What is PlayStation Network? | finder.com

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What is PlayStation Network ?

A constantly evolving ecosystem filled with fun entertainment experiences.


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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.

How much does PlayStation Network cost?

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

What do you get with 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

How does PlayStation Plus work?

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.

What is PlayStation Now?

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

What is Share Play for PlayStation?

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.

What is cross-play for PlayStation?

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 gamesPlatform
Alien BreedPS3/PS Vita
Atomic NinjasPS3/PS Vita
Backgammon BlitzPS4/PS3/PS Vita
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma EXTENDPS3/PS Vita
DC Universe OnlinePS4/PS3
Deathmatch VillagePS3/PS Vita
Dead or Alive 5PS4/PS3/PS Vita
DiveKickPS4/PS3/PS Vita
Dragon’s CrownPS3/PS Vita
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton EditionPS3/PS Vita
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme LegendsPS4/PS Vita
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm RebornPS4/PS3
God Eater 2: Rage BurstPS4/PS Vita
Guilty Gear XrdPS4/PS3
Gundam Breaker 2PS3/PS Vita
HelldiversPS4/PS3/PS Vita
Hustle KingsPS4/PS3/PS Vita
Invokers TournamentPS4/PS3/PS Vita
MotorStorm RCPS3/PS Vita
Natural DoctrinePS4/PS3/PS Vita
NidhoggPS4/PS Vita
Pixeljunk Shooter UltimatePS4/PS3/PS Vita
PlayStation All Stars Battle RoyalPS3/PS Vita
Ragnarok Odyssey ACEPS3/PS Vita
Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal AssaultPS3/PS Vita
Skullgirls 2nd EncorePS4/PS3/PS Vita
SpelunkyPS4/PS3/PS Vita
Street Fighter x TekkenPS3/PS Vita
Switch Galaxy UltraPS4/PS Vita
TerrariaPS4/PS3/PS Vita
The Sly CollectionPS3/PS Vita
Toukiden KiwamiPS4/PS Vita
Warriors Orochi 3 UltimatePS4/PS3
When Vikings AttackPS3/PS Vita
Wipeout 2048PS Vita
Wipeout HDPS3
Zombie Tycoon 2: Brainhov’s RevengePS3/PSP

What is cross-buy for PlayStation?

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 gamesFormatsRequirements
Action HenkPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Alien BreedPS3/PS VitaN/A
Another WorldPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender DXPS4/PS VitaN/A
Back To BedPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Badland: Game Of The Year EditionPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Bentley’s HackpackPS3/PS VitaN/A
Big Sky InfinityPS3/PS VitaN/A
BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm AlienPS3/PS VitaN/A
Broken AgePS4/PS VitaN/A
CastleStormPS3/PS VitaN/A
Cel Damage HDPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Color GuardiansPS4/PS VitaN/A
CosmophonyPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
CounterspyPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Curses ‘N ChaosPS4/PS VitaN/A
Dead NationPS3/PS VitaN/A
DivekickPS3/PS VitaN/A
Doki-Doki UniversePS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Don’t StarvePS4/PS VitaN/A
Dragon Fantasy Book 1PS3/PS VitaN/A
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton EditionPS3/PS VitaN/A
EntwinedPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Escape PlanPS4/PS VitaN/A
Ethan: Meteor HunterPS3/PS VitaN/A
FezPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
flOwPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
FlowerPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
FuturidiumPS4/PS VitaN/A
God Of War CollectionPS3/PS VitaN/A
Grim Fandango RemasteredPS4/PS VitaN/A
Guacamelee!PS3/PS VitaN/A
Hatoful BoyfriendPS4/PS VitaN/A
HelldiversPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
HohokumPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
HomePS4/PS VitaN/A
Hotline MiamiPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong NumberPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Hustle KingsPS3/PS VitaN/A
Jet Car StuntsPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
KickBeatPS3/PS VitaN/A
King OddballPS4/PS VitaN/A
Knytt UndergroundPS3/PS VitaBuy On PS3
Little Big PlanetPS3/PS VitaDLC Only
Lone Survivor: The Director’s CutPS3/PS VitaN/A
LuftrausersPS3/PS VitaN/A
Metal Slug 3PS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Mighty No. 9PS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
MinecraftPS3/PS VitaN/A
MinutesPS4/PS VitaN/A
MotorStorm RCPS3/PS VitaN/A
MousecraftPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
NidhoggPS4/PS VitaN/A
Nova-111PS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Octodad: Dadliest CatchPS4/PS VitaN/A
OlliOlliPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
OlliOlli 2: Welcome To OlliwoodPS4/PS VitaN/A
PixelJunk Shooter UltimatePS4/PS VitaN/A
Pix The CatPS4/PS VitaN/A
PlayStation All Stars Battle RoyalPS3/PS VitaBuy On PS3
Poltergeist: A Pixelated HorrorPS4/PS VitaN/A
Project RootPS4/PS VitaN/A
ProteusPS3/PS VitaN/A
Pumped BMX+PS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Putty SquadPS4/PS VitaN/A
Q*bert RebootedPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Race The SunPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Ratchet And Clank: Q ForcePS3/PS VitaBuy On PS3
ResogunPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Retro City RampagePS3/PS VitaN/A
Retro City Rampage DXPS4/PS3/PS VitaDoesn’t work with limited edition version
Rock Boshers DX Director’s CutPS4/PS VitaN/A
Rogue LegacyPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Rollers Of The RealmPS4/PS VitaN/A
RoundaboutPS4/PS VitaN/A
Scram Kitty DXPS4/PS VitaN/A
Shovel KnightPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Sly RacoonPS3/PS VitaN/A
Sly 2: Band Of ThievesPS3/PS VitaN/A
Sly 3: Honour Among ThievesPS3/PS VitaN/A
Sly Cooper: Thieves In TimePS3/PS VitaBuy On PS3
Söldner-X 2: Final PrototypePS3/PS VitaN/A
Sound ShapesPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Star Wars PinballPS4/PS3/PS VitaBuy on PS3 or Vita
Stealth Inc: A Clone In The DarkPS3/PS VitaN/A
Stealth Inc 2: A Game Of ClonesPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
SteamWorld DigPS4/PS VitaN/A
Stick It To The ManPS3/PS VitaN/A
Super Exploding Zoo!PS4/PS VitaN/A
SuperfrogPS3/PS VitaN/A
Super Time Force UltraPS4/PS VitaN/A
Switch Galaxy UltraPS4/PS VitaN/A
The BridgePS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
The Jak And Daxter TrilogyPS3/PS VitaBuy on PS3
The Pinball ArcadePS3/PS VitaN/A
The Sly TrilogyPS3/PS VitaBuy on PS3
The SwapperPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
The SwindlePS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
The Unfinished SwanPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Thomas Was AlonePS3/PS VitaN/A
Tiny Troopers Joint OpsPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Titan AttacksPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
Titan SoulsPS4/PS VitaN/A
Top DartsPS3/PS VitaN/A
Torque!PS4/PS VitaN/A
UltratronPS4/PS3/PS VitaN/A
VelociboxPS4/PS VitaN/A
Velocity 2XPS4/PS VitaN/A
VolumePS4/PS VitaN/A
We Are DoomedPS4/PS VitaN/A
When Vikings AttackPS3/PS VitaN/A
Whispering WillowsPS4/PS VitaN/A
WipEout HDPS3/PS VitaBuy on PS3 to Unlock Tracks in Wipeout 2048
WipEout HD FuryPS3/PS VitaBuy on PS3 to Unlock Tracks in Wipeout 2048
Woah Dave!PS4/PS VitaN/A
XeodrifterPS4/PS VitaN/A
Zen Pinball 2PS4/PS3/PS VitaBuy on PS3 or Vita

What Internet speed do I need for PlayStation Network?

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.

PlayStation Network complaints

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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