During last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns, more people stayed at home and played video games, benefiting PlayStation’s Play At Home initiative, which saw up to 60 million games redeemed and downloaded. The Play At Home initiative, which debuted in April of last year, served as Sony’s response to free giveaways from the Epic Game Store, allowing players to download and keep certain high-quality PlayStation exclusives with no strings attached for a limited time.
After a strong start with titles such as Journey and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Play At Home has gained a lot of attention in recent months by featuring blockbuster titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn and 2016’s Ratchet & Clank, and has even managed to raise money for promising indie developers in the process.
Although the Play At Home program did not distribute full games during its most recent giveaway in May, free DLC content and in-game currency were available for multiplayer games such as NBA 2K21 and Brawlhalla.
In a recent interview with GamesIndustry, Sony CEO and president Jim Ryan revealed that the Play At Home initiative, which was launched last April to provide gamers with free content during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in over 60 million games being redeemed since its inception.
“As everyone was struggling with the first lockdown, it occurred to us that this would be a nice thing to do.” We were able to do it, and we were very pleased with the response,” Ryan said during the interview, describing how the Play At Home giveaways were carried out in two waves over the past two years. “And then we got through Christmas, and we went back into lockdown, and everyone… it was a bit miserable.”
We thought it would be nice to do it again.” He concluded by speculating that if the complications and lockdowns from COVID-19 continue into next year, Sony may bring back the Play At Home initiative for a third round of giveaways in 2022.
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in the number of people playing video games, with the World Health Organization even recommending gaming as a good pastime during last year’s lengthy lockdowns. With players staying away from brick-and-mortar gaming stores and lacking the funds to purchase games online, it fell to free offerings from the Epic Games Store to provide players with interactive entertainment during the long months of 2020 – despite the fact that these free giveaways cost Epic a significant amount of money to implement.
During the long and worrying COVID-19 lockdowns, PlayStation’s Play At Home program certainly helped players by providing them with polished PlayStation exclusives like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Uncharted for free. There’s no word on whether Sony will give away more free content in the coming months, but it’s certainly possible given the success of previous waves.