Sony’s Play At Home initiative – a reaction to the Covid bans – turned out to be an “extraordinary success”, according to PlayStation Vice President Eric Lempel. In the two phases of the initiative, players 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 could download Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and trip for free. As Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment later told Gamesindustry.biz, it just seemed “that would be a nice thing”. When they realized the coronavirus was not going to go away anytime soon and another lockdown began in 2021, they decided to run a second phase.
The second phase was divided into three different parts. The first saw the release of Ratchet and clamp, as well as three months of free membership to Funimation and Wakanim for new subscribers. The second part featured ten indie and PlayStation VR titles, closely followed by Horizon: Zero Dawn. The promotion then ended with a variety of add-ons and other in-game content for several popular sports and free games.
Between the two phases, players have redeemed more than 60 million free spins. Of these, over 30 million games were from the indie part of the action and 11 million were PSVR titles. In the add-on portion of the initiative, players downloaded 4 million free packs of in-game content. Lempel says they are honored to have “played a role in helping players around the world.”
While things seem to have improved with an appearance of normalcy again in many parts of the world, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. When asked if the Play at Home initiative was over, Jim Ryan replied:
Well, it depends on whether COVID is over. It’s one of those things. We’ll see how the world develops. If lockdown, heaven forbid, if that lasts through 2022 and beyond, who knows? We might feel like we have to do it all over again. We’ll wait and see.
Whether we will get any more free games remains to be seen, but I think many would prefer ending the pandemic than getting a free game or two if they are honest.[Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Gamesindustry.biz]