PlayStation Rewards program to offer free PSN bonuses for 'highly engaged' fans

Sony is preparing to launch a new incentives program called PlayStation Rewards. A closed beta for the offer is currently invite-only -- for "highly engaged" PlayStation owners -- but the full service will open up to include everyone next year. The program will reward players with a number of PSN bonuses, including "exclusive" avatars, dynamic themes and PlayStation Home content. In addition, Rewards will feature "member-only" sweepstakes, events and giveaways.

At first glance, PlayStation Rewards seems to offer many of the same features as PlayStation Plus. However, the two services are separate from each other and will offer different bonuses. Rewards is free, and will be open to all PlayStation owners, regardless of Plus status -- although, Plus members are more likely to be offered entry into the service during the beta.

Like Club Nintendo and Square Enix Members, PlayStation Rewards is tiered, separating its members into three groups: Select, Pro and Legendary. Playing games, downloading demos, using PlayStation Home, being active on the PlayStation.com Forums, answering surveys and buying content on the PlayStation Store are some of the ways in which members can increase their ranks in a Trophy-inspired leveling system.

Susan Panico, senior director of the PlayStation Network, described the service as the next-generation follow-up to previous PlayStation loyalty programs, the PlayStation Underground and Gamer Advisory Panel of the PS2 and PS1 eras. When asked if Rewards and Plus could eventually be merged, Panico emphasized that Plus will continue to offer exclusive benefits (such as prepaid access to select games), whereas Rewards is meant for everyone, including loyal fans that haven't paid for Plus.

"Our goal was to say 'thank you' for being engaged with us," Panico said. "Part of that engagement may be that they're a Plus member, which is a highly valued engagement with us. But there are a lot of people that spend a lot of time with PlayStation Network, as well as on the console, that we wanted to give a simple surprise and delight. A way of saying, 'Hey, thanks for being a valued customer for a really long time!'"

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PlayStation(r)Rewards Gives Loyal PlayStation(r) Fans a New Way to Earn Exclusive Status and Recognition

October 27, 2010 - Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC (SCEA) today unveiled its new loyalty program, PlayStation(r)Rewards, designed to give PlayStation(r) fans in the United States the opportunity to gain exclusive status, recognition, and rewards based on a variety of PlayStation-centric activity they engage in across the PlayStation ecosystem.

PlayStation Rewards will begin as an invitation-only beta, including early adopters of PlayStation(r)Plus and Gamer Advisory Panel (GAP) members, who will have the chance to help shape the program and get a head start on obtaining exclusive rewards. The full public launch is scheduled for Spring 2011, when registered PlayStation(r)Network fans will be able to join the free loyalty program. During the beta phase, the program will be focused on rewarding activity from PlayStation(r)3 (PS3(tm)) owners, eventually adding in PSP(r) (PlayStation(r)Portable) owners over time.

There are three reward tiers for PlayStation Reward members to attain, consisting of "Select," "Pro" and "Legendary," in increasing order. Members advance through each tier based on their level of engagement and actions across the PlayStation ecosystem, including playing new games for the first time, buying content from PlayStation Network in PlayStation(r)Store or PlayStation(r)Home, downloading movies and TV shows, or engaging in communication with PlayStation like taking surveys, for example. As their status increases, so do the rewards. Members can go to their profile page and look at the reward progress meter to find their current status level and see how close they are to reaching the next level.

Everyone who participates in PlayStation Rewards has the opportunity to earn a wide range of exclusive rewards. Some examples include exclusive PSN avatars that display member status in the program, dynamic themes and PlayStation Home content, as well as the opportunity to participate in members-only sweepstakes and giveaways, the first of which is an all expenses paid trip to be PlayStation's guest at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

"PlayStation's most important asset is its loyal fans and PlayStation Rewards gives us an opportunity to show our appreciation for their amazing passion and desire to continually evolve the gaming world," said Susan Panico, senior director, PlayStation Network. "We can't thank our fans enough for the feedback they have given us over the years and look forward to even more dialog to help us evolve PlayStation Rewards to make it the best possible loyalty program it can be."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.