The PlayStation Network (PSN) is an online gaming and media content distribution service. Sony Corporation originally created PSN to support its PlayStation 3 (PS3) game console. The company has expanded the service over the years to support PlayStation 4 (PS4), other Sony devices, plus streaming of music and video content. The PlayStation Network is owned and operated by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) and competes with the Xbox Live network.
Using the PlayStation Network
The PlayStation Network can be reached via the Internet through either:
The console of a Sony PS4, PS3 or another compatible device; or
A Web browser pointed to one of PSN's Web sites (such as us.playstation.com/psn).
Access to PSN requires setting up an online account. Both free and paid subscriptions exist. Subscribers to PSN provide their preferred email address and pick a unique online identifier. Logging into the network as a subscriber allows a person to join multiplayer games and track their statistics.
PSN includes a PlayStation Store that sells online games and videos. Purchases can be made through standard credit cards or through a PlayStation Network Card. This card is not a network adapter but simply a prepaid debit card.
PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now
Plus is an extension of PSN that offers more games and service to those paying the additional subscription fee. Benefits include:
Access to online multiplayer games on PS4.
Access to online versions of selected full games (until no longer subscribed to Plus).
Discount pricing on PlayStation Store items.
The PS Now service streams online games from the cloud. Following its initial public announcement at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, the service was rolled out to different markets during 2014 and 2015.
PlayStation Music, Video, and Vue
PS3, PS4 and several other Sony devices support PSN Music - audio streaming via Spotify.
The PSN Video service offers online rentals and purchase of digital movies or television programs.
Sony’s digital television service, Vue, has several different monthly subscription package options including access to cloud-based recording and playback similar to home Digital Video Recorder (DVR) systems.