PlayStation Store users downloaded more games in June 2011 than before the PSN closure, reports EEDAR.
Based on a sample of IGN users, the report found that 17 per cent of users had downloaded a game from the PlayStation Store last month, compared to 13 per cent in March, before the shut down of PlayStation's online services.
The Welcome Back scheme allowed gamers with a PSN account to download two free games from a set selection, Infamous, LittleBigPlanet, Dead Nation and Wipeout.
Even when the four free titles were omitted, 15% of those surveyed has downloaded a PSN game, suggesting paid for games were also positively affected by the scheme. PlayStation's share of games purchased by consumers also increased from March to June, from 40 per cent to 44 per cent. Again, even with the free games removed from the analysis, the share had still increased by 1 per cent.
"While this increase in market share is small, the fact that the PlayStation 3 market share increased both with and without the free offerings indicates that the Welcome Back Program likely boosted sales of other paid content, specifically those available either exclusively through download or those that had a physical or digital purchase options."
EEDAR's report also notes that scheme may have had a negative impact on retail, as opposed to digital, sales in June.
The research lead EEDAR to recommend that publishers make older versions of games free to users for limited periods around the release of sequels or follow ups. It's sources indicated that games like LittleBigPlanet 2 benefited from having an earlier iteration released as part of the free scheme.
"In one case, it increased the awareness and possible purchase intent of sequels even though a sequel was non-existent (i.e. Dead Nation 2)."
Research firm EEDAR produces GamePulse, an information service that provides analysis, review scores and customer data to the video games industry.