The Playstation network also known as PSN, is a free multiplayer online gaming service primarily for the Playstation 3, a video game console and the Playstation Portable (PSP) the handheld console. It is owned and operated by Sony Computer Entertainment a subsidiary of the Sony Corporation.

There are over 77 million users worldwide; most of the users are from Japan, Europe, Australia and the US. It is available in about 60 countries, some with limited features access. Using the service requires an internet connection, sign up as a member and a Playstation console.

The service expands beyond the gaming experience by offering users social networking platform, where friends can add each other and communicate via text, voice chat with a headset and video chat using the Playstation eye camera. Friends can add each other through their user names and share which games they are playing as well as play together by inviting players to online gaming session. PSN also allows it’s users to display trophies and updates on different games played.

Online gaming also allows you to compete with others apart from your PSN friends; this includes competing in tournaments and leader boards in each game allowing you to compare your score to the world. PSN also allows several users (up to seven) to play on the same console and some games allow more than one user to play online on the same console both using the same gamer tag.

The Playstation store is a prominent feature in the network; it allows users to download game demos and download game updates. Among this there are downloadable themes, wallpapers, video’s and game trailers. Classic games from previous consoles can also be purchased.

PSN offers a paid subscription service, Playstation plus with allows users to play games and exclusive access to beta games and demos. There are also premium themes and avatars available. It also offers extended game trials of an hour as well as Blue-ray disc latest releases.

It also allows members to save game data online to back up saved games with a limit of 150mb; it allows users to then access this on other Playstation consoles.

The network depending on the country of service also provides several video on demand packages that provide stream able tv-shows, movies and trailers.

PSN also allows you to manage your service by adding features such as a block list for unwanted friends, Parental control for minors and several games and security updates, constantly adding new features to the network and gaming experience.

It also has a web browser, allowing the user to search the web and use popular sites such as YouTube and Google. An instant messaging service is also on the service allowing two users to send messages with the option of adding a keyboard to one of the four USB ports.