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Ask PSLS: The Current State of the PlayStation Network

July 23, 2014 Written by Chandler Wood

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Ask PSLS is a feature that sources questions from our community of readers via TwitterFacebookthe forums, and even your emails. If you have a question for the staff to answer, contact us at any of those channels and you could be featured on the next Ask PSLS, with the possibility of winning a prize for being chosen!


This week’s Ask PSLS question comes to us from forum user Shawdad. In his forum thread about the PlayStation Network he asks:

“After seeing all the arguments in the comments section regarding the most recent disruption of service of the PSN, it made me curious about the overall opinion here on PSLS regarding the stability of the PSN.1. Do you think it is stable enough now? 2. Do you think it should be more stable now that we are paying for the service on PS4? And if yes, should Sony be working faster on improving it with the money they are receiving from subscriptions?”

With the recent uproar over network stability due to the hiccups when the Destiny beta launched, the PSLS staff weighs in with their thoughts on the current state of the PSN, and one of us even digs more into the more technical side of things.

Alex Co (@excaliburps)

 I honestly think it’s stable enough now. Do I get annoyed at maintenance work? Yes, of course. But for the most part, Sony allows people who have logged in the past 10 days to play even during maintenance, so I’m good. Anything is better than having another PSN attack like what happened before.

Now that the PS4′s online MP is a paid service, it should be more robust and such. As it stands now, the PS3 PSN version might be slower, but has features that are sorely missed in the PS4 version. Features such as being able to pause downloads, download history and seeing PSN friend’s notifications when they go online should be implemented already.

Overall, with PS+ being the main seller, I’m happy with PSN. I do feel they should roll out features more quickly, though.

Chandler Wood (@FinchStrife)

I fail to understand the outrage that occurs every time there is any kind of PSN downtime. For one thing, I am usually at work when it happens, so it doesn’t affect me. It usually passes quickly enough, and even if I was home, they allow me to log on during maintenance periods if I’ve logged in recently. Since the big downtime of 2011, I have never once been inconvenienced by the PSN being down, and I’d venture a guess that a large portion of the people joining in the tirade of complaints aren’t actually being inconvenienced themselves. 

In addition, I was completely on board with PS Plus before it was Sony’s ‘paid online’, so the fact that online features are rolled into it now on the PS4 doesn’t bother me in the slightest. As I said network stability has rarely, if ever, been an issue for me; I’ve played the Destiny beta flawlessly, so I am very satisfied with what we currently have and trust that they are continually working to improve and make it better. 

D’yani Wood (@Dyani)

I think the network is pretty stable now. It never bothers me or interrupts me anymore. I do think it’s silly that things still go wrong when a big game releases (ex. Destiny beta). That should be dealt with in a much better way since we are paying for access on the PS4. But things aren’t too bad nowadays.

Dan Oravasaari (@FoolsJoker)

Yeah, Sony has come a long way in improving the PSN service since the beginning, and I think they are at a stable point with it now. Although, they really should do a better job in preparing for major releases, as that is when people will be depending on the service more than ever.

As I said before, I think the only thing Sony really needs to do at this point is do a better job at getting ready for the influx of users around major releases. But, even with that said, they are getting a decent amount of revenue from PS+ subscribers, so they should be putting at least some of that into improving their online infrastructure overall.

Jason Dunning (@Jasonad21)

Just looking at the most recent incident with the Destiny beta, I’d say a little downtime (15 – 30 minutes) a few hours before the beta would have been fine. Instead, the PSN went down about an hour prior to the Destiny beta, and continued to be down for a few more hours, which is unacceptable when you know exactly when the servers are going to get bombarded.

In the grand scheme of things though, the PSN is online most of the time, and the monthly maintenance allows for you to keep playing uninterrupted, provided you logged in a couple days in advance.

Louis Edwards (@Ftwrthtx)

I’ve been around the PSN since it’s inception and it is far and away better and more stable now than at anytime in the past. After participating in the PlayStation Now Beta since it first rolled out, even that service has been as stable as any other on the market.

The fact that the PSN was free for so long (and still is for the PS3 and PS Vita) is a testament to how much Sony wanted it to run smoothly before ever considering a fee for usage. To then wrap that fee into a service that gives you more bang for your buck (PS+) was a genius marketing move.

Paulmichael Contreras

The PSN has grown dramatically more stable since the PlayStation 3 days. While nothing is perfect, and of course Sony had the unfortunate hack and consequent downtime back in 2011, things have changed for the better. I’m not sure if the additional stability is due to PlayStation Plus revenue, but it would be logical that Sony would use some of that money to improve their infrastructure. I think Sony handled the recent issues with the Destiny Beta pretty well – the network and game was behaving as if nothing had happened when I got home a few hours after the downtime. Launches like these are true tests of massive networks, and so far no platform has launched a AAA online game without a few hiccups. More important than if a network fails is how the network’s company responds, and so far Sony has done pretty well in the PS4 era.

Ryan

Yes and no. “PSN” is a very vague term. The network that we know as the PSN is really a combination of Sony-run servers that provide the services that our consoles talk to for various things (login, PS Store, seeing who is online, all of the activities you see on PS4, etc.) as well as various glue that connects our consoles with servers for individual games. Sony of course has no control over any servers hosted by developers/publishers, but when you can’t login to play Destiny or Battlefield or Call of Duty, etc. most likely you don’t give a crap which part of the network is having problems. I think for the most part Sony has done a great job of beefing up their piece of “the network”. It can always be better, but I am happy.

This may sound like splitting hairs, but we’re not paying for the PSN. We are paying for “online multiplayer” and the various other services that PS+ provides. If all we were getting out of the deal was the online part, I’d be more inclined to say [that I expect more stability]. PS+ gives enough other perks IN MY OPINION that I can forgive a little more downtime here and there.

The biggest issues seem to happen around big releases. Destiny Beta? Boom! With the right “tools” in their infrastructure toolbelts it should be easy enough to scale their infrastructure pretty quickly. That’s the whole point of “the cloud”. Within a week of major launches they should be scaling up capacity and bracing for impact. As things die back down, spin down what isn’t being used and continue to monitor.

Zarmena Khan (@Zarmena)

Yes, it sure is [stable enough now]. Ever since I’ve bought a PS4, I’ve hardly run into problems the way I did on the PS3 back in the day. Even signing in used to be hell at times, let alone the actual online experience. I’m satisfied.

think it’s more stable now than it was before, but there’s still room for improvement. It is fair to demand that the subscription money be put towards improving the online experience and minimizing disruptions.

What do you think of the PlayStation Network right now? Should PS Plus subscriptions do more for users, or is Sony already being very generous? Remember to send us questions for Ask PSLS on TwitterFacebookthe forums, and email. Be sure to check back next Wednesday to see what question the PSLS staff answers!