|Developer||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Launch date||November 11, 2006|
Video game consoles and handhelds
|Members||110 million (65 million active monthly)|
PlayStation Network (PSN) is a digital media entertainment service provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Launched in November 2006, PSN was originally conceived for the PlayStation video game consoles, but soon extended to encompass smartphones, tablets, Blu-ray players and high-definition televisions. As of April 2016, over 110 million users have been documented, with 65 million of them active monthly.
PlayStation Network's services are dedicated to an online marketplace (PlayStation Store), a premium subscription service for enhanced gaming and social features (PlayStation Plus), movie streaming, rentals and purchases (PlayStation Video), a cloud-based television programming service (PlayStation Vue), music streaming (PlayStation Music) and a cloud gaming service (PlayStation Now).
Launched in the year 2000, Sony's second home console, the PlayStation 2, had rudimentary online features in select games via its online network. It required a network adaptor, which was available as an add-on for original models and integrated into the hardware on slimline models. However, Sony provided no unified service for the system, so support for network features was specific to each game and third-party server, and there was no interoperability of cross-game presence. Five years later during the development stage for its third home console, the PlayStation 3, Sony expressed their intent to build upon the functionality of its predecessor by creating a new interconnected service that keeps users constantly in touch with a "PlayStation World" network. In March 2006, Sony officially introduced its unified online service, tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform". A list of supporting features was announced at the Tokyo Game Show later the same year.
Sony launched an optional premium subscription service on top of the free PSN service in June 2010. Known as PlayStation Plus, the system provides access to exclusive content, complimentary games, regular store discounts, and early access to forthcoming games.
Following a security intrusion, the PlayStation Network had a temporary suspension of operation which began on April 20, 2011 and affected 77 million registered accounts. Lasting 23 days, this outage was the longest amount of time the PSN had been offline since its inception in 2006. Sony reported that user data had been obtained during the intrusion. In June 2011, Sony launched a "Welcome Back" program following the outage, allowing all PSN subscribers who joined prior to April 20 to download two free PlayStation 3 titles and two free PlayStation portable games. Users also received 30 free days of PlayStation Plus, while users who were already subscribed before the outage got 60 free days. After the disruption, Sony changed the PlayStation Network's license agreement to legally bar users from filing lawsuits and joining class action lawsuits without first trying to resolve issues with an arbitrator.
In July 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that they had acquired video game streaming service Gaikai for $380 million. The acquisition was later strengthened when Sony acquired the assets of Gaikai's market rival OnLive. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2014, Sony announced that Gaikai's technology would be used to power PlayStation Now; a new cloud-based gaming service that allows people to play PlayStation games on a variety of devices. During 2014, Sony rolled out the service in North America on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in beta form as a means for users to test performance and pricing structures.
On December 25, 2014, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live suffered network disruption after a denial-of-service attack. Both services were flooded with millions of inauthentic connection requests, making it hard for genuine users to establish a connection. Functionality was restored on December 26, with some users experiencing difficulties in the days that followed. On January 1, 2015, Sony announced that users would be compensated for the downtime with a 5-day extension to PlayStation Plus memberships.
Formerly the gaming provision of the much broader Sony Entertainment Network, the PlayStation Network became Sony's premier entertainment service in 2015, unifying games, music, television and video. While synonymous with gaming, Sony said the PlayStation Network had evolved to become a "comprehensive digital entertainment brand".
The PlayStation Network is available as both a free and subscription-based service, known as PlayStation Plus. A comparison of free and premium services:
|Feature||PSN Free||PS Plus||Additional requirements||PlayStation Vita||PlayStation 3||PlayStation 4|
|Cloud game saves||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
| Game DVR
|Instant Game Collection||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
| Live broadcasting
Dailymotion, Niconico, Twitch, Ustream, YouTube Live
| Media sharing
Dailymotion, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, USB flash drive
|Remote Play||Yes||Yes||Companion device||Yes||Yes||Yes|
| Social hub
|First-party apps and entertainment services|
|PlayStation App||N/A||N/A||Mobile device||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|PlayStation Messages||N/A||N/A||Mobile device||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Live Events Viewer[a]||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Live from PlayStation||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
| PlayStation Music
|The Playroom||Yes||Yes||PlayStation Camera||No||No||Yes|
|UEFA Champions League||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|A selection of third-party apps and entertainment services (expand)|
|NBA Game Time||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|NFL Sunday Ticket||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Red Bull TV||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|SBS on Demand||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
| TV from Sky[a]
|UFC Fight Pass||Yes||Yes||No||No||Planned|
^ a Various rental/subscription fees may apply
- Friends list, allowing for 100 friends on PS3 and up to 2000 friends on PS4 and PS Vita.
- Instant messaging.
- Online gaming, including cooperative and competitive multiplayer, matchmaking and cross-platform play in supported titles.
- Live from PlayStation: Browse live or archived game streams.
- Parental controls, limiting access to age restricted content and shopping cart, including block list, for barring other users from contact.
- Portable ID: A small infographic, showcasing a user's Online ID and trophy level, intended for use as a forum signature.
- Remote Play: A Sony Xperia smartphone, tablet or the PlayStation Vita can be used for streaming gameplay video from PlayStation 4 to handheld, allowing supported games to be played remotely, around a household or away from home.
- Share Play allows users to invite an online friend to join their game session, even if they do not own a copy of the game.
- Trophy achievement system.
- Live Events Viewer: Watch sport, music and entertainment events on-demand
- PlayStation Music: Streaming music service in partnership with Spotify
- PlayStation Now: Streaming video game service, offering members access to a library of 100+ PlayStation 3 games
- PlayStation Video: Streaming movie service
- PlayStation Vue: Streaming television service, providing live and catch-up TV
- PlayStation App: Allows iOS and Android mobile devices to access the PlayStation Network, view live streams and interact with online friends.
- ShareFactory: A video, screenshot and music editor that allows players to stitch together their favorate gaming moments.
- The Playroom: Play a collection of augmented reality mini-games, or turn your living room into a TV studio and broadcast live.
Signing up to the PlayStation Network is free. Two types of accounts can be created: Master accounts and Sub accounts. A master account allows full access to all settings, including parental controls. Sub accounts can subsequently be created (e.g. for children) with desired restrictions set by the master account holder. A sub account holder has the option to upgrade their account once they reach 18 years of age.
An Online ID is one's username on the PlayStation Network. It can range from 3 to 16 characters in length and consist of letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores. A user's Online ID is central to your PSN profile and is displayed when playing online games and using other network features. It must be unique, inoffensive and cannot be altered.
Users have the option to disclose their real name aside their Online ID, add a personal description, exhibit a profile picture or avatar, and list all spoken languages. Profiles also include a summary of a player's Trophy level and recent activity. PlayStation 4 users have the additional option to tie a Facebook account to their PlayStation Network account, and their profile picture will automatically update whenever they change their Facebook picture. Profiles can be viewed via the user interface or online through the PlayStation website.
Trophies are in-game awards presented to players for hitting specific targets or reaching certain milestones (e.g. completing a difficult level or defeating a certain number of enemies). There are four different types of trophy awarded. A bronze, silver or gold trophy is contingent upon the difficulty of the accomplishment, with each reward contributing to a level system attached to a player's profile. A platinum trophy is presented to the player once they unlock all other trophies in a game. In addition, each trophy is graded by popularity—common, rare, very rare, and ultra rare—based on the percentage of people who have unlocked it. Developers can choose to make various trophies hidden so that its value and description are not revealed until after the user has discovered it.
- Portable IDs
A Portable ID is a small infographic intended for use as a forum signature. The graphic showcases a user's trophy level and number of trophies awarded. Each user is able to log-in to their PSN account using a web browser to access and customize their Portable ID, and are then given a unique URL which they can cut & paste to display their ID elsewhere on the internet. Several third-party websites offer similar graphics (commonly referred to as "trophy cards") as both free and paid services which either update automatically or are updated manually by the user.
|Developer||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Type||Premium online service|
|Launch date||June 29, 2010|
|Last updated||October 4, 2016|
|Members||20.8 million (as of March 31, 2016)|
PlayStation Plus is a paid PlayStation Network subscription service that provides users with access to premium features. These extras include early access to upcoming games, beta trials, regular store discounts, and the ability to have system software updates and game patches download automatically to the console. As part of the subscription, members are given six games every month—typically two for each platform—and 10 GB of internet storage space for up to 1,000 saved game files. In 2013, Sony announced that PlayStation 4 online multiplayer will require a subscription to PlayStation Plus. Users may choose a monthly, three-month or annual subscription.
Instant Game Collection
Membership in the PlayStation Plus service includes access to a rolling selection of free games, known as the Instant Game Collection. New titles are made available every month, while older games are withdrawn from the collection. Members can keep all games in the Instant Game Collection as long as they are a member of PlayStation Plus. If their membership lapses, these games will become locked and unplayable. However, once the membership is renewed, the games will become unlocked again. The longer a user is a member, the larger their game collection will become. In 2014, PlayStation Plus provided more than $1,300 worth of games in the Instant Game Collection, while competing service Xbox Live provided $584 worth of games.
The PlayStation Store is a digital media shop that offers a range of downloadable content both for purchase and available free of charge. This includes full games, free-to-play games, add-ons, demos, music, movies and background themes. The store is updated with new releases each Tuesday in North America and each Wednesday in PAL regions. The store accepts physical currency, PayPal transfers and network cards.
Prepaid network cards
PlayStation Network Cards are a form of electronic money that can be used with the PlayStation Store. Each card, or ticket, contains an alphanumeric code which can be entered on the PlayStation Network to deposit credit in a virtual wallet. Sony devised the payment method for people without access to a credit card, and PlayStation owners who would like to send or receive such cards as gifts. The tickets are available via online retailers, convenience stores, electronic kiosks and post office ATMs.
Sony introduced 'cross-buy' in 2012, whereby a game available for multiple PlayStation devices needs only to be purchased once. Players who download the PlayStation 3 version of a game can also transfer to the PlayStation Vita or PlayStation 4 version, at no extra cost, and vice versa. Users have immediate access to supported titles in their digital game library, even when they upgrade to the newest system.
PlayStation Blog is an online PlayStation focused gaming blog which is part of the PlayStation Network. Launched in June 2007, regular content includes game announcements, developer interviews and store updates. A sub-site of the blog called PlayStation.Blog Share was launched in March 2010 and allows PSN users to submit ideas to the PlayStation team about anything PlayStation-related as well as vote on the ideas of other submissions.
The Official PlayStation Blogcast is a weekly audio program that is produced by the North American PlayStation blog. The podcast usually features Sid Shuman, Nick Suttner, Ryan Clements and Justin Massongill. The program often features guest appearances and interviews with figures in the gaming industry. The crew usually announces PlayStation content and PlayStation Store sneak peeks along with answering PSN user submitted questions, or "player queries" as they are often called on the podcast.
The PlayStation Store is locally available in 70 countries. It is possible for non-supported regions to access the PlayStation Network if a user provides an address located in a country where PSN is officially available.
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
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