What is the PlayStation Network ?

Information verified correct on December 6th, 2016

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Sony’s online service for its PlayStation platforms is a constantly evolving ecosystem filled with fun entertainment experiences.

Sony is more than just a maker of video game consoles, and the PlayStation Network is an online service that connects much of the Sony world together. It is available primarily through the PlayStation 4, but can also be found on Sony tablets, smartphones, TVs and Blu-ray players. The apps available on it plug into both Sony’s own catalogue of films, music and TV shows, and those of third-party content providers.

The original online network for the PlayStation did not take off immediately upon its release alongside the launch of the PlayStation 2 in 2000. For a long time it was considered inferior to the Xbox Live service. During the PlayStation 2 cycle, there was no unifying profile across multiple games and services, with the mechanics behind online play defined by each individual game and its developer. Thankfully, this was rectified during the PlayStation 3 era, where the service rebranded as PlayStation Network and re-launched in 2006. Currently, the PlayStation Network stands toe-to-toe with Xbox Live in terms of functionality and user-interface.

How much does the PlayStation Network Cost?

Signing up to and using the PlayStation Network is free, however, there is a paid subscription option called PlayStation Plus that adds a number of beneficial features. In Australia, PlayStation Plus costs $69.95 per year, but it is possible to pay for it over smaller time periods for a reduced initial cost, although this is more expensive over a longer term. PlayStation Plus costs $9.95 per month, or $27.95 for three months. Before you lay down any cash, you can try PlayStation Plus for 14 days for free.

What do you get with PlayStation Plus?

The paid subscription service for the PlayStation Network is called PlayStation Plus. This is required for anyone who wants to play multiplayer games online. It is essentially a mirror service to Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold. The key features you gain access to with a PlayStation Plus subscription are:

  • The ability to play games online
  • The ability to allow system software updates and game patches to download automatically when the console is off
  • Exclusive or early access to beta trials of games
  • Frequent and significant discounts on games, downloadable content, bundles and season passes.
  • 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.

How does PlayStation Plus work?

Once you have signed up for the upgrade from a PlayStation Network account to a PlayStation Plus account, all of its features will become immediately available. There is nothing extra you need to do. Each month, the free games that you will be able to download will be indicated on your Sony dashboard, and you only need “purchase” them (for $0) in order to add them to your library. There they will remain, constantly available on your hard drive until you cancel your subscription. However, once the month has ended, these games will revert to their original price and you will not be able to get them for the discounted price.

Multiple PlayStation Network accounts in the same home can gain access to PlayStation Plus benefits. If the primary profile on a PlayStation device is the one through which PlayStation Plus was purchased, then all secondary profiles are able to play online games, purchased games and downloaded games. However, the secondary accounts will not get early access to games, access to buy discounted or free games, or be able to make use of the 10GB of cloud storage for save files.

Are the Free Games Through PlayStation Plus Any Good?

Yes, they are. The PlayStation Plus program is certainly more reliant on downloadable indie projects to fulfil its monthly quota of free games than its Xbox counterpart Games With Gold, but there is certainly a sprinkling of large AAA blockbusters provided each year. Here is a full list of the games that have been made available to the service as of the time of writing.

Click here for a complete of games that have been free on PlayStation Plus

Does the PlayStation 4 use Dedicated Servers or Peer-to-Peer for Multiplayer

Unlike the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 has not moved to a dedicated severs model for online multiplayer. Outside of instances where specific developers have supplied dedicated servers for their game, this means that online play on PlayStation works on the Peer-to-Peer system. When a multiplayer game begins, one player acts as the server (the central computer) and all other players connect through that user to each other and the game. This is not the ideal situation, as stability and speed issues are defined by 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 is Share Play for PlayStation?

Share Play is a feature in which a friend or family member can connect to your PlayStation 4 through the Internet and play a game stored on your hard drive. In moment-to-moment gameplay, this can be used to have a friend help you past a difficult section of a game by taking control for a small period. But it can also allow for a remote player to enjoy a game they don’t even own. For example, you could allow a friend to take control of a game on your PS4 when you are not around and to let them play it to their heart’s content.


What is Cross-Play for PlayStation?

Cross-Play is a feature available to a select few PlayStation games and refers to the ability of the different formats in the Sony family to communicate in various ways through a game. The most exciting capability sees two players on different formats connecting in the same multiplayer experience. For example, one player may own the game on a Vita, and the other on a PlayStation 3, yet they contribute to the same available player pool when matchmaking occurs online and can play together. However, it can also refer to the ability to save the game on one format, and then pick-up and continue playing on another format from the same spot.

It appears, unfortunately, that Cross-Play is no longer actively supported by Sony and PlayStation. In the process of writing this article, we discovered that the support page on the official PlayStation website had been removed, and no recent games appear to support the feature.

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. It is not a commonly offered service and hasn’t been actively pushed by Sony in recent times. It obviously requires the same game to be available on both formats, although there has been instances where a delay of the game on one format (usually the Vita) means that the functionality has not been immediately available at launch.

Full List of Cross-Buy PlayStation GamesFormatsRequirements
Action HenkPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Alien BreedPS Vita / PS3N/A
Another WorldPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender DXPS Vita / PS4N/A
Back To BedPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Badland: Game Of The Year EditionPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Bentley’s HackpackPS Vita / PS3N/A
Big Sky InfinityPS Vita / PS3N/A
BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm AlienPS Vita / PS3N/A
Broken AgePS Vita / PS4N/A
CastleStormPS Vita / PS3N/A
Cel Damage HDPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Color GuardiansPS Vita / PS4N/A
CosmophonyPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
CounterspyPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Curses ‘N ChaosPS Vita / PS4N/A
Dead NationPS Vita / PS3N/A
DivekickPS Vita / PS3N/A
Doki-Doki UniversePS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Don’t StarvePS Vita / PS4N/A
Dragon Fantasy Book 1PS Vita / PS3N/A
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton EditionPS Vita / PS3N/A
EntwinedPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Escape PlanPS Vita / PS4N/A
Ethan: Meteor HunterPS Vita / PS3N/A
FezPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
flOwPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
FlowerPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
FuturidiumPS Vita / PS4N/A
God Of War CollectionPS Vita / PS3N/A
Grim Fandango RemasteredPS Vita / PS4N/A
Guacamelee!PS Vita / PS3N/A
Hatoful BoyfriendPS Vita / PS4N/A
HelldiversPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
HohokumPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
HomePS Vita / PS4N/A
Hotline MiamiPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong NumberPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Hustle KingsPS Vita / PS3N/A
Jet Car StuntsPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
KickBeatPS Vita / PS3N/A
King OddballPS Vita / PS4N/A
Knytt UndergroundPS Vita / PS3Buy On PS3
Little Big PlanetPS Vita / PS3DLC Only
Lone Survivor: The Director’s CutPS Vita / PS3N/A
LuftrausersPS Vita / PS3N/A
Metal Slug 3PS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Mighty No. 9PS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
MinecraftPS Vita / PS3N/A
MinutesPS Vita / PS4N/A
MotorStorm RCPS Vita / PS3N/A
MousecraftPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
NidhoggPS Vita / PS4N/A
Nova-111PS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Octodad: Dadliest CatchPS Vita / PS4N/A
OlliOlliPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
OlliOlli 2: Welcome To OlliwoodPS Vita / PS4N/A
PixelJunk Shooter UltimatePS Vita / PS4N/A
Pix The CatPS Vita / PS4N/A
PlayStation All Stars Battle RoyalPS Vita / PS3Buy On PS3
Poltergeist: A Pixelated HorrorPS Vita / PS4N/A
Project RootPS Vita / PS4N/A
ProteusPS Vita / PS3N/A
Pumped BMX+PS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Putty SquadPS Vita / PS4N/A
Q*bert RebootedPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Race The SunPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Ratchet And Clank: Q ForcePS Vita / PS3Buy On PS3
ResogunPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Retro City RampagePS Vita / PS3N/A
Retro City Rampage DXPS Vita / PS3 / PS4Does not work with limited edition version
Rock Boshers DX Director’s CutPS Vita / PS4N/A
Rogue LegacyPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Rollers Of The RealmPS Vita / PS4N/A
RoundaboutPS Vita / PS4N/A
Scram Kitty DXPS Vita / PS4N/A
Shovel KnightPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Sly RacoonPS Vita / PS3N/A
Sly 2: Band Of ThievesPS Vita / PS3N/A
Sly 3: Honour Among ThievesPS Vita / PS3N/A
Sly Cooper: Thieves In TimePS Vita / PS3Buy On PS3
Söldner-X 2: Final PrototypePS Vita / PS3N/A
Sound ShapesPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Star Wars PinballPS Vita / PS3 / PS4Buy on PS3 or Vita
Stealth Inc: A Clone In The DarkPS Vita / PS3N/A
Stealth Inc 2: A Game Of ClonesPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
SteamWorld DigPS Vita / PS4N/A
Stick It To The ManPS Vita / PS3N/A
Super Exploding Zoo!PS Vita / PS4N/A
SuperfrogPS Vita / PS3N/A
Super Time Force UltraPS Vita / PS4N/A
Switch Galaxy UltraPS Vita / PS4N/A
The BridgePS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
The Jak And Daxter TrilogyPS Vita / PS3Buy on PS3
The Pinball ArcadePS Vita / PS3N/A
The Sly TrilogyPS Vita / PS3Buy on PS3
The SwapperPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
The SwindlePS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
The Unfinished SwanPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Thomas Was AlonePS Vita / PS3N/A
Tiny Troopers Joint OpsPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Titan AttacksPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
Titan SoulsPS Vita / PS4N/A
Top DartsPS Vita / PS3N/A
Torque!PS Vita / PS4N/A
UltratronPS Vita / PS3 / PS4N/A
VelociboxPS Vita / PS4N/A
Velocity 2XPS Vita / PS4N/A
VolumePS Vita / PS4N/A
We Are DoomedPS Vita / PS4N/A
When Vikings AttackPS Vita / PS3N/A
Whispering WillowsPS Vita / PS4 N/A
WipEout HDPS Vita / PS3Buy on PS3 to Unlock Tracks in Wipeout 2048
WipEout HD FuryPS Vita / PS3Buy on PS3 to Unlock Tracks in Wipeout 2048
Woah Dave!PS Vita / PS4 N/A
XeodrifterPS Vita / PS4 N/A
Zen Pinball 2PS Vita / PS3 / PS4Buy on PS3 or Vita

What Apps Can You Get on the PlayStation Network

PS4PS3
AnimeLabYesNo
CrunchyrollYesNo
DailyMotionYesNo
Foxtel PlayYesYes
GamereactorYesNo
IGNYesYes
NetflixYesNo
PlexYesYes
Qello ConcertsYesYes
QuickflixYesYes
SBS On DemandYesYes
StanYesYes
Twitch.tvYesNo
VevoYesNo
VidZoneYesYes
WWE NetworkYesYes
Yahoo Plus7YesYes
YouTubeYesYes
PlayStation VideoYesNo
PlayStation MusicYesNo
PrestoYesNo
ABC iViewYesYes
MUBIYesYes
SpotifyYes (via PlayStation Music)Yes
TuneInNoYes

What internet speed do I need for the PlayStation Network?

When considering your internet plan, the two most important factors that will impact your PlayStation experience are the ping (the speed at which a signal goes up 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 materialising as lag. This is the experience of seeing things slightly after they have happened. 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.

Your broadband plan's download cap is playing an ever more important role in console gaming because of the increase in file sizes of downloadable products, and the tendency for most games to get patched frequently. Even simple updates and patches can often measure into the gigabytes, while blockbuster releases can weigh in with 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 pull down 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. These are not essential to the act of playing a game, but should be considered when signing up to a plan.

What does the future look like for the PlayStation Network?

The PlayStation Network will continue to become a more vital part of the Sony console experience, and indeed its other channels like TV, Blu-ray, mobiles and tablets as human consumption moves evermore digital. Sony already has a strong catalogue 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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