Sony today announced the pending introduction of a rewards program for PlayStation 3 players. Titled, appropriately enough, PlayStation Rewards, the program kicks off a beta phase on October 28 that will include PlayStation Plus subscribers and members of Sony’s Gamers Advisory Panel.

The rewards program is primed to offer a number of exclusive incentives: PSN avatars, dynamic themes, PlayStation Home content, and participation in members-only sweepstakes, the first of which offers a trip to the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Though initially focused on the PlayStation 3, the PSP will eventually be added to the program (of course, there is no mention of the PlayStation Phone or the PSP2 ultimately becoming eligible). There will be three tiers for Rewards members to progress though, beginning with “Select,” advancing to “Pro,” and culminating with “Legendary.” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And how, exactly, does one participate in the PlayStation Rewards program? From the PlayStation Blog:

“Keep playing new games, buying content purchased from PlayStation Network in the PlayStation Store and PlayStation Home, download movies and TV shows, or just communicate with us by taking one of our surveys, for example, and you’ll now be recognized for it.”

Wait a minute. I qualify for the beta by paying for PlayStation Plus, and I participate in the program by buying things and taking surveys? Who, exactly, is reaping these rewards?

To be fair, Plus membership is only required for the beta phase of the program. When the full launch takes place next Spring, all registered PSN members will be able to join for free.  Additionally, none of the specific reward content has been revealed yet, and it may well turn out to be great. I know that I have been surprisingly pleased by the benefits of being a PlayStation Plus subscriber —  hopefully Sony can manage to make their Rewards program a similarly positive experience.

Despite what seems to be a fairly clear market research angle to the program, Sony deserves credit for rolling out such an initiative. Whatever the specifics, it’s always nice to be rewarded. After all, many of us have been playing PlayStation systems for ten to fifteen years. PlayStation Network’s senior director, Susan Panico, says of Sony’s longtime supporters:

“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.”

Ranters, what do you think about Sony’s PlayStation Rewards program? For those of you with more than one console, will it be enough to convince you to buy the PS3 version of a given game?

tags: PlayStation, PS3, Sony

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