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What is PlayStation Network ?
A constantly evolving ecosystem filled with fun entertainment experiences.
Sony offers far more than video game consoles. Its PlayStation Network is an online service that connects much of the Sony world together.
While available primarily through the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Network can also be found on Sony tablets, smartphones, TVs and Blu-ray players. The apps available on the network connect to both Sony’s own catalog of films, music and TV shows, and those of third-party content providers.
Currently, PlayStation Network stands head-to-head with Xbox Live in terms of functionality and user-interface.
What's in this guide?
- How much does PlayStation Network cost?
- How does PlayStation Plus work?
- What is PlayStation Now?
- What is Share Play for PlayStation?
- What is cross-play for PlayStation?
- What is cross-buy for PlayStation?
- What apps can you get on PlayStation Network?
- What Internet speed do I need for PlayStation Network?
- PlayStation Network complaints
- What's the future of PlayStation Network?
PlayStation Network is free to sign up for, but you can get a paid subscription option called PlayStation Plus that adds a number of extra features, including the ability to play multiplayer games online.
There are several PlayStation Plus subscription options:
- $59.99 for 12 months
- $24.99 for 3 months
- $9.99 for 1 month
But before you pay anything, you can try PlayStation Plus for 14 days for free.Buy PlayStation Plus
PlayStation Plus is essentially a mirror service to Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold. A PlayStation Plus subscription gives you access to:
- Online games
- 10GB of online storage space for PS4 game save files
- 1GB of online storage space for PS3 game save files
- 1GB of online storage space for Vita game save files
- Up to six free games per month
- Early access to beta trials of games
- Discounts on games, downloadable content, bundles and season passes
- System software updates and game patches that download automatically when the console is off
Once you’ve signed up for a PlayStation Plus account, all of its features will become available immediately. There is nothing extra you need to do.
Each month, you’ll see the free games available for download on your Sony dashboard — simply “purchase” them for $0 in order to add them to your library. They’ll remain in your library and available until you cancel your subscription. However, if you don’t purchase them before the month is up, the games will revert to their original price and you won’t be able to get them at a discount.
If you have multiple PlayStation Network accounts in the same home, all secondary profiles can play online games, purchased games and downloaded games.
However, secondary accounts won’t get early access to games. They also won’t be able to buy discounted or free games, or make use of the 10GB of cloud storage.
PlayStation Now is a paid streaming service that Sony offers. It costs the same as the PlayStation Plus subscription, with one-year, three-month and one-month options. But you will need to purchase both services in order to reap both sets of benefits.
With PlayStation Now, you’re able to:
- Stream more than 800 popular PS2, PS3 and PS4 games via the cloud
- Stream games to your PS4 console from your PC, PS3 console, PS Vita, Sony TV or tablet
- Play the most updated versions of games in the Sony library
Share Play lets a friend or family member connect to your PlayStation 4 through the Internet, allowing them to play a game stored on your hard drive. In moment-to-moment gameplay, this can be used to have a friend help you with a difficult section of a game by taking control.
You can also let a remote player enjoy a game they don’t own. For example, you could allow a friend to take control of a game on your PS4 when you aren’t home and let them play to their heart’s content.
Cross-play, also called cross-platform, is available for a select few PlayStation games and allows different formats in the Sony family to communicate in various ways through a game.
For example, two players on different formats can connect in the same multiplayer experience. One player might own the game on a Vita and the other on a PlayStation 4, but both can contribute to the same available player pool when matchmaking occurs online and can play together.
Cross-play also lets you save the game on one format and then continue playing on another format from the same spot.
Below is a list of games that are cross-play compatible:
|List of PlayStation cross-play games||Platform|
|Alien Breed||PS3/PS Vita|
|Atomic Ninjas||PS3/PS Vita|
|Backgammon Blitz||PS4/PS3/PS Vita|
|BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma EXTEND||PS3/PS Vita|
|DC Universe Online||PS4/PS3|
|Deathmatch Village||PS3/PS Vita|
|Dead or Alive 5||PS4/PS3/PS Vita|
|Dragon’s Crown||PS3/PS Vita|
|Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition||PS3/PS Vita|
|Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends||PS4/PS Vita|
|Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn||PS4/PS3|
|God Eater 2: Rage Burst||PS4/PS Vita|
|Guilty Gear Xrd||PS4/PS3|
|Gundam Breaker 2||PS3/PS Vita|
|Hustle Kings||PS4/PS3/PS Vita|
|Invokers Tournament||PS4/PS3/PS Vita|
|MotorStorm RC||PS3/PS Vita|
|Natural Doctrine||PS4/PS3/PS Vita|
|Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate||PS4/PS3/PS Vita|
|PlayStation All Stars Battle Royal||PS3/PS Vita|
|Ragnarok Odyssey ACE||PS3/PS Vita|
|Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault||PS3/PS Vita|
|Skullgirls 2nd Encore||PS4/PS3/PS Vita|
|Street Fighter x Tekken||PS3/PS Vita|
|Switch Galaxy Ultra||PS4/PS Vita|
|The Sly Collection||PS3/PS Vita|
|Toukiden Kiwami||PS4/PS Vita|
|Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate||PS4/PS3|
|When Vikings Attack||PS3/PS Vita|
|Wipeout 2048||PS Vita|
|Zombie Tycoon 2: Brainhov’s Revenge||PS3/PSP|
Cross-buy refers to the select few PlayStation games that are available on multiple formats, but only require one purchase to be playable across the suite. For example, if you purchase a cross-buy title on the PlayStation 4, it will be playable for free on the Vita and PlayStation 3 as well as long as the title is available on those platforms.
|Full list of cross-buy PlayStation games||Formats||Requirements|
|Action Henk||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Alien Breed||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Another World||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender DX||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Back To Bed||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Badland: Game Of The Year Edition||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Bentley’s Hackpack||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Big Sky Infinity||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Broken Age||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Cel Damage HD||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Color Guardians||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Curses ‘N Chaos||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Dead Nation||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Doki-Doki Universe||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Don’t Starve||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Dragon Fantasy Book 1||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Escape Plan||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Ethan: Meteor Hunter||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|God Of War Collection||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Grim Fandango Remastered||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Hatoful Boyfriend||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Hotline Miami||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Hustle Kings||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Jet Car Stunts||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|King Oddball||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Knytt Underground||PS3/PS Vita||Buy On PS3|
|Little Big Planet||PS3/PS Vita||DLC Only|
|Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Metal Slug 3||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Mighty No. 9||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|MotorStorm RC||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Octodad: Dadliest Catch||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Pix The Cat||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|PlayStation All Stars Battle Royal||PS3/PS Vita||Buy On PS3|
|Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Project Root||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Pumped BMX+||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Putty Squad||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Q*bert Rebooted||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Race The Sun||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Ratchet And Clank: Q Force||PS3/PS Vita||Buy On PS3|
|Retro City Rampage||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Retro City Rampage DX||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||Doesn’t work with limited edition version|
|Rock Boshers DX Director’s Cut||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Rogue Legacy||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Rollers Of The Realm||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Scram Kitty DX||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Shovel Knight||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Sly Racoon||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Sly 2: Band Of Thieves||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time||PS3/PS Vita||Buy On PS3|
|Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Sound Shapes||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Star Wars Pinball||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||Buy on PS3 or Vita|
|Stealth Inc: A Clone In The Dark||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Stealth Inc 2: A Game Of Clones||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|SteamWorld Dig||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Stick It To The Man||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Super Exploding Zoo!||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Super Time Force Ultra||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Switch Galaxy Ultra||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|The Bridge||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|The Jak And Daxter Trilogy||PS3/PS Vita||Buy on PS3|
|The Pinball Arcade||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|The Sly Trilogy||PS3/PS Vita||Buy on PS3|
|The Swapper||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|The Swindle||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|The Unfinished Swan||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Thomas Was Alone||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Tiny Troopers Joint Ops||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Titan Attacks||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Titan Souls||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Top Darts||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Velocity 2X||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|We Are Doomed||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|When Vikings Attack||PS3/PS Vita||N/A|
|Whispering Willows||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|WipEout HD||PS3/PS Vita||Buy on PS3 to Unlock Tracks in Wipeout 2048|
|WipEout HD Fury||PS3/PS Vita||Buy on PS3 to Unlock Tracks in Wipeout 2048|
|Woah Dave!||PS4/PS Vita||N/A|
|Zen Pinball 2||PS4/PS3/PS Vita||Buy on PS3 or Vita|
The two most important factors that will impact your PlayStation experience are the ping — the speed at which a signal goes through the network and back — and your download cap. A low ping is vital for a smooth online gaming experience and will determine not only the speed at which the game plays, but ultimately how competitive you are.
A high ping — say, anything above 40ms — will start materializing as lag. When you are lagging, you’ll see things happen slightly after they’ve occurred in real time. For example, you will aim and shoot at a location where an opponent appears to be standing when, in reality, they have moved elsewhere and your screen has yet to update.
Download cap is playing an ever more important role in console gaming because of the increase in file size of downloadable products, and the tendency for most games to get patched frequently. Even simple updates and patches can measure into the gigabytes, while blockbuster releases can have download sizes over 40GB. As such, small download caps can be easily eclipsed before a month is out.
General download and upload speeds also play a role, but have more specific impacts. For example, a poor download speed means it will take longer to access purchased products or patches, whereas a poor upload speed will impact your ability to stream your gameplay over services like Twitch, and share big files with friends such as gameplay footage.
One of the biggest changes that occurred with the release of PS4 was Sony’s decision to make multiplayer online gaming exclusively available through a paid subscription to PlayStation Plus — a feature that was free with PS3. Some users have also reported that the quality of the free games available through PlayStation Plus isn’t up to par with other titles.
While not as obvious an issue, online play on PlayStation works on the peer-to-peer system, rather than on dedicated servers. This means that one player on a multiplayer online game acts as the server, or central computer. All other plays connect through that user to each other and the game.
This situation isn’t ideal, as stability and speed issues are defined by the location and quality of the host player’s equipment and connection. That said, it’s still functional and, in most instances, you will be unaware of a downgrade in performance.
What’s the future of PlayStation Network?
PlayStation Network will continue to become a more vital part of the Sony console experience, as well as its other channels like TV, Blu-ray, smartphones and tablets, as human consumption moves evermore digital.
Sony already has a strong catalog of third-party content providers bringing entertainment to the console, and we’ve seen Sony attract more downloadable games from indie developers than any of its competitor formats. Any investment you make in the PlayStation Network will be well-served moving into the future.
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