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Sony tries to make PlayStation Network hack row go away with $15m in cash and games

Values customers' stolen identities at $2,500 each

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Sony has offered a $15m settlement to gamers after its PlayStation Network (PSN) was comprehensively pwned, but it refuses to admit that it was at fault.

In April 2011 the Japanese giant was forced to shut down PSN after hackers got into its system and pillaged user accounts for information. While credit card information was protected, the personal account information of 77 million users was compromised and it was nearly two months before all PSN services were turned back on.

Gamers were understandably miffed at the company and many of them filed lawsuits, which were later combined into one massive class-action suit. In a bid to make the suit go away Sony has proposed a settlement which includes free games, subscriptions and cash payouts to anyone who can prove their identify was stolen as a result of the hack.

Sony is willing to offer all PSN members who were knocked offline either one free game for the PSP or PS3 from a selection of 14 titles, three PS3 themes from a choice of six, or a three-month subscription to the PlayStation Plus service.

These goodies will be handed out on a first-come first-served basis and when the value of the handouts reaches $6m then Sony will just offer a month's free PlayStation Plus membership.

Users of Sony's Qriocity music streaming service (now called Music Unlimited) who were unable to listen to their favorite tunes during the outage will get a month's free access to the service. Customers who can prove that their identity was stolen and financial harm ensued can get up to $2,500 in expenses, according to Sony's offer, and those who lost in-game currency can also claim limited compensation.

Before you rush off to register, bear in mind that this is only a provisional offer – a judge has to examine it and see if it's fair. A final settlement isn't expected until next year at the earliest.

One sticking point may be Sony's refusal to accept any responsibility. Part of the agreement is a clause that clears Sony of any wrongdoing and that could be a major sticking point. ®

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