|Developer||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Launch date||November 11, 2006|
|Last updated||January 15, 2015|
52 million active monthly
PlayStation Network, officially abbreviated PSN, is an online gaming and digital media delivery service provided by Sony Computer Entertainment for use with the PlayStation family of video game consoles, Sony tablet and smartphones. The PlayStation Network is the gaming provision of the much broader Sony Entertainment Network.
Sony's second home console, the PlayStation 2, had a limited number of 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, unlike the network of its competitor, SegaNet, Sony provided no unified service for the system, so support for network features was specific to each game 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 brings the "PlayStation World" together, with an emphasis on community, communication and content. In March 2006, Sony officially announced the online network for its upcoming system at the PlayStation Business Briefing conference in Tokyo, Japan, tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform". A list of supporting features was announced at the Tokyo Game Show later the same year.
In May 2007, Sony Computer Entertainment introduced PlayStation Network Cards, a form of electronic money that can be used with the Store. Each ticket contains an alphanumeric code which can be inputted on the PlayStation Network to deposit credit in a virtual wallet. The tickets are available via electronic kiosks, convenience stores and post office ATMs throughout Japan. A similar system based around cards rather than tickets was introduced in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Mid 2007, in North America in early 2008, in Malaysia in June 2009, and in the UK and Eurozone in October 2009.
On June 29, 2010, Sony launched a premium subscription service on top of the free PSN service. Known as PlayStation Plus, the system provides access to exclusive content, as well as regular store discounts, complimentary games and other content such as background themes.
Following a major 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.
On July 2, 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that they had acquired online video game streaming service Gaikai for $380 million USD. Throughout 2013, Sony stated their intention to use Gaikai's technology to stream PlayStation games. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2014, Sony announced that Gaikai's technology would be used to power what would officially be called PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now is a service where people can play video games via internet streaming on select PlayStation devices along with non-Sony devices like phones and televisions in the future. During 2014, Sony started to roll out the PlayStation Now 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, both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live suffered network disruption after a denial-of-service attack. 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.
A comparison of PlayStation Network free and premium services.
|Feature||PSN Free||PlayStation Plus||Additional requirements||PlayStation Vita||PlayStation 3||PlayStation 4||Countries available|
|Cloud game saves||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Dailymotion, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
|Instant Game Collection||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Twitch, Ustream, Niconico
|Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Third streaming option Niconico available in JPN|
|Remote Play||Yes||Yes||Companion device||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|First-party apps and entertainment services|
|PlayStation App||N/A||N/A||Mobile device||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Crackle||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||CAN, MEX, USA|
|Live Events Viewer[a]||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||USA|
|The Playroom||Yes||Yes||PlayStation Camera||No||No||Yes|
|A selection of third-party apps and entertainment services (main list)|
|Amazon Instant Video[a]||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||CAN, GER, UK, USA|
|Crunchyroll||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||CAN, MEX, USA|
|Gamereactor||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||AUS, DEN, ESP, FIN, GER, IRE, ITA, NZ, NOR, POR, SA, SWE, UK|
|Hulu Plus||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||CAN, USA, JPN|
|IGN||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||CAN, RSA, MEX, USA, UK|
|MLB.tv[a]||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||CAN, MEX, USA|
|NBA Game Time||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||ARG, BRA, CAN, CHI, DOM, MEX, JPN, USA|
|NFL Sunday Ticket||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|NHL GameCenter Live||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||CAN, USA|
|TV from Sky[a]
|UFC Fight Pass||Yes||Yes||No||No||Planned|
- Friends list, allowing for 100 friends on PS3 and up to 2000 friends on PS4
- Block list, for barring other users from contact
- Instant messaging
- Online gaming, including cooperative and competitive multiplayer, matchmaking and cross-platform play in supported titles
- Live from PlayStation: Browse live and archived game streams, or living room broadcasts
- Parental controls, limiting access to age restricted content and shopping cart
- Portable ID: A small infographic, showcasing a user's Online ID and trophy level, intended for use as a forum signature
- Remote Play: Activate your PlayStation 4 from a distance away, and continue playing on a secondary screen, such as PS Vita or Sony smartphone
- Share Play: Invite an online friend to join your game session, even if they do not own a copy of the game
- Trophy achievement system
- PlayStation App: Allows iOS and Android mobile devices to access the PlayStation Network, display in-game maps, access live streams and interact with online friends
- ShareFactory: A video, screenshot and music editor that allows you to customize your most memorable gaming moments
- The Playroom: Play a collection of augmented reality mini-games, or turn your living room into a TV studio and broadcast live
- Live Events Viewer: Watch sport, music and entertainment events live or on-demand
- Music Unlimited: Streaming music service superseded by the PlayStation Music partnership with Spotify.
- Video Unlimited: Streaming movie service
- PlayStation Now: Streaming video game service, offering members access to a library of 100+ PlayStation 3 games
- PlayStation Vue: Streaming television service, providing live, on-demand and catch-up TV
An Online ID is your username on the PlayStation Network. It can range from 3 to 16 characters in length and consist of letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores. Your Online ID is central to your PSN profile and is displayed when you play online games and use other network features. It must be unique 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.
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, PlayStation Network Cards, and PayPal transfers.
|Developer||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Type||Premium online service|
|Launch date||June 29, 2010|
|Last updated||February 3, 2015|
|Members||10.9 million (as of January 2, 2015)|
PlayStation Plus is a paid PlayStation Network subscription service that provides users with access to premium features. These extras include the ability to have game patches and system software updates download automatically to the console, early or exclusive access to some betas and demos, full game trials, and regular store discounts. Other bonuses are also made available. As part of the subscription, members are given six games every month—typically two for each platform—and 3 GB of internet storage space for up to 1,000 saved game files. Users may choose a monthly, three-month or annual subscription. In 2013, Sony announced that PlayStation 4 online multiplayer will require a subscription to PlayStation Plus.
Instant Game Collection
Membership in the PlayStation Plus service includes access to a rolling selection of games. New titles are made available every month, while older games are withdrawn from the collection. Members can keep all of the games in the collection as long as they are a member of PlayStation Plus. If their membership lapses, the 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 gave away over $1,300 in free games to subscribers, while competing service Xbox Live gave away $584.
PlayStation Blog is an online PlayStation focused gaming blog which is part of the PlayStation Network. It was launched on June 11, 2007 and since its launch it has featured numerous interviews with both third-party companies such as Square Enix as well as posts from high-ranking Sony Computer Entertainment executives such as Jack Tretton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment. A sub-site of the blog called PlayStation.Blog Share was launched on March 17, 2010 and allowed readers of the blog as well as users of the PlayStation Blog 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.
PlayStation Home is a virtual 3D social network gaming service for the PlayStation Network available on the PlayStation 3. Launched in December 2008, Home allows users to create a custom avatar, which can be groomed realistically. Users can edit and decorate their personal apartments, avatars, or club houses with free, premium, or won content. Users can shop for new items or win prizes from PS3 games, or Home activities. Users interact and connect with friends and customise content in a virtual world. Home also acts as a meeting place for users that want to play multiplayer games with others. In August 2014, Sony Japan announced the service would be shutting down in Japan and other Asian territories, and Sony America and Europe followed suit the next month. The official closure of Home will occur worldwide on March 31, 2015.
What's New was released on September 1, 2009, with PlayStation 3 system software 3.00. The feature was to replace the existing [Information Board], which displayed news from the PlayStation website associated with the user's region. The concept was developed further into a major PlayStation Network feature, with the [Status Indicator] featuring some of What's New (currently in North America, Japan and Brazil only).
The system displays the What's New screen by default instead of the [Games] menu (or [Video] menu, if a movie was inserted) when starting up. What's New automatically animates even without opening the application, just by hovering over it. The application has four sections: "Our Pick", "Recently Played", and new content available in PlayStation Store. There are four kinds of content the What's New screen displays and links to, on the sections. "Recently Played" displays the user's recently played games and online services only, whereas, the other sections can contain website links, links to play videos, and access to selected sections of the PlayStation Store.
The PlayStation Store icons in the [Game] and [Video] section similarly to the What's New screen, except that they only display and link to games and the Video Store in the PlayStation Store, respectively.
As of January 2015, PlayStation Network is currently 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.
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