PlayStation Network

PlayStation Network
Developer Sony Interactive Entertainment
Type Online service
Launch date November 11, 2006 (2006-11-11)
Platform Video game consoles and handhelds Social Devices
Members 70 million active monthly (as of May 23, 2017)[1]
Website Official website

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 70 million of them active monthly.[2][1]

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, powered by Spotify) 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.[3] In March 2006, Sony officially introduced its unified online service, tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform".[4] A list of supporting features was announced at the Tokyo Game Show later the same year.[5]

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.[6] Lasting 23 days, this outage was the longest amount of time the PSN had been offline since its inception in 2006.[7] Sony reported that user data had been obtained during the intrusion.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11]

On December 25, 2014, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live suffered network disruption after a denial-of-service attack.[12] 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.[13] On January 1, 2015, Sony announced that users would be compensated for the downtime with a 5-day extension to PlayStation Plus memberships.[14]

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".[15] The SEN name is still used in some places.

Network chart

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[16] Additional requirements PlayStation Vita PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4
Auto-updates Yes/No[c] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Avatars Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cloud game saves No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free-to-play games Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Game DVR
1 hour
Yes Yes No No Yes
Instant Game Collection No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Live broadcasting
Dailymotion, Niconico, Twitch, Ustream, YouTube Live
Yes Yes No No Yes
Media sharing
Dailymotion, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, USB flash drive
Yes Yes No No Yes
Online multi-player Yes/No[b] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Remote Play Yes Yes Companion device Yes Yes Yes
Share Play No Yes No No Yes
Social hub
Yes Yes No No Yes
Voice/party chat Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Voice messaging Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Web browser Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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
Animax Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Crackle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Live from PlayStation Yes Yes Yes No Yes
PlayMemories Yes Yes No Yes Yes
PlayStation Music
Yes Yes No Yes Yes
PlayStation Now[a] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
PlayStation Video[a] Yes Yes No Yes Yes
PlayStation Vue Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Share Factory Yes Yes No No Yes
The Playroom Yes Yes PlayStation Camera No No Yes
UEFA Champions League Yes Yes No No Yes
VidZone Yes Yes No Yes Yes
A selection of third-party apps and entertainment services (expand)
ABC iview Yes Yes No Yes Yes
All 4 Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Amazon Video[a] Yes Yes No Yes Yes
AnimeLab Yes Yes No Yes Yes
BBC iPlayer Yes Yes No Yes Yes
beIN Sports Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Blockbuster[a] Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Crunchyroll Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dish Network Yes Yes No Yes Yes
EPIX Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Foxtel Play Yes Yes No Yes Yes
HBO Go Yes Yes No Yes Yes
HBO Now[17] Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Hulu Plus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[a] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NBA Game Time Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Netflix[a] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NFL Sunday Ticket Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Now TV Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Plex Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Plus7 Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Pluto TV Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Qello Concerts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Redbox Instant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Red Bull TV Yes Yes No Yes Yes
SBS on Demand Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Spotify Yes Yes No Yes Yes
TV from Sky[a]
Sky Go
Yes Yes No Yes Yes
UFC Fight Pass Yes Yes No No Planned
Vudu Yes Yes No Yes Yes
WatchESPN Yes Yes No No Yes
WWE Network Yes Yes No Yes Yes
YouTube Yes Yes Discontinued Yes Yes
YuppTV Yes Yes No Yes Yes

^ a Various rental/subscription fees may apply
^ b PlayStation Plus membership required on PlayStation 4 (free-to-play titles exempt)
^ c PlayStation Plus membership required on PlayStation 3


  • 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.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • Trophy in-game award 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.[21]
  • The Playroom: Play a collection of augmented reality mini-games, or turn your living room into a TV studio and broadcast live.[22]

User information

Sign up

Signing up to the PlayStation Network is free. Two types of accounts can be created: Master accounts and Sub accounts.[23] 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.[24] A sub account holder has the option to upgrade their account once they reach 18 years of age.[25] Sony encourage registrants to use a unique email and strong password not associated with other online services.[26][27]

Online ID

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 awarded to the player once they unlock all other trophies in the base game; smaller sized games, however, generally do not have a platinum trophy. 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 obtained it.[28]

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 into 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.[18] 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.[29]

PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus
Developer Sony Computer Entertainment
Type Premium online service
Launch date June 29, 2010
Last updated May 1, 2018
Platform PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Vita
Members 34.2 million (as of March 31, 2018)[30]

PlayStation Plus, abbreviated to PS Plus, is a paid-for 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. PlayStation 4 online multiplayer requires a subscription to PlayStation Plus.[31] Users may choose a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription.[32]

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.[33] In 2014, PlayStation Plus provided more than $1,300 worth of games in the Instant Game Collection,[34] while competing service Xbox Live provided $584 worth of games.[35] Starting in March 2019 Sony will no longer include PS3 or Vita games in the collection.[36]

PlayStation Store

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.[37]

Prepaid network cards

PlayStation Network Cards are a form of electronic money that can be used with the PlayStation Store.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40]

PlayStation Blog

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.[41] 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.[42][43]


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.[44]

Original programming

Beginning in the spring of 2015, PlayStation Network begin to produce and distribute their own original content. The first original scripted program, Powers, premiered on March 10, 2015 and ran for two full seasons.[45] The series was cancelled on August 3, 2016.[46]

In June 2017, it was announced that Sony was launching the Emerging Filmmakers Program where members of the public can submit pitches for potential television series to be aired on PlayStation Network. Submissions were due on August 1, 2017 and five of the ideas will be turned into pilot episodes that will be voted on by the PlayStation community.[47]


The PlayStation Store is locally available in 74 countries.[48] 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.

See also


  1. 1 2 "FY2017 Corporate Strategy Meeting" (PDF). 23 May 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  2. "Number of registered PlayStation Network accounts reaches 110 million". PlayStationLifeStyle. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. Tor Thorsen. PlayStation 3 announced for 2006, GameSpot, May 16, 2005.
  4. Hirohiko Niizumi. PlayStation Network Platform detailed, GameSpot, March 15, 2006.
  5. Shoemaker, Brad (2006-09-21). "Sony TGS 2006 keynote speech". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  6. "PlayStation Network and Qriocity Outage FAQ – PlayStation.Blog.Europe". Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  7. "PlayStation Knowledge Center | Support -". 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  8. "Update on PlayStation Network and Qriocity". SCEA PlayStation. 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  9. Brett Molina, USA Today. "Sony launches 'Welcome Back' program for PSN users." June 3, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  10. "Sony asks gamers to sign new terms or face PSN ban". BBC News. London. 2011-09-16. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  11. Eric Johnson. Sony Acquires OnLive’s Cloud Gaming Patents,, April 2, 2015.
  12. Ghoshal, Abhimanyu (25 December 2014). "PlayStation Network and Xbox Live down for many over Christmas". Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  13. Jensen, Catherine (27 December 2014). "PlayStation Network Update". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  14. Martin, Michael (January 1, 2015). "Sony rewards PSN users' patience with free five day extension". IGN. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  15. Sal Romano. PlayStation Network becomes center of Sony entertainment services,, January 28, 2015.
  16. Join PlayStation Plus,
  17. Dwayne Benefield. PS Vue: HBO, Cinemax, New Ultra Plan Arrive Today,, September 29, 2016.
  18. 1 2 Ed Easton. Design Your Own Portable ID,, 21 April 2011.
  19. Loveridge, Sam (September 4, 2014). "Sony Xperia Z3 Remote Play: How to play PS4 games on your phone". Trusted Reviews. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  20. Isabelle Tomatis. PS4's Share Play feature in action,, October 24, 2014.
  21. Scott McCarthy. SHAREfactory: Share your greatest moments,, 16 April 2014.
  22. Nicolas Doucet. Turn Your Living Room into a Broadcast Studio,, June 11, 2014.
  23. Sub accounts and master accounts,
  24. Limitations of Sub Accounts,, November 21. 2014.
  25. Eric Lempel. Upgrade Sub Accounts to Master Accounts,, February 12, 2015.
  26. Password Requirements, PlayStation Network
  27. Brendan Sinclair. Sony asks users to reset passwords,, December 5, 2013. "We encourage you to create a complex unique password that you have not used before or isn't the same password as those associated with other online services."
  28. "Firmware v2.40 Walkthrough Part 2: The XMB". Sony. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  29. "PS3 Trophy Card Generator".
  31. E3 2013: PlayStation Plus Required for PS4 Online Play. IGN (2013-06-10). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  32. Jim Reilly (June 24, 2010). "First PlayStation Plus Details". IGN. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  33. PlayStation Plus Introduction. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  34. Good, Owen S. (13 December 2014). "PlayStation Plus gave away more than $1,300 in free games in 2014". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  35. Good, Owen S. (13 December 2014). "Xbox Live gave away $584 worth of games in 2014". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  36. Sarkar, Samit. "PlayStation Plus dropping PS3 and Vita games in 2019 (update)". Polygon. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  37. "Sony "Leveraging" PSN Services for Other Sony Electronics". 2010-07-01. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
  38. PlayStation Network cards,
  39. Lempel, Eric (2007-12-14). "PlayStation Network Cards are coming". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  40. Chris Reed. Cross-Buy, Cross-Save, and Remote Play Explained,, March 30, 2015.
  41. Patrick Seybold (June 11, 2007). "Welcome, You've Been Waiting". PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  42. PlayStation.Blog Share,
  43. Patrick Seybold (March 17, 2010). "Introducing PlayStation.Blog Share". PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  44. PlayStation blogcast – Archive.
  45. Bendis, Brian. "Powers Premieres March 10th, Only on PlayStation". Playstation. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  46. "'Powers' canceled by PlayStation Network". August 3, 2016.
  47. Cooper, Daniel. "Sony crowdsources ideas for its next PlayStation TV series". Engadget. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  48. PlayStation country selector,
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