Gaming Gaming Services What is the PlayStation Network (PSN)? What to know about the online gaming and media content distributor By Bradley Mitchell Writer An MIT graduate who brings years of technical experience to articles on SEO, computers, and wireless networking. our editorial process LinkedIn Bradley Mitchell Updated November 09, 2019 Gaming Services Consoles & PCs Cheats & Codes Gaming Services Game Play & Streaming Mobile Gaming Tweet Share Email 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 Network Entertainment International (SNEI) and competes with the Xbox Live network. Ethan Miller / Getty Images 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; orA 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 and Video 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. Issues with the PlayStation Network PSN has suffered from several high profile network outages over the years including those caused by malicious attacks. Users can check the network’s status online by visiting http://status.playstation.com/. Some have expressed disappointment with Sony’s decision to make Plus membership a requirement for online gaming with PS4 when that feature was free for PS3 users before. Some have similarly criticized the quality of free games Sony has supplied to Plus subscribers on the monthly update cycle since PS4 was introduced. As with other Internet-based game networks, intermittent connectivity challenges can affect PSN users including temporary inability to sign on, difficulty in finding other plays in online game lobbies, and network lag. The PSN Stores is not available to people residing in some countries.