Hey there! If you‘re a PlayStation console owner, you‘ve probably heard about PlayStation Network (PSN) and wondered – is PSN free to use and play games online?
The short answer is: Yes, the basic access to PSN is free. You can create an account, download games, share gameplay videos, use entertainment apps like Netflix and much more without paying anything.
However, to unlock the full potential of PSN for online multiplayer gaming, free monthly games and other benefits, you‘ll need a paid PlayStation Plus subscription.
Let me explain this in more detail…
What is PlayStation Network?
PlayStation Network (PSN) is the online service for PlayStation consoles. It lets you do things like:
- Play multiplayer games online
- Download digital games, DLCs, avatars, themes etc. from the PlayStation Store
- Stream games instantly with PlayStation Now
- Share gameplay screenshots and videos
- Access entertainment apps like Netflix, Spotify, YouTube
- Chat with friends using voice/video share
So in a nutshell, PSN is your gateway to online gaming, digital content and entertainment on your PlayStation console.
PlayStation Plus Subscription Tiers
While basic PSN access is free, to unlock premium benefits you need to subscribe to PlayStation Plus. There are three tiers available:
|PlayStation Plus Essential||$9.99/month||$24.99/3 months|
|PlayStation Plus Extra||$14.99/month||$39.99/3 months|
|PlayStation Plus Premium||$17.99/month||$49.99/3 months|
Here‘s a quick rundown of the key benefits provided at each tier:
Online multiplayer gaming – Want to play popular online multiplayer games like Call of Duty, FIFA, Grand Theft Auto Online? You‘ll need a PS Plus subscription for this.
Monthly free games – Get 24-36 free games across PS4 and PS5 as a PS Plus member. These are yours to keep and play as long as you remain a subscriber.
Game catalog access – PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium members get access to a catalog of 400+ PS4 and PS5 games to download and play.
Exclusive discounts – PS Plus members get special discounts on games, add-ons, pre-orders and more on the PlayStation Store. Discounts can go up to 75% off!
Cloud storage – Store your game saves securely on 100GB cloud storage and continue playing on any PS4 or PS5.
So a PlayStation Plus subscription really enhances your PSN experience with plenty of valuable benefits, especially for multiplayer gamers.
You Don‘t Need PS Plus for Free-to-Play Games
Here‘s a useful tip – most popular free-to-play games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Warzone don‘t require a PS Plus subscription for online multiplayer.
Sony also offers a selection of first-party and third-party free-to-play games on the PlayStation Store that you can play online without needing PS Plus, such as:
- Genshin Impact
- Destiny 2
- Call of Duty Warzone
- Apex Legends
- Rocket League
So if you enjoy free-to-play online multiplayer games, you can access them on PlayStation without paying for a subscription. Sweet!
Adding Funds to Your PSN Wallet
To purchase games, DLCs, themes, avatars and other digital content from the PlayStation Store, you‘ll need to add funds to your PSN wallet.
Here are some convenient ways to add funds on PlayStation:
- Credit/debit card – Add funds directly using Visa, Mastercard, AmEx
- PayPal – Link your PayPal account to charge your wallet
- PlayStation gift cards – Redeem gift cards in denominations of $10, $20, $50
- Promo codes – Redeem PSN codes to add funds
Once your wallet is loaded up, the funds can be used to make purchases on PlayStation Store without needing to enter your card details each time. Super handy!
Creating Your PSN Account
Creating a PlayStation Network account is free and only takes a few minutes. Follow this simple process:
On your PlayStation console, go to Settings > Account Management > Create Account
Enter your sign-in ID (email address), date of birth, and country.
Create a password and enter your online ID (your public profile name).
Accept the PlayStation Network terms of service.
And that‘s it! Your PSN account will now be activated and ready for action.
Once created, simply go to Settings > Account Management > Sign In to access your PSN account on your PlayStation console.
You can also manage your account, subscriptions, payment methods and more right from your console or the PlayStation website.
Managing Your PSN Account and Subscription
Maintaining your PSN account and PlayStation Plus subscription is important. Here are some top tips:
Add/update payment methods – Easily add credit cards or PayPal in Account > Payment and Subscriptions.
Turn off auto-renewal – Don‘t want your PS Plus subscription to auto-renew? Turn off this option in your Account settings.
Cancel subscriptions – You can cancel an active subscription anytime from your Account if you need to.
Restore locked account – If your account gets locked for any reason, contact PlayStation support to regain access.
Dispute unauthorized charges – If you notice any suspicious activity on your PSN account, immediately contact your card provider to dispute it.
Recover lost password – Use the forgot password option and reset it securely if you ever lose access.
So be sure to actively manage your PSN account details, payment methods, and subscription status to have a smooth experience.
Is a PlayStation Plus Subscription Worth It?
At the end of the day, is paying for PlayStation Plus worth it?
For multiplayer gamers, the answer is usually a resounding yes! PS Plus is your ticket to playing online against friends and other gamers globally across popular titles like Call of Duty, Overwatch, Elden Ring and more.
The monthly free games – with a typical value of $40-$60 each month – also quickly add up to justify the subscription cost.
Here‘s a breakdown of the potential annual value you can get with a PlayStation Plus subscription:
|Benefit||Potential Annual Value|
|24-36 free games||$480-$960 (at $20-$60 per game)|
|Online multiplayer access||$60-$120 per year|
|Exclusive discounts||$100-$200 (10-20 purchases with 20% off)|
|Cloud storage||$50-$100 value|
For just $60 a year, a PS Plus membership can give you over $700 in value – not a bad proposition for avid gamers!
The expanded game catalog with the Extra and Premium tiers offers even more value and access to hundreds of full downloadable games.
So if you play games online regularly, a PS Plus subscription can really enhance your PlayStation experience and be well worth the investment. But it‘s absolutely not necessary to enjoy single player gaming, access apps like Netflix or use basic social features.
Hope this detailed guide helps you decide if PlayStation Plus is a good choice for you. Game on!