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 94 million of them active monthly as of May 2019.
|Developer||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Launch date||November 11, 2006|
|Platform||Video game consoles and handhelds|
|Members||94 million active monthly (as of May, 2019)|
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). The service is available in 73 territories.
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 SEN name is still used in some places.
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. Sony encourage registrants to use a unique email and strong password not associated with other online services.
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. In April 2019, Sony enabled users to change their online PSN ID.
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.
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. 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.
Trophies are in-game awards presented to gamers 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.
|Developer||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Type||Premium online service|
|Launch date||June 29, 2010|
|Last updated||July 2, 2019|
|Members||36.9 million (as of September 30, 2019)|
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 two PlayStation 4 games every month and 100 GB of internet storage space for saved game files. PlayStation 4 online multiplayer requires a subscription to PlayStation Plus, free-to-play games excluded. Users may choose a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription.
Membership 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 games in the collection as long as they are a member of PlayStation Plus. If their membership lapses, these games will become inaccessible. Once 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 US$1,300 worth of games in the Instant Game Collection.
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.
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.
The 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.
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. The series was cancelled on August 3, 2016.
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 would be turned into pilot episodes that will be voted on by the PlayStation community.
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