Playstation Plus

Not to be confused with Sony Entertainment Network.
"PSN" redirects here. For other uses, see PSN (disambiguation).
PlayStation Network
Developer Sony Computer Entertainment
Type Online service
Launch date November 11, 2006
Last Updated October 1, 2013 (details)
Platform PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Vita
PlayStation Mobile
Members 110 million[1]
Website Official NZ Website

PlayStation Network, officially abbreviated PSN, is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service provided by Sony Computer Entertainment for use with the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita video game consoles.[2] The PlayStation Network is the video game portion of the Sony Entertainment Network.

History

Sony's second 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, Sony provided no unified online service for the system, so support for network features was specific to each game and there was no interoperability of cross-game presence.

In March 2006, Sony announced the online network for its upcoming PlayStation 3 system at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo, Japan,[3] tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform". Sony also stated that the service would always be connected,[4] free,[5] and include multiplayer support.[6] The full list of features available at launch was announced at their TGS 2006 press conference. When the network launched, the registration interface could only be accessed through the PS3 or PSP system interfaces.[7] This has been changed since to allow users to sign up from the PlayStation Network website.

At the Tokyo Game Show on September 21, 2006, Sony announced that users would be able to download some PlayStation and PSP titles from the PlayStation Network for about US$5–15, starting with those with the smallest game data.[8]

On May 8, 2007 Sony Computer Entertainment announced PlayStation Network Cards,[9] a form of electronic money that can be used with the Store. PlayStation Network Tickets, available in units of 1,000, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen, can be purchased at convenience stores throughout Japan.[10] Each ticket contains a 12 character alphanumeric code which can be input on the PlayStation Network to place credits in the virtual wallet.[11] The tickets are available through electronic kiosks at 26,000 convenience stores, including Lawsons, Family Mart, Daily Yamazaki, Ministop and Sunkus.[12] They are also available at 26,000 post office ATMs, although registration at a special mobile website is required first.[12]

A similar system based around cards rather than tickets was introduced in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Mid 2007,[13] in North America in early 2008,[14] in Malaysia in June 2009 (in conjunction with the launch of the Malaysian PlayStation Store), 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 discounts on games, free games, and other free content such as themes for the PlayStation 3.

On September 15, 2011, Sony changed the PlayStation Network's license agreement to legally bar users from filing lawsuits and joining class action lawsuits.[15][16][17]

2011 security breach and outage

Main article: PlayStation Network outage

The PlayStation Network had an outage which began on April 20, 2011 and affected 77 million registered accounts,[18] is the longest amount of time the PSN has been offline since its inception in 2006.[19] Sony acknowledged that the outage prevented users from having the "ability to enjoy the services provided by PlayStation Network and Qriocity including online gaming and online access to music, movies, sports and TV shows", making it temporarily unavailable.[20]

While remaining offline, the PlayStation 3 was unable to play certain Capcom titles that were downloaded from the PlayStation Store.[21] Streaming video providers Hulu, Vudu and Netflix were noted to display the same maintenance message and may have been inaccessible for a time, however many users were still able to access the services.[22]

Sony reported on April 26, 2011 that user data had been obtained by the same hack that resulted in the downtime. This included names, addresses, email addresses, birthdays, PlayStation Network passwords and logins. It was also possible that profile data, including purchase histories, billing addresses and PlayStation Network password security answers may have been obtained. Sony proceeded to give step-by-step guidelines on how US users could obtain a credit report, place a fraud alert, and freeze their credit file through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion in an effort to prevent identity theft.[23][24]

On May 1, Sony issued a press release and their sincerest apologies stating that the PlayStation Network would shortly begin a "phased restoration", starting with gaming, music and video services.[25] Sony also announced "a series of immediate steps to enhance security across the network and a new customer appreciation program to thank its customers for their patience and loyalty".[26] On May 5, Sony announced that they would be offering all PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders in the United States one free year of AllClear ID Plus, an identity theft protection program powered by Debix.[27]

On May 14, 2011, Sony began regionally restoring the PlayStation Network and released a mandatory security firmware update that required users to update their passwords.[28]

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.[29]

In January 2013, the U.K. data protection watchdog (Information Commissioner's Office) fined Sony for the April 2011 breach. The fine totaled close to $400,000. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe initially appealed against the ruling but later abandoned their appeal stating that fighting the judgement would risk exposing sensitive security data.[30]

Services

The full list of current services for PlayStation Network and PlayStation Plus are as follows:

Canceled services:

User information

Online ID

An online ID is the player's username on the PlayStation Network.[43] An online ID used online must be unique and can be from 3 up to 16 characters long, including numbers, letters, hyphens and underscores. Online IDs cannot be changed and the system supports one PlayStation Network account per user (of which there can be sixteen). Online IDs are not to be confused with the system's usernames. Each user can be named (and renamed), and the online ID is connected to that user.

Online IDs also contain avatars,[44] often associated with certain games or game characters. Downloadable avatars (including premium ones) were made possible with firmware 3.0,[45] but will be made available on the PlayStation Store in time. These avatars are not to be confused with the PlayStation Home avatars, which are 3D representations of the user only used in Home.

Portable IDs

A Portable ID is a small, automatically generated graphic available to PlayStation Network users in Europe and North America through their respective PlayStation websites.[46][47] Intended for use as forum signatures and the like, these graphics contain information such as the user's trophy level, number of trophies and recently obtained trophies. Each user is able to log into their PSN account using a web browser to access and customize their personal Portable ID and are then given a unique URL for the graphic which they can use to display their ID elsewhere on the internet. The graphic is automatically updated regularly to display recent trophy information.[48] Several third-party websites offer similar graphics (commonly referred to as "trophy cards") as both free and paid services which either update the graphic automatically from the user's official Portable ID, from the PlayStation Network or are updated manually by the user.[49]

User profile

The PlayStation Network profile is an information panel used to summarize certain PSN information.[44] The information displayed on these profiles includes the user's avatar and PSN name as well as information such as languages and an "About me" section if the user chooses to provide it. User profiles can display a comment, similar to a Facebook status, which can show a short message. However, the comment can only be viewed if a player is online. The profile also includes a summary of the player's Trophy Level, the eight most recently collected Trophies and the number of Trophies the player has collected. A player's user profile can be viewed via the XrossMediaBar, or online through the PlayStation website.

Trophies

See List of PlayStation 3 games and List of downloadable PlayStation 3 games for a list of titles that support PlayStation 3 Trophies and Achievement (video gaming) for a general description of the concept of achievements/trophies in video gaming.

"Trophies" are an achievement tracking system, introduced to the PlayStation 3 in system software update 2.40 in July 2008.[50] The portable console PlayStation Vita is the second console to feature Trophy support for games.[51][52] The PlayStation 4 is also confirmed to have Trophy support.[53]

There are four different types of Trophies awarded—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum—which are awarded to players for making specific accomplishments (e.g. completing a level or defeating a certain number of enemies) or reaching certain milestones in games (e.g. reaching a "pro" rank online). Developers can also choose to make certain Trophies hidden so that the Trophy's value, title and description are not shown until the user has unlocked it. A gold, silver, or bronze Trophy is normally awarded based on the difficulty of the accomplishment with each Trophy contributing to a 'level' system linked to a player's PlayStation Network profile,[54] with gold Trophies contributing more experience level advancement than silver, and silver contributing more experience than bronze. A platinum Trophy is automatically awarded to the player once they unlock all other Trophies in a game, excluding extra Trophies that can only be obtained through downloadable content, and contribute more experience than a gold Trophy. However, smaller games such as certain PlayStation Network titles, lack a platinum Trophy.[54] Trophies are displayed on a player's PlayStation Network profile screen, which also shows their Trophy level.

As of the beginning of January 2009, Trophy support has become mandatory for all PlayStation 3 games submitted to Sony for certification.[55] Many games from before this period have been given Trophies by updates.

PlayStation Store

Main article: PlayStation Store

PlayStation Store is an online shopping-based service for the PlayStation Network. The store uses both physical currency, PlayStation Network Cards, and most recently, PayPal integration. The PlayStation Store's gaming content is updated every Tuesday with content such as full games, game demos, game add-ons, game trailers, movie trailers, PSOne Classics, PS2 Classics, XMB wallpapers and XMB themes.

Video content such as films and television shows are also available from the PlayStation Store on the PlayStation 3 and PSP and will be made available on some new Sony BRAVIA televisions, VAIO laptop computers and Sony Blu-ray Disc players from February 2010.[56]

Video download service

On April 15, 2008, Peter Dille, SCE Senior Vice President of Marketing & PlayStation Network, announced that a video download service consisting of full-length TV shows and movies would be launching on the network in 2008.[57] Speaking at Sony’s mid-term strategy meeting on 26 June 2008, SCE president Kaz Hirai confirmed that the video download service would launch on the PlayStation Network during the summer,[58] initially in North America and then in other countries at later dates. Further information was released during the E3 2008 press conference, where SCEA CEO Jack Tretton revealed that movies and TV shows would be available in full and/or rental form, and would be situated in a separate section of the PlayStation Store. Many major studios are participating in the video download service, including Sony Pictures, MGM content under Sony and WB, Lions Gate Entertainment, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Pictures and Paramount Pictures. The service officially launched in the United States on July 15, 2008, the same day as Sony's E3 press conference.[59][60]

The service was expanded to the UK, France, Germany and Spain on 20 November 2009. The service launched in other territories in Summer 2010[61][62] At the same time Sony started offering movies and TV Shows in Japan whereas before they only offered anime and manga shows. The service was launched in Italy on the 18th May 2010 and Australia on the 20th May 2010. Sony announced at their E3 2010 press conference that the video service will hit Canada on July 1, with other territories to follow the same month.[63]

PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus
Developer Sony Computer Entertainment
Type Premium online service
Launch date June 29, 2010
Platform PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Vita
Website Official US website

PlayStation Plus is a paid PlayStation Network subscription service that was officially unveiled at E3 2010 by Jack Tretton, President and CEO of SCEA. Rumors of such service had been in speculation since Kaz Hirai's announcement at TGS 2009 of a possible paid service for PSN but with the current PSN service still available. Launched alongside PS3 firmware 3.40 and PSP firmware 6.30 on June 29, 2010, the paid-for subscription service provides users with enhanced services on the PlayStation Network, on top of the current PSN service which is still available with all of its features. These enhancements include the ability to have demos, game and system software updates download automatically to the PlayStation 3. Subscribers also get early or exclusive access to some betas, game demos, premium downloadable content and other PlayStation Store items as well as a free subscription to Qore. Users may choose to purchase either a one-year or a three-month subscription to PlayStation Plus.[64]

SCEA offered a limited time offer for the one-year subscription with an additional three months for free, while SCEE offered one-year subscribers a digital copy of LittleBigPlanet for a limited time. Regular free bonuses are also made available. These include PlayStation Store discounts and PlayStation Network games and Downloadable Content (DLC), PSone Classics and PlayStation Minis which the user will own for the duration of their subscription as well as themes and avatars which the user can keep after their subscription has lapsed. PlayStation Plus also offers "Full Game Trials" of some PlayStation Network and retail games, allowing the user to download the full game and use it for one hour (the game expires 1 year after download until the trial has commenced, after which, the trial expires 60 minutes after it has been launched from the XMB). Users can later purchase the game and continue their progress (earned trophies are not added to the users PSN profile until the game is purchased). For SCEA, the first Full Game Trial to be offered was inFamous,[65] while European subscribers get to try out Shatter and Savage Moon.[66] More titles have been added since. In addition, users who are PlayStation Plus subscribers have the PlayStation Plus icon by their PSN ID. Users can only sign up for PlayStation Plus through the PlayStation Store via the PS3.[67]

On March 9, 2011, Sony expanded the features list for its PlayStation Plus service with the addition of online game save storage.[68] As part of the PlayStation Plus subscription, subscribers are given 150 MB of space in "the cloud" for up to 1,000 save files. Copy-prohibited files can be backed up, with the caveat that users can only restore files that have been deleted from their systems once per 24 hours. This feature came into effect with the introduction of PlayStation 3 firmware v3.60. Sony later expanded the online game storage to 1 GB.

As part of Sony's "Welcome Back" program from the PSN outage, Sony offered each user who were PSN subscribers before April 20, 2011 a free PlayStation Plus subscription for 30 days, while already existing Plus subscribers received an additional 30 days to their service plus the amount of days PSN was offline.

On June 10, 2013 Sony announced at their E3 2013 press conference that PlayStation 4 multiplayer online access will require a PlayStation Network account as well as a paid subscription to PlayStation Plus.[69] Each subscription is tied to the console rather than the individual account - meaning multiple accounts on one console can play online multiplayer without having to purchase an individual subscription for each account.[70] Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has stated that revenue made from each console subscription will be reinvested to improve the PlayStation online experience.[71]

Instant Game Collection

Main article: Instant Game Collection

On June 4, 2012, at E3, PlayStation CEO Jack Tretton announced the Instant Game Collection. Members of PlayStation Plus would receive 12 games instantly as part of their membership, with a new game rotating in and out of the collection. Members would be able to keep the games in their 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.[72]

On November 16, 2012, Sony announced that with the new 2.00 firmware update, the Plus service will be coming to Vita, which started receiving free games and discounts on November 20, 2012. The initial six games in the PS Vita instant game collection consisted of: Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, Wipeout 2048, Tales from Space Mutant Blobs, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Jet Set Radio.[73]

Kris Graft of Gamasutra interviewed a number of developers featured in PlayStation Plus' Instant Game Collection to determine the impact it has had on profits and recognition.[74] Graft discovered that the terms of each contract are determined on a case-by-case basis, with some publishers or developers negotiating for a cut of profits while others benefit solely from the publicity. Christofer Sundberg (Just Cause 2) said "from a PR and goodwill standpoint, [it's] most definitively worthwhile", and Tyler Glaiel (Closure) called the revenue "a nice boost". Retro City Rampage earned 125,000 new players as a result of the promotion; creator Brian Provinciano remarked that "one notable reviewer claimed that the game was too difficult and stopped playing halfway through, scoring it low. However, PS Plus cultivated another 100,000 people who can tell their friends otherwise. The word of a friend always holds more weight than that of a critic". Overall, the developers interviewed felt that Instant Game Collection had a positive impact on brand recognition and cultural cachet while still generating modest profits.[74]

PlayStation Blog

Main article: PlayStation Blog

PlayStation Blog is an online PlayStation focused gaming blog which is part of the PlayStation Network. It was launched on June 11, 2007[75] and since its launch it has featured numerous interviews with both third-party companies such as Square Enix[76] as well as posts from high-ranking Sony Computer Entertainment executives such as Jack Tretton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment.[77] 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.[78][79]

The Official PlayStation Blogcast

The Official PlayStation Blogcast is an official PlayStation podcast that is produced by the North American PlayStation Blog. The podcast usually features Sid Shuman, Nick Suttner, and Aram Jabbari. The podcast features many guest appearances and interviews with other people in the gaming industry also. The podcast crew usually give PlayStation content and PlayStation Store sneak peeks along with answering PSN user's questions, or "player queries" as they are often called on the podcast. [80]

PlayStation Home

Main article: PlayStation Home

PlayStation Home is a virtual 3D social network gaming service for the PlayStation Network.[81] Home allows users to create a custom avatar, which can be groomed realistically.[82][83] Users can edit and decorate their personal apartments, avatars or club houses with free, premium or won content.[82] Users can shop for new items or win prizes from PS3 games, or Home activities.[83] Users interact and connect with friends and customise content in a virtual world.[84] Home also acts as a meeting place for users that want to play multiplayer games with others.[84]

Netflix

In October 2009, following the expiration of an exclusivity deal with Microsoft, Netflix and Sony Computer Entertainment announced that the service would also be available on the PlayStation 3 in November 2009 in the United States. The set-up is similar to that on the Xbox 360 in that Netflix subscribers can stream movies and TV shows from their Instant Queue to watch on the console, but different in that access to the application is free for all PlayStation 3 users. Initially, the Netflix application was available only on a Blu-ray Disc, which was made available on Netflix's website for free for subscribers. In September 2010, Netflix officially became available in Canada. On October 18, 2010, a new version of the Netflix application, which does not require a disc (but does require a free PlayStation Network account) and appeared automatically in the Video section of the XMB was released.[38] With features like Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 1080p, it was regarded as the best Netflix experience for its time.[85]

Facebook

On November 18, 2009, Sony released PS3 system update 3.10 which incorporates Facebook into the PS3. With the update, users have the option to automatically update their Facebook News Feeds with Trophy and PlayStation Store activity. The update also allows developers to set specific criteria in their titles to publish additional game information to the user's Facebook News Feed.[86]

What's New


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,[87] 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.

Life with PlayStation

Main article: Life with PlayStation


Life with PlayStation was released on September 18, 2008[88] to succeed Folding@home. Life with PlayStation uses virtual globe data to display news and information by city. Along with the Folding@home functionality that allows consoles to simulate molecular processes, the application also provides the user with access to four other information "channels", the first of which being the Live Channel which offers news headlines and weather. Information is provided by Google News, The Weather Channel, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center, among other sources.[89] The second channel is the World Heritage channel which offers historical information about historical sites. The third channel is the United Village channel. United Village is a project designed to share information about communities and cultures worldwide.[90] A later update allowed video and photo viewing in the application.[88] The fourth channel was the USA exclusive PlayStation Network Game Trailers Channel for direct streaming of game trailers.

As of PlayStation 3 system software update version 4.30 on October 24, 2012, Life With PlayStation has ended.

PlayStation Network on other platforms

In May 2009, Sony announced their intention to make the PlayStation Network an "open system". This change will facilitate the use of the PSN in devices other than the PlayStation 3 but no specific plans have yet been announced. Sony CEO, Howard Stringer said that the PSN has a lot of potential and that only having it available on the PlayStation 3 was limiting the scale of the service.[91]

The PSVita is known to have the PSN integrated onto it. PSVita users are able to see if their friends are online (on PSVita and on PS3). Users are also able to message each other just like the PS3.

In April 20, 2013, an interview with Sony's Middle East general manager hinted that the PS4 might be connected to the same PSN as on the PS3 and PSVita. He says the PlayStation 4 Is Not the PS3's Successor, It's an 'Addition to the Family'.[92]

Availability

As of October 23, 2012, PlayStation Network is currently available in 63 countries, although PlayStation Store, PlayStation Home and other features are only available on a handful of selected markets. The list is viewable when signing up for a new PSN account with the PS3.

As access restrictions are based on the address entered by the user and not on IP address, it is possible for users from non-supported regions to use the service.

Although available in 63 countries, many are still left out from PlayStation Network and PlayStation Store services which ended up with hundreds of ongoing petitions around the world asking Sony to add support for their countries allowing them to use PlayStation Network and PlayStation Store services. Many of the still ongoing petitions can be found at PlayStation Blog Share website.[93]

See also

References

External links

  • Sony Media Go
  • Life with PlayStation official website
  • FirstPlay official website
  • PlayStation Network Cards
  • PlayStation Plus
  • United States PlayStation Network game prices
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