Sony’s second home console, the PlayStation 2, had a limited number of online features in select games via its online network. It required a network adaptor, which was available as an add-on for original models and integrated into the hardware on slimline models. However, unlike the network of its competitor, SegaNet, Sony provided no unified service for the system, so support for network features was specific to each game and there was no interoperability of cross-game presence. Five years later, during the development stage for its third home console, the PlayStation 3, Sony expressed their intent to build upon the functionality of its predecessor, by creating a new interconnected service that brings the “PlayStation World” together, with an emphasis on community, communication and content.[4]In March 2006, Sony officially announced the online network for its upcoming system at the PlayStation Business Briefing conference in Tokyo, Japan, tentatively named “PlayStation Network Platform”.[5] A list of supporting features was announced at the Tokyo Game Show later the same year.[6]

On May 8, 2007 Sony Computer Entertainment announced PlayStation Network Cards,[7] a form of electronic money that can be used with the Store. PlayStation Network Tickets, available in units of 1,000, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen, can be purchased at convenience stores throughout Japan.[8] Each ticket contains a 12 character alphanumeric code which can be input on the PlayStation Network to place credits in the virtual wallet.[9] The tickets are available through electronic kiosks at 26,000 convenience stores, including Lawsons, Family Mart, Daily Yamazaki, Ministop and Sunkus.[10] They are also available at 26,000 post office ATMs, although registration at a special mobile website is required first.[10] A similar system based around cards rather than tickets was introduced in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Mid 2007,[11] in North America in early 2008,[12] in Malaysia in June 2009 (in conjunction with the launch of the Malaysian PlayStation Store), and in the UK and Eurozone in October 2009.

On June 29, 2010, Sony launched a premium subscription service on top of the free PSN service. Known as PlayStation Plus, the system provides access to exclusive content, as well as regular store discounts, complimentary games and other content such as background themes.

Following a major security intrusion, the PlayStation Network had a temporary suspension of operation which began on April 20, 2011 and affected 77 million registered accounts. Lasting 23 days, this outage was the longest amount of time the PSN had been offline since its inception in 2006. Sony reported that user data had been obtained during the intrusion. In June 2011, Sony launched a “Welcome Back” program following the outage, allowing all PSN subscribers who joined prior to April 20 to download two free PlayStation 3 titles and two free PlayStation portable games. Users also received 30 free days of PlayStation Plus, while users who were already subscribed before the outage got 60 free days. After the disruption, Sony changed the PlayStation Network’s license agreement to legally bar users from filing lawsuits and joining class action lawsuits without first trying to resolve issues with an arbitrator.

On July 2, 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that they had acquired online video game streaming service Gaikai for $380 million USD. Throughout 2013, Sony stated their intention to use Gaikai’s technology to stream PlayStation games. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2014, Sony announced that Gaikai’s technology would be used to power what would officially be called PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now is a service where people can play video games via internet streaming on select PlayStation devices along with non-Sony devices like phones and televisions in the future. During 2014, Sony started to roll out the PlayStation Now service in North America on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in beta form as a means for users to test performance and pricing structures.

On December 25, 2014, both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live suffered network disruption after a denial-of-service attack. Functionality was restored on December 26, with some users experiencing difficulties in the days that followed. On January 1, 2015, Sony announced that users would be compensated for the downtime with a 5 day extension to PlayStation Plus memberships.