The PSN data breach from 2011 is finally seeing some legally obligated rewards being handed out to gamers who were affected by the breach or who participated in the class action lawsuit that has resulted in Sony being obligated to hand out free games as compensation.
According to Games Radar there are free game codes being sent out to those who were affected by the 2011 breach, in which case the PlayStation Network was down for 23 days due to data infiltration. It was unclear how much data the hackers actually accessed and whether or not payment data was fully breached, but it left PSN users extremely uneasy about what happened. Shortly after the breach Sony sent out free codes to gamers with their “Welcome Back” package, including digital codes for inFamous and LittleBigPlanet.
The free game codes for the titles being sent out at this point have nothing to do with the “Welcome Back” package that Sony had issued shortly after the breach had occurred. In the new pack of codes they contain other games from Sony's PS3 library. Games Radar doesn't detail what these games are exactly, but over on Game Informer they posted an e-mail they received from Sony that contains a code for the game Puppeteer.
The title came out back in 2013 for the PS3 and it was a 3D platforming game from SCE Japan. It certainly wasn't one of the big hard hitters back in the day, but a free version of Puppeteer is better than nothing, right?
Part of the major problem is that while Sony is legally obligated to hand out free games to PSN users affected by the outage as part of the settlement agreement, the games are old PS3 titles. As rightly pointed out by Game Informer, what happens to those people who decided to upgrade to a PS4?
I suppose if this were Xbox this wouldn't be nearly as bad because Microsoft has gone through great pains to make backwards compatibility available for the Xbox One. This gives the system a lot more value given the fact that it can work well with some Xbox 360 titles. If the breach had occurred on Xbox Live during the reign of the Xbox 360 and Microsoft decided to hand out free codes for Xbox Live and Xbox 360 games, at least there would be a high chance that many of the titles could work via backwards compatibility on the Xbox One. In the case of the PS3 and PS4... there is no backwards compatibility. If you want to play old PS3 games on the PS4 you either have to buy the remastered versions of the game or go through the unsavory process of paying an arm and a leg to use PlayStation Now. Although it should be noted that even with PlayStation Now you're not guaranteed to have access to all of the PS3's library on the PS4.
On the upside at least Sony is giving out free games; there's nothing wrong with free games. On the downside a lot of these free games appear to be PS3 titles and if you haven't been gaming on your PS3 or you traded it for the PS4, you just might be fresh out of luck.