Play At Home: A ‘thank you’ from Sony

Danial Norjidi

As the world has had to adopt social distancing and people staying at home in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Sony Interactive Entertainment recently announced the ‘Play At Home’ initiative.

In a statement on the PlayStation Blog, President & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan said, “People all over the world are doing the right thing by staying home to help contain the spread of COVID–19. We are deeply grateful to everyone practising physical distancing and take our responsibility as a home entertainment platform seriously, so we are asking our community to continue supporting the safe choice and the need to Play At Home.”

The President & CEO announced the Play At Home initiative “as a thank you to all who are doing their part to lessen the impact of this pandemic”.

“Play At Home has two components: first, providing free games to help keep the PlayStation community entertained at home; and finally, establishing a fund to help smaller independent game studios who may be experiencing financial difficulties continue building great experiences for all gamers,” he explained.

In line with the initiative, PlayStation is offering its players two free titles, namely Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey. The games are available for free for a limited time through digital downloads from April 15 through May 5, 2020, and once redeemed, the games are yours to keep.

File photo shows a screenshot of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – the third installment in the critically acclaimed adventure series and part of the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. Sony Interactive Entertainment’s ‘Play At Home’ initiative offers players two free titles – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey. PHOTO: NAUGHTY DOGS
In ‘Journey’ the player controls a robed figure in a vast desert, travelling towards a mountain in the distance. Other players on the same journey can be discovered, and two players can meet and assist each other, but they cannot communicate via speech or text and cannot see each other’s names. The only form of communication between the two is a musical chime. PHOTO: THATGAMECOMPANY

Let’s take a closer look at these free titles. First up is Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which is a compilation of three excellent action-adventure games from renowned developers Naughty Dog, putting together remastered versions of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

The critically-acclaimed Uncharted games are among the best available on the PlayStation platform, putting players in the shoes of treasure hunter Nathan Drake, embarking on adventures around the world with amazing set-pieces and a great storytelling.

As Ryan said, “We can’t imagine a better time for globe-trotting adventures with Nathan Drake, an iconic cast of characters, and thrilling treasure-hunting action gameplay.”

Meanwhile, in Thatgamecompany and Santa Monica Studio’s indie adventure game Journey, players explore an ancient and mysterious world. The game has won multiple awards and has a Grammy-nominated musical score.

The Sony Interactive Entertainment President & CEO described Journey as “a beautiful, celebrated adventure that is as moving as it is mysterious. The game’s life-affirming message is timeless, and perhaps more important now than ever before..

In his statement, Ryan also spoke on creative funding aspect of the initiative, saying, “Independent developers are vital to the heart and soul of the gaming community and we understand the hardships and financial struggles that many smaller gaming studios are facing. With that, SIE has developed a fund to support them during this time. We have earmarked USD10 million to support our independent development partners. More information about the fund, including participation criteria, will be made available soon.”

“During these days of physical distancing, fans have turned to gaming for moments of respite and enjoyment. At Sony Interactive Entertainment, we are privileged to bring this much-needed entertainment.”

“We know this is just one small step and we are thankful to be able to offer this support to our players, our communities, and our partners,” he added.

One local gamer, Hadi, shared his thoughts on the initiative. “I’m glad to have the free games from Sony. During COVID-19 situation it is important to stay at home; what better way than playing games? The initiative also helps the indie scene with funding, which will allow developers especially independent studios, to create more games. More games means more choices for consumers.”

On the free PS4 titles given through the initiative, he said, “It’s always good to have free games to add to collection. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection has three great games in one collection.

“The series is one of the best for the generation, and tells an amazing story. Playing the games is akin to watching a big blockbuster movie.

Journey has earned many plaudits. The gameplay mechanics evokes in the player a sense of smallness and wonder and enables the forging of an emotional connection. Visually it’s beautiful and it also has an amazing soundtrack.

“It’s a good game to play to relax and find solace, especially if you’re alone at home doing your part against COVID-19,” he added.