The 2018 PSN Store: Is It Any Better? Should You Use It?

The 2018 PSN Store

The PSN Store (PlayStation Network) store is an online digital media distribution store for both PlayStation and various other Sony devices.

It should come as no surprise when I say this, but online gaming is big news. So is the PSN store. And in case you haven't been keeping up, it’s gotten bigger and better. The PSN (PlayStation Network) store is an online digital media distribution store for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable.

This ingenious invention by the company brings together millions of gamers and Sony device users on one platform. The PSN store offers access to games, music, videos, and updates.

Some you have to purchase, but others are available for free. It was created by the Sony Corporation to support the PlayStation 3 console, but the company was hoping it would continue to support its next console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4), as well as other Sony devices.

The PSN store is owned and operated by SNEI (Sony Network Entertainment International), and its main competitor is Microsoft’s Xbox Live Network.

The Sony PlayStation Network Store

The PSN store has been around since the PlayStation 3 (PS3) debut. It is now the gaming platform's source of downloadable games for the new PlayStation 4.

To be able to gain access to the PSN store, you will need to have an internet connection, a PlayStation console (either PS3, PS4) or any other compatible Sony device, or a Web browser directed to PSN websites.

To get access to this network, Sony PlayStation users also need to set up an online account. PlayStation Network offers both free and paid subscriptions.

You will have to use an email address and a unique identifiable online username. With this, gamers have the opportunity to join multiplayer games and track their gaming statistics.

What is available from the PSN Store?

The PSN store also sells games, music, and videos. Gamers can make these purchases through their standard credit cards or by using a PlayStation Network card. However, you shouldn’t confuse this card for a network adapter; it’s simply a prepaid debit card. Available content on the PSN store includes:

  • Full games
  • Add-on content
  • Playable demos
  • PlayStation UI themes
  • Movies and games trailers
  • Music and video downloads

The PSN store has extension features to it as well, the PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now.

PlayStation Now and Play Station Plus

PS Plus

Image from https://www.playstation.com/en-us/explore/playstation-plus/

The PlayStation Now (PS Now) service is an extension that lets users stream games from the cloud. This service was introduced to PlayStation owners after a public announcement at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. This service was rolled out by Sony to different markets in 2014 and 2015.

The PlayStation Plus service, on the other hand, offers games and services to those paying an additional subscription fee and offers users exclusive access to:

  • Online multiplayer games
  • Online versions of selected full games
  • Discount pricing on PlayStation Store items

PlayStation Video, Vue and Music

The PS3 and PS4, as well as other PSN store compatible devices, support PSN music. This also includes audio streaming from Spotify. With PSN video service, users get access to online rentals and can purchase digital Sony movies as well as other TV programs.

Pricing and Purchases on PlayStation Network Store

Making purchases on the PS4 has pretty much remained the same since the PS3. The PSN store is the source of downloadable games on the PS4. Currently, users can pre-load games and start playing them immediately as compared to the past where you needed to wait for the downloads to complete.

This feature lets users prioritize certain parts of the game during download, giving them a chance to start playing the game before the download finishes.

Downloading games from the PSN store is easy. From the home screen, users can go to their "Library" and select the "purchase" folder. From this menu, users can select the games they wish to download on the content screen.

How Does the PSN Store Compare to Xbox Live Store?

PlayStation and Xbox are longtime rivals. Just like Ford and Chevy or Coke and Pepsi, each of these two products offers products that are similar in every aspect. This makes it harder for the average consumer to tell them apart. Some critics say it all boils down to preference, however, if you ask me, its hard not to try and figure out the differences.

Surely one of these products must have an advantage over the other, right? The PSN Store and the Xbox store aren’t any different on the surface. Their subscription rates and offers are almost identical in every way. For example, both the PSN and Xbox Live let gamers play games online with friends, they all offer freebies at the end of each month, they both score consumer discounts in their stores, and both of them have a yearly fee.

What makes them different? Let’s compare the two.

Price

Sony is cheaper compared to Xbox when it comes to a year or three months subscription fee. A year’s membership for PlayStation retails at $49.99, the three-month membership retails at $17.99, and the one-month subscription fee is $9.99.

For the Xbox yearly subscription, users pay $59.99. The three-month membership is available for $24.99, and just like PlayStation, the one-month subscription goes for $9.99.

From the observations made above, it's obvious that the PlayStation store is much more preferable when it comes to pricing since its users have a lot to save from the subscription. And while critics will be quick to map the price tag on functionality or quality of service, the PSN store wins when it comes to pricing. You will agree with me that $10 isn’t anything to scoff about.

Offers

The PSN Store offers six free games every month, if you own every PlayStation device, that’s two for each device. You also need to understand that many of these games are available on multiple platforms as well, therefore, even if you don’t have a PS Vita, you could still pick out a free Vita game for your PS3 or PS4. That’s a nice deal!

With the Xbox store, gamers receive a batch of new games every month. Therefore, in case you own an Xbox 360, you will have access to two games, but each for half a month. If you own an Xbox One, you will receive two games. However, one is usually a carryover from the previous month. This means you will have access to four games in case you own both the consoles. Pretty sweet deal!

The Xbox store simply can’t compete with the PSN store when it comes to free game offerings. Sony gives away so much more, and users also get brand spanking new games that include stellar indie titles. While games on the Xbox store are improving, they don't compare to PlayStation when it comes to quality.

Discounts

Every week, games that go on sale in the PlayStation Store. These sales are usually open to PlayStation users. However, in case you have subscribed to PlayStation Plus, you have the opportunity to get an even bigger discount compared to other subscribers. For example, for PlayStation holiday sales, PS Plus subscribers had a 10 percent discount on certain games.

Just like the PSN store, games regularly go on sale for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but only for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. These discounts vary, with some as high as 30 percent to even 70 percent. The discounts are for all games including AAA blockbusters and indie titles. While sales are available for non-Gold subscribers, but subscribers get the best of the available discounts.

Both the services offer great discounts for both subscribers and non-subscribers. Therefore, no matter which service you are on, you get a steady stream of discounted games all screaming for your attention. When it comes to subscribers, Xbox takes the day because of their 70 percent discounts on AAA blockbuster games.

Which is cheaper?

In comparison to its competitor, the PSN store comes off like the cheaper option. PS Plus subscribers have access to exclusive programming that offers almost every perk that you would get on the Xbox Live Gold subscription. This is by no means a scientific study. Therefore, its hard to measure if the service offers a much better functionality on a daily basis.

Hackers attacked both services, and PSN still bears the worst security marks after the 2011 attack where thousands of users lost their personal data.

If you are looking to decide on either console based on pricing, discounts and what to get out of your device, you are now able to make a solid decision based on the arguments above. You be the judge.

Pros and Cons PlayStation Store

There is no doubt that the PlayStation has come a long way, and not just in its hardware and software but also with the PSN Store. With the new PS4 comes a new marketplace and as expected, its criticisms.

The new PSN store is very similar to the current PS3 store, which has made tremendous strides over the last couple of years.

However, it still shares some of the discoverability problems that the existing store has. But it's not fair to crucify Sony over this glitch since every single gaming store shares these issues to some degree. Nevertheless, users are still waiting to see if any of these issues can be addressed.

Pros

The Sony PlayStation Store has a good variety of games. As discussed, it offers a much wider selection of games than its closest competitor (for non-subscribers).

The PSN store offers better discounts on games compared to its rivals. PlayStation Plus subscribers get to have a 10 percent discount on already discounted games, which makes it an even better deal. The PSN store offers all its users discounts on selected games.

Unlike any other console, with the PSN, you can text and chat while playing the game. While this might seem like a small victory, it’s really beneficial in gameplay mode, making it more interactive and captivating for users.

You can also stream on other devices during gameplay. This is perhaps one of the better upgrades PSN has made. It makes it possible to stream your PS4 game on your portable device during gameplay. While it doesn’t offer any tangible assistance to the player, it makes for a cool bonus feature.

Remote purchases have to be the best pros on the PSN store. If you have previously owned a PS3, you understand that blockbuster games will take up to a full day or overnight to download. With the remote purchase feature, you can download the game while you are away at work or running your errands. This feature is not available for any of PlayStation's competitors.

Cons

The PSN store could improve on their functionality. Many complaints have been made on the PlayStation forum about this. The interface sometimes glitches, and it drags severely at times when trying to access some of the features. Many Xbox lovers will mention this when asked about the PlayStation Store.

The PlayStation store needs to add to their variety of games on the marketplace. Compared to the Wii and Xbox, PlayStation seems to offer a slightly raw deal when it comes to available games. For instance, with the Xbox Gold membership, gamers get access to AAA blockbuster games as well as stellar indies, which is not the case with the PSN store.

The PSN is also unstable. It is prone to hacker attacks and even periodic shutdown. While this might have happened seven years ago, it’s still a bruise PlayStation has to carry.

Comparing it with its closest rival, such a hiccup could easily make a newbie in gaming choose Xbox over PlayStation. Security of user information is vital, especially in a world of identity theft and credit card fraud. This is a disadvantage of PlayStation, but hopefully, they learned from it.

Final Thoughts on the PSN Store

The PSN store has come a long way, and it definitely hints at plenty of other possibilities. Its local network play via PS Vita is an awesome inclusion, and the PlayStation App will surely offer developers more insights to expand the PS4 appeal. Unlike the PS3 store, the PSN store seems to have been built to evolve. Its simplistic menu offers a much better user experience with less lag as witnessed with previous versions.

However, the PS4's focus on gaming alone might be a severe drawback due to its lack of compelling software. We can only hope that this failing is sure to improve. PlayStation still holds the crown when it comes to gaming, its an undeniable fact judging from its hardcore audience, early adopters, and dense criticism. With all this pressure, the PSN store can only get better!

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