Available on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and elsewhere, the PlayStation Network is pretty amazing. Also known as the PSN, the network has undergone a great deal of change over the years. Today, it provides plenty of competition for Nintendo and Microsoft, in the arena of online networks for consoles that want to offer the definitive media experience.
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The PlayStation Network certainly has its detractors. However, the network’s premium content service, which is known as PlayStation Plus, currently stands at roughly 7.9 million paying members. That’s impressive, to say the least.
If the history of the network suggests anything, it’s that Sony is only going to continue building something that will offer online gaming, download games, additional downloadable content, TV, movies, and more.
A Look At The PSN
The history of the current PlayStation Network can arguably be traced back to the PlayStation 2. Even going back to the tail-end of the original PlayStation’s run, there were rumors that Sony wanted to establish a definitive online gaming and media experience with the PlayStation 2. Although the company did not succeed in this to the extent that some hoped they would, the PS2 nonetheless featured a variety of online components and programs. These things were only available with certain games, and you needed a network adapter to access them.
It would take a few more years for Sony to roll out a true network for their brand, which is when the history of the PlayStation Network really got started:
- The PSN was first announced in 2006, with Sony assuring the press and fans that a dedicated, all-encompassing online network would be made available with the system.
- The PlayStation Network officially launched in 2006. Initially, the system did not have all of the features it enjoys today, nor did it have the level of depth within the features that the system enjoys today.
- Network cards were introduced in 2007. These cards functioned as a form of currency for the games and other pieces of downloadable content that were available on the network. Initially released in Japan in 2007, the cards eventually became available in other parts of the world, including North America, throughout 2008 and 2009.
- From its initial launch, PSN quickly expanded to include a variety of platforms, including the PlayStation Vita.
- In 2010, Sony began offering a paid subscription service to interested consumers. Known as PlayStation Plus, the subscription service offers a number of exclusive features. Currently, almost eight million people are signed up.
- In 2012, Sony made the announcement that they had picked up the online video game streaming entity known as Gaikai. The technology behind this streaming service would eventually provide the foundation for PlayStation Now, which allows people to play games on the internet at a streaming location. Sony spent much of 2014 testing out a beta version of the service on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles.
What’s Next For The PSN
When the PlayStation 4 launched in 2013, PlayStation Network was right there. It’s only going to get bigger and bigger with time.