 million free packs of in-game content. Lempel says they are “honored to have played a role in supporting gamers around the world.”
While things seem to have improved with many parts of the world starting to get back to some semblance of normality, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. When asked whether the Play At Home initiative was over, Jim Ryan replied:
Well, it depends if COVID’s done. It is one of those things. We will see how the world evolves. If lockdown, heaven forbid, if that should continue into 2022 and beyond, who know? We might feel we have to do it again. We’ll wait and see.
Whether we’ll get any more free games remains to be seen, but I think many would prefer the pandemic to end over getting a free game or two, if they’re being honest.[Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Gamesindustry.biz]
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