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PlayStation Network

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PlayStation Network
DeveloperSony Computer Entertainment
TypeOnline service
LaunchedNovember 2006
PlatformPlayStation 3,
PlayStation Portable
Members38 million +[1]
WebsiteOfficial US website
Official European website

PlayStation Network, often abbreviated to PSN , is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service provided/run by Sony Computer Entertainment for use with the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable video game console.[2] As of January 6, 2010, there are over 38 million registered PlayStation Network accounts worldwide.[1]

Contents

History

On May 15, 2006, Sony announced a unified online service for the PlayStation 3 system at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo,[3] tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform". Sony also confirmed that the service will always be connected,[4] free,[5] and include multiplayer support.[6] The full list of features available at launch were 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, it was revealed that users will be able to download some of the 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 is required first at a special mobile website.[12]

A similar PlayStation Network card system based on actual cards instead of tickets was introduced in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Summer 2007[13] and in Spring 2008 in North America.[14]And latterly the United Kingdom and the EU in October 2009.

User registration

Registration is performed via the PlayStation 3 console, a PlayStation Portable or a PC. Two types of accounts can be created; Master accounts and Sub accounts. Master accounts allow full access to all settings, including parental control, but the Master must be over the age of 18 to create an account. Sub accounts can subsequently be created with desired restrictions set by the master account holder.[15]

Since Master/Sub accounts are not linked to the PlayStation 3 serial number, which allows users to buy and sell used consoles, they can be used with different consoles as a guest user; therefore a single console can have multiple Master accounts. Although unregistered users can access and browse the PlayStation Store,[16] registration is required to purchase items. Once purchased, items can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store to up to five consoles, however, if all five owners are deleted, the content becomes invalid and is locked.

PlayStation Network launched in November 2006 to coincide with the launch of the PlayStation 3 console in North America and Japan. Due to the delay of the European launch to March 2007, Sony allowed residents of Europe to pre-register their PlayStation Network via PC in order to reserve their favored PSN ID, allowing them to quickly retrieve their details on the day of release.[17]

Services

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

Account
  • Online Instruction Manuals
  • Profiles, a user profile card similar in concept to a Gamercard
  • Sign-in ID/Online-ID
  • User Registration of Master/Sub accounts
Communication/Community
Commerce/Entertainment
Features
  • Block List, for blocking other users from contact
  • Comments, for display on gamer profiles
  • Parental Control, limiting children's BD, DVD and Internet Browser access ("Security Settings").
  • Players Met, which lists the last 50 players a user has played with.
  • System Update- PS3 and PSP
  • Trophy count, which is a total of a player's trophies.
  • What's New

The full list of upcoming services for PlayStation Network are as follows:

  • OPMHD (Europe only)
  • Premium level of PlayStation Network[21]

User information

Online ID

An online ID is the player's username on the PlayStation Network.[22] An online ID used online must be unique and can be 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 unlimited). 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,[23] often associated with certain games or game characters. Downloadable avatars (including premium ones) were made possible with firmware 3.0,[24] 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.

Sign-in ID

A sign-in ID is the player's email on the PlayStation Network[22] and is used to sign into any PlayStation Network-related service. Although the online ID is displayed instead, users may only use their email addresses to sign in. The sign-in ID is also used by Sony to send updates and promotional material and is attached to the user's online ID automatically.[22]

User profile

The PlayStation Network profile is an information panel used to summarise certain PSN information.[23] The information displayed on these profiles includes the user's avatar and PSN name as well as information such as languages, a comment and an "About me" section if the user chooses to provide it. 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.

PlayStation Store

PlayStation Store is an online shopping-based service for the PlayStation Network. The store uses both physical currency and PlayStation Network Cards. The PlayStation Store's gaming content is updated every Thursday (save certain exceptions) with content such as full games, game demos, game add-ons, game trailers, movie trailers, 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.[25]

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.[26] 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,[27] 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. Pictures, 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.[28][29]

The service was expanded to the UK, France, Germany and Spain on 20 November 2009. The service will be launched in other territories in Spring/Summer 2010[30][31] At the same time Sony started offering movies and TV Shows in Japan whereas before they only offered anime and manga shows. The Service is currently unavailable in Canada, Ireland, and Australia until 2010

Qore for the PlayStation Network

Qore/OPMHD

Qore (pronounced /ˈkɔər/ "core"), presented by the PlayStation Network, announced on June 3, 2008 by SCEA, is a subscription-based interactive online magazine for the PlayStation Network,[32] which launched on the PlayStation Store in North America on June 5, 2008. A similar product, Official PlayStation Magazine HD (or OPMHD), is being produced by Future Publishing for Europe. Weekly episodes will be made available on the European PlayStation Store[33] from 2009.[34]

PSOne Classics

PSOne Classics, launched on May 3, 2007,[35] is a service which allows PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable users to download and play PlayStation games. This is done by downloading the game directly to the respective storage device. If downloaded to the PS3, users can then copy the game to the PSP as well.

PlayStation Home

The Central Plaza, PlayStation Home's central hub for North America.

PlayStation Home is a virtual community-based service for the PlayStation Network, announced during the 2007 Game Developers Conference.[36] Home allows users to create a custom avatar, which can be made to suit the user's liking.[37][38] Users can decorate their avatar's personal apartment ("HomeSpace") with default, bought, or won items.[37] Users can shop for new items to express themselves more through their avatars or HomeSpace.[38] Similar to Second Life, users interact and connect with friends and customise content in a virtual world.[39] Home also acts as a meeting place for users that want to play multiplayer games with others.[39]

A closed beta began in Europe from May 2007 and expanded to other territories soon after.[40] Home was delayed and expanded[41] several times before initially releasing.[42][43] The Open Beta test was started on December 11, 2008. Home is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar. Membership is free, and only requires a PSN account.[38][39]

Home is the host to avatars, a virtual economy, personal spaces and clubs. It features places to meet and interact, dedicated game spaces, developer spaces, company spaces, and events. The service undergoes a weekly maintenance and frequent updates. Xi, a once notable feature in Home, is the world's first console-based Alternate Reality Game. Adventures, puzzles and spaces were set up to continuously puzzle those who participated in finding clues. The meaning of Xi and the mysterious character "Jess" were the objects of study in this game. At TGS 2009, Kaz Hirai announced that Home has been downloaded by 8 million users.[44]

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 from November 2009. The set-up will be similar to that on the Xbox 360, allowing Netflix subscribers to stream movies and TV shows from their Instant Queue to watch on the console. Unlike on the Xbox 360, the Netflix application will be available on a Blu-ray disc initially (available for free to subscribers) and will have to be used every time to instantly view, but a downloadable application will be made available in 2010.[19] Netflix is not yet available in Canada.

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.[45]

What's New

The XMB's PSN section, depicting the What's New screen automatically animating.

What's New[24] was announced at Gamescom 2009 and was released on September 1, 2009, with PlayStation 3 system software 3.0. 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, which interacts with the [Status Indicator] to display a ticker of all content, excluding recently played content (currently in North America and Japan 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", latest information, and new content available in PlayStation Store. There are four kinds of content the What's New screen displays and links to,[46] 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 act 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.

Trophies

See List of PlayStation 3 games and List of downloadable PlayStation 3 games for a list of titles that support PlayStation 3 Trophies.

"Trophies" are an accomplishment tracking system, introduced in the PlayStation 3 system software 2.40 update in July 2008.[47]

The four different types of trophies; bronze, silver, gold and platinum 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). A gold, silver or bronze trophy is normally awarded based on the difficulty of the accomplishment with each trophy contributing to a 'level' system[48] linked to a player's PlayStation Network profile, 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.[48] Trophies are displayed on a player's PlayStation Network profile screen, which also shows their level.

On November 20, 2008, Sony announced that trophy support would be mandatory for all games submitted to Sony for certification from the beginning of January 2009.[49]

Portable IDs

A Portable ID is a small, automatically-generated graphic available to PlayStation Network users in Europe[50] and North America[51] through their respective PlayStation websites. 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.[52] 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.[53][54]

Life with PlayStation

The Life with PlayStation application showing weather forecasts and news headlines for New York City. Screenshot taken at approximately 8pm PST.

On 18 September 2008[55] the PlayStation 3's Folding@home application became Life with PlayStation (which is still under the "Network" XMB section). Life with PlayStation shows Earth's light at night in locations where it is night time and shows cloud patterns to reflect recent weather patterns (if zoomed out far enough). Along with the existing Folding@home functionality, the application also provides the user with access to three other information "channels", the first of which being the Live Channel which offers news headlines and weather through a 3D globe. The user can rotate and zoom in to any part of the world to access information provided by Google News, The Weather Channel, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center, among other sources.[56] 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.[57] A recent update has allowed video and photo viewing in the application.[55]

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.[58]

Availability

PlayStation Network is currently available in 55 countries:[citation needed]

PlayStation Network availability in the world

Users from the non-PSN countries (such as Morocco and China) are not officially supported, although it is possible for them to access PlayStation Network if they provide an address located in a supported country. However, it is against terms and conditions if the address is fake or does not/never has belonged to them.

See also

References

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  2. ^ Hirohiko Niizumi, Tor Thorsen (2006-03-15). "PlayStation Network Platform detailed". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6145981.html. 
  3. ^ Graft, Kris (2006-03-15). "PSBB: Kutaragi's 10 PlayStation Points". Next Gen. http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2495&Itemid=2. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
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  28. ^ Sony: Video Rental Coming To PS3 Tonight
  29. ^ PLAYSTATION Network’s Video Delivery Service to Offer Movies and TV Shows for Purchase and TV Shows for Purchase and Rental Through PLAYSTATION 3 and PSP | eHomeUpgrade
  30. ^ sony CES 2010
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  32. ^ Introducing Qore: Taking you behind the curtain with PlayStation
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