Sony to offer free games, PS Plus subs in $15m PSN hack settlement

It's a good deal, for Sony. (US only.)

Sony's PlayStation business emerged relatively unscathed (stronger, even) from the PlayStation Network hack of 2011, but the legal ramifications are still ongoing.

A settlement has just been agreed in a class action lawsuit brought against Sony at the time, that would see Sony offer $15m worth of digital goods as compensation to those affected.

On an individual level this amounts to a choice of an old PS3 or PSP game, or three months of free PlayStation Plus. The latter is easily the best option but you only qualify if you're not already a Plus subscriber. And you have to live in the US.

The PS3 games on offer are Dead Nation, inFamous, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD and rain. The PSP games on offer are LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers, Patapon 3 and Killzone Liberation. These aren't dissimilar to the games offered as compensation immediately after the PSN outage in 2011, in Sony's 'Welcome Back' pack.

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There will be eight PS3 games offered in total and six on PSP, but what the others are we don't know yet. Sony will choose and they'll be "of similar quality as those listed above", the legal document (embedded by Polygon) said.

The settlement hasn't been approved by a judge so may not even happen. That decision will be made on 1st May 2015 - and boy won't those games look even more appealing then! And there may be appeals that could delay proceedings further.

A letter alerting US gamers to their potential spoils will be put in gaming publications and on websites. This is what it will apparently look like (best read in the manner of Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad).

  • If You Had a PlayStation Network, Qriocity, or Sony Online Entertainment Account Before May 15, 2011, You Could Get Benefits from a Class Action Settlement.
  • A settlement has been reached with the Sony Entities in a class action lawsuit about the illegal and unauthorized attacks (the "Intrusions") in April of 2011, on the computer network systems used to provide PlayStation Network ("PSN"), Qriocity, and Sony Online Entertainment ("SOE") services.
  • The Sony Entities deny any claims of wrongdoing in this case, and the settlement does not mean that the Sony Entities violated any laws or did anything wrong.
  • WHO IS INCLUDED?
  • The Class includes everyone in the US who had a PSN account, a Qriocity account, or an SOE account at any time before May 15, 2011.
  • WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?
  • There are various benefits, depending in part on what type of account(s) you had. Benefits you could get (if you qualify) include:
  • -Payment equal to paid wallet balances (if $2 or more) in PSN or SOE accounts that have been inactive since the Intrusions,
  • -One or more of the following: a free PS3 or PSP game, 3 free PS3 themes, or a free 3-month subscription to PlayStation Plus (once valid claims exceed $10 million, class members will still be eligible for one free month of PlayStation Plus),
  • -A free month of Music Unlimited for Qriocity accountholders who did not have a PSN account,
  • -$4.50 in SOE Station Cash (amounts will be reduced proportionally if valid claims exceed $4 million).
  • Identity Theft Reimbursement: If you had out-of-pocket charges due to actual identity theft, and have documentation proving that the theft was actually caused by the Intrusion(s), you can submit a claim for reimbursement up to $2,500. Reimbursements will be reduced proportionally if the total amount payable on of all valid claims would exceed $1 million.
  • HOW DO YOU ASK FOR BENEFITS?
  • You need to file a claim to be eligible for benefits. Claim forms are available at WWW.PSNSOESETTLEMENT.COM [TREAT WITH CAUTION -Bertie] or by calling 1-800-000-0000. The earliest deadline to file a claim is Month 00, 2014, or 60 days after the settlement becomes final and effective.
  • YOUR OTHER OPTIONS.
  • Even if you do nothing, you will be bound by the Court's decisions. If you want to keep your right to sue the Sony Entities yourself, you must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class by Month 00, 2014. If you stay in the Settlement Class, you may object to the Settlement by Month 00, 2014. The detailed notice, available at the website or by phone, explains how to exclude yourself or object. The Court will hold a hearing in this case on Month 00, 2014, to consider whether to approve the settlement, and a request by Class Counsel for fees, costs, and expenses up to $2,750,000. You or your own lawyer may appear and speak at the hearing at your own expense.

It's a first come, first served affair.

Given that Sony produces all of the digital goods involved, and that the money credited to SOE accounts will be spent in Sony's games, that "$15m worth of digital goods" figure clearly does not represent Sony forking out $15m.

I wonder how many people will bother to fill out a form for such meagre rewards - beyond three free months of PS Plus - too.

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