Sony introduced the 'Play at Home' initiative early last year, as a means to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. With lockdown regulations encouraging players to remain indoors and self-isolate, PlayStation distributed a range of free games and DLC to help with this.
In a conversation with Jim Ryan, PlayStation's CEO through GameIndustry.biz, the Sony chief announced that the total downloads for these free titles have surpassed 60 million.
PlayStation's 'Play At Home' Scheme Distributed 60 Million Free Games
Some of PlayStation's exclusive games were given out, including Horizon Zero Dawn, Ratchet and Clank (PS4), and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. These titles were available to download through the PlayStation Store completely free, without the need for a PS Plus Subscription.
Ryan mentioned that handing these games was a generous thing to do for PlayStation fans:
We did two waves. It struck us as everybody was struggling with the first lockdown, we thought this would be a nice thing to do. We were able to do it and we were very happy with the reaction. And then we got through Christmas and we started lockdown again, and everybody... it was a bit miserable. We thought it would be a nice thing to reprise. So we did it again, this time spread over a period of a number of months, and now actually 60 million games have been redeemed as part of that activity.
The PlayStation chief is also considering bringing the scheme back if the pandemic continues:
Well, it depends if COVID's done. It is one of those things. We will see how the world evolves. If lockdown, heaven forbid, if that should continue into 2022 and beyond, who knows? We might feel we have to do it again. We'll wait and see.
In the interview, Ryan also mentioned his hopes for the PS5's future, with an aim of attracting hundreds of millions of players to the next-gen system:
I hope that PlayStation 5, and I really believe the PlayStation 5 will be Sony's biggest and best and most loved PlayStation yet. I hope that will happen. I would also like to see a world where the games that we make at PlayStation can be enjoyed by many tens of millions of people. Perhaps hundreds of millions of people. Right now success with the current console model, a really great PlayStation hit you're talking ten or 20 million people being able to play that game.
All three exclusives given out have been extremely active recently with Ratchet and Clank experiencing a critically acclaimed follow-up in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart earlier this year. While Aloy's journey continues in Horizon: Forbidden West next year, with pre-orders going live last month. Uncharted is also receiving a PS5 and PC release through Uncharted Legacy of Thieves, a package that includes Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.