The Cerberus Network is an in-game portal for purchasers of Mass Effect 2 to download content and read news.
Confirming yesterday's rumor, BioWare announced that the Cerberus Network will go live when Mass Effect 2 launches in North America on January 26th. You will be able to access the Network in the game by entering a single-use code that will be given to all retail and digital purchasers of the game. Doing so will allow you download free content at launch such as new missions, items and a new character, a gritty bounty hunter called Zaeed. After launch, more downloadable content will be available on the Cerberus Network, but there is no word on how much it will cost.
"The Cerberus Network augments and extends the rich universe of Mass Effect 2," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare. "We're thrilled to be able to reward loyal BioWare and Mass Effect fans with ongoing, high quality content and provide a direct channel for our players to dive deeper into the intriguing lore of Mass Effect."
BioWare is certainly experimenting with DLC for its recent titles. When Dragon Age launched in November, there was a large amount of DLC available if you were inclined to purchase it, a gamble which appears to have been successful. With the Cerberus Network, BioWare also might be trying to limit piracy, as well as the used game market. People who are playing a cracked or used copy won't be able to experience the "complete" game.