The PlayStation Network program has been deemed a success, according to industry analyst firm Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR). The findings (PDF), based on data collected from IGN users, showed that 17% of the users purchased a PlayStation Network game in June, up from 13% in March. EEDAR also found that even without the freebies, 15% of users purchased a PSN game in June, up from 13% in March.
This indicates that the Welcome Back program brought gamers back to the PSN and ready to buy. Good will gesture aside, Sony had a vested interest in putting its user base back in a spending mood, and it apparently paid off.
The report also found that some of the free games, namely LittleBigPlanet and Infamous, spurred interest in their sequels. Dead Nation also saw an uptick in purchase intent for a sequel, even though a sequel doesn't exist. EEDAR suggests that releasing older games for free may be a smart strategy to support sequels, and that taking the loss would result in a net benefit.
However, the report also concludes that this uptick in digital sales may have negatively impacted physical releases during the same period. This point is speculative, but EEDAR claims it's a logical assumption. We may get a clearer picture once the NPD figures for June are released.