PlayStation Network touts 20 million users, Home hits 4 million

Sony claims new milestone for combined PS3, PSP online service, with 15 million users added in the last year; popularity of still-in-beta virtual world grows.

Despite gloomy holiday sales and being outsold by both the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, Sony's PlayStation brand has one spot of brightness: the PlayStation Network continues to grow. Last year, Sony proudly proclaimed that the PSN had more than 14 million active accounts, matching that of the Xbox 360.

Strong sales of the 360, thanks in part to its new Xbox experience and low-price hardware, have helped push Xbox Live past Sony with 17 Million active users as of January 2009, just over half of which are premium Gold subscriptions that allow online play.

Today Sony has announced that it has now surpassed Xbox Live with 20 million subscribers for its free-to-use service. The subscriber base represents explosive growth for Sony, given that the service reached only 5 million users in its first 12 months but has added a further 15 million in a little over a year. The service includes both PS3 and PSP users, and Sony has not disclosed the subscriber split between the two platforms.

Sony also unveiled a figure for PlayStation Home, saying the service now has more than 4 million users. Launched last December, the avatar-based virtual world/game matchmaking service remains officially in open beta.

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Mark Walton

Mark is a senior staff writer based out of the UK, the home of heavy metal and superior chocolate.
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695 comments
Tornado_Volcano
Tornado_Volcano

You have to put to account that there's many people that have multiple accounts. Like me, for example. I have an account for my country's PSN, which sucks by the way (many downloadable content not present and demos, etc) and I have another for the British PSN, which is WAY better than my country's PSN. I mean, why not making an unique PSN, like Live is? Anyways, I have Live and PSN, and I think that's worth paying 50 $ for a good online service. It's not a contest. You pay for Live, you get a better online service, but that's just my opinion.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

what has sony done wrong anyway, its because of them that most of you got into gaming anyway

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

@StarlightHunter microsoft the one who is destroying gaming, the amount of games that had to be shortened like gta just so it can go on an xbox

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

yea what a shame xbox dosent have its own handheld

denicola_a_god
denicola_a_god

ps3 is gonna rock everybodys minds this year....year of the playstation babyy

kuda001
kuda001

"15 million usres over the last year", highly suspicious Sony.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

we all know that microsoft is the better company here. their making prohet form out fees and use it to improve our online experiences. what does sony do?, make garbage like home and desperatly pay companys to make any exclusive game for them like killzone 2, which i bet sucks as much as the first one did. all shadowed by a joke for a online multiplayer.

beardrewz
beardrewz

ps3 home is boring. low res vids...and despite having adsl2 its slow and half the time people cant speak english. and that music in the background! my god its awful. remember sega sony...watch out cause sega went after being a power in the games. not to foget when sony had so many hot games 90 percent were rubbish.

beardrewz
beardrewz

OMG! its free to add an account! HELLLO! talk about a stupid thing to even believe. PSN sucks as well. no demos no nothing to okay...i think i rather play the xbox and register a year. Sony also like to use PR this way.

phase4illini
phase4illini

Cabal, given the massive popularity and success of free-to-play MMOs with purchase-to-use equipment, I think that there is a market out there, particularly if Home continues to evolve to suit the gamers that populate it. Who knows, we could see "paintball" and sports arenas develop, where the user's avatar can jump right into those kinds of games with minor modifications of the control schemes, with basic equipment load outs, and upgradeable equipment. Depends how far Sony and devs are willing to take the rabbit hole.

Cabal23
Cabal23

Do you really think that people will pay for digital furniture and clothing? Judging by these forums I say no, but perhaps i am wrong. The one reason why I prefer the per-year fee is because it prevents people from setting up multiple Xbox Live aliases (Gamertags) and changing identities constantly. People are more likely to pay for one "Gold" account and stick with it. If you automatically made everybody "Gold" by doing away with the monthly fees, the online community would become much more anonymous, and people would be creating more and more Gamertags every day. You would never know who you're playing with... And honestly, when people pay for something, they're a little more cautious about the way they act online. Microsoft might not do a great job at policing the environment, but they do suspend/ban TOS violators. And "deals" cost money. MS is constantly announcing new relationships with service providers. Netflix is the biggest, and that relationship probably cost MS a pretty penny. At the very least, we continue to get more and more for the service we pay for.

dmish82
dmish82

@Cabal23 I think you're wrong. Rather than charge a membership fee to play online, Sony stated they would rather charge via digital transactions, like clothing/furniture in Home. I would much rather have this than pay a monthly fee to play on 3rd party servers anyway. Microsoft is just really good at suckering people out of money ;-)

Cabal23
Cabal23

@Unsengost Sony may not charge for gaming online, but it has already been stated that third party companies can do whatever they like. It's not on Sony's servers anyways. EA games are on EA servers, etc. Why can't people understand that this is a money making venture? It was never intended to stay free and say what you like, it won't stay free for long. Would you throw money out the window if people were willing to give it to you? It is not a selling point for the PS3. You can't look at the business model of Live and tell me that Sony isn't asking themselves how they get a piece of that pie. Not to mention the issue of revenue right now for Sony. As big as they are they can't afford in these economic times to not try and make money off this online model. But I am just a lowly observer and I will wait and see but mark my words. The days of free stuff will be a thing of the past soon as Sony figures a way to market it and make Home a true digital marketplace.

phase4illini
phase4illini

Gezquester, at the same time MS has never released results about how many Live users are 360, original xbox, or windows pc. And I love how everyone is throwing out there how many PSN accounts they have. I could throw out my 3 Live acounts, 1 gold, 1 silver, and one Windows (and yes, they are not all tied to the same Windows Live ID). It's not about how many accounts a person has or on which system those accounts are based. It's about the overall exposure to the online service. Generally it can be assumed that the more users, the more people who will go online to look at making DLC purchases; in the event of Home (whether you care for Home or not) on the PSN, the more general PSN users that Sony can tout, the more companies will likely be advertising and selling products within Home.

Gezquester
Gezquester

“Sony has not disclosed the subscriber split between the two platforms” - Its obviously mostly PSP users (that’s why they won’t disclose the information). If it was mostly PS3 users and that amount trumped Micro’s stats, I’m pretty sure Sony would boast about it, I know I would. I am happy to say that I add to the PS3 statistics! I love my PS3! Wish I had an Xbox 360 as well though but its either buy an Xbox 360 and have no games for it or buy 3 PS3 games, one of them being Killzone 2. Hmmm... I think blasting Helghast into oblivion sounds more appealing.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

darin025, ive said this numerious times and no one seems to read. look at sony go!! what?. the fact that they make nothing from it, yeah that really deservers congratulating.

LordelXP
LordelXP

Not to disrespect Sony of anything, I think those numbers may be a little inflated. I have two separate accounts on my PS3...I'm sure that a lot of other users have more than one account as well. The inclusion of trophies makes it so that people aren't creating 10 accounts, but I think at least a quarter of those users have more than one...

-Intellectual-
-Intellectual-

Its about 8 million who have connected their ps3 and 12 million have connected their psp to PSN, because the psp has a larger install base. Think about it ?!

Jose_Rizal
Jose_Rizal

Would people pay $50/year for features of LIVE? Millions of XBL Gold members thinks so. Would you pay $50/year for features of PSN? Yeah, I thought so.

lordrave
lordrave

All i know, there wont be any Blue-ray quality game trailer for download, that's confirm. Big size and all, arcade, music video, movies for rent and more, so, there wont be any kind of service for movies and trailer unless they use it on normal format, Blue-ray.. LOL make me laugh.. About Home, it's sux, im not gonna spend 2-3 hours going around seeing simulation people, and just do nothing, I heard a late 2005 news, there's a person that actually spend $25,000(real) for a mansion/resort in a game, what was the title again? second life online maybe? Dude WTF? but no comment on that, his money, not mine. So, i think Sony gonna create a new "so called Gold" member later on to earn more profits, for now, they depends on HOME, Just so you know, going online with Microsoft service, the connections are faster.

Owen_Waffle
Owen_Waffle

MotoRacer81.. Indeed mate i had about 3 accounts when i had a ps3. Difference is with xbox live you pay for a gold account so you can assume people who pay will play. Microsoft can get a near 100% figure of users actually playing online. Sony dont really have any idea... I did ever really play any games online yet i had like you 3 accounts. I have 1 account for my xbox and play many a game online.....

darin025
darin025

Ha woot woot, look at Sony go!!

Hekynn
Hekynn

Nice yup I just got into Home its very good its like a sim mmo game :)

MotoRacer81
MotoRacer81

Sony is pathetic indeed. I personally have 3 different accounts on my PS3 that are all registered online. I did this so that I can download demos from other regions. Also, I do have one PSP account as well. Bottom line is who cares. 20 million is no where near the true numbers of online players, not to mention that I know many people that have PS3' just to play movies, and these people also have online accounts so they can get updates..etc. We need the number of players that actually play games online. In my opinion, the 4 million people that have signed for Home is the real number of real players.

gamefreakwill
gamefreakwill

Yeah note they said PS3 and PSP combined! Pfft and i'm sure more than half are PSP users. I'm still waiting for that PS3 comeback fanboys that you told us would happen in 2008, but oh look, its 2009! No comeback yet.....should we wait another year??????

XanderZane
XanderZane

brendanhunt1 XanderZane i might aswell say xbl has more people because you were in the market 16 months longer. ****************************************************** Well, actually longer then that. The original XBox had XBox Live on it as well. Most people, like myself, just moved the account over to the new console. It took M$ longer to establish large subscription base because there was a yearly fee. Plus XBox Live didn't had the amount of content 5 yrs ago like it does now. ======================================== Unsengost XanderZane, Which customers would be boasting? =P ************************************************************ If you're talking about gamers, then gamers on both platforms should be boasting if they are happy with the service. Sony should be boasting about their subscriber, but I don't think they needed to make a comparison with XBox Live because there's really no comparison at this point. PSN is still overall inferior and Sony still isn't making a huge profit from it. How many people bought fake furniture for their Home and fake clothes for their avatar, using real money? Not me. =========================================== Unsengost well all ik is that Killzone 2 comes out tomorrow and Mlb the Show comes out next week. I am going to stop writting on this and just think of thses next few weeks of pure enjoyment. **************************************************************** I hear ya. I pre-ordered Killzone 2 as well. The demo was pretty sweet. I'm glad they finally got this game right. It's still not as good looking as the CGI that was shown many moons ago, but it's pretty close. I'll have to get MLB The Show 2010 later on down the road. I have the PSP version from last year and the game is great. =========================================== JKxMExAN XBOx Users are more devoted and have a better service. They pay but its worth every penny. HOME SUCKS **************************************************************** Yes, HOME is pretty bad. I still haven't tried the bowling or pool yet. It definitely needs more content. I will never pay real money for furniture, clothes or anything for my apartment or avatar. All that stuff should be free. I'll pay for great community games. I'm surprised HOME didn't include simple games lilke boardgames (chess, checkers), cards (hearts, spades, uno) or other multiplayer games like darts, basketball, tennis, etc.. I'm sure stuff like this is on the way, but not having it at launch is a bummer.

moose_knuckler
moose_knuckler

I wish all xbox's and ps3 had some type of identification number so they'd only count 1 (or more for family reasons or something like that) account per console because if you try to boost numbers like that it's considered fraud.

misterstatus
misterstatus

Tomorrow I'm picking up Killzone 2 for the PS3 and Star Ocean for the 360. Last week I bought Dawn of War 2 for the PC, and the week before that I picked up House Of The Dead: Overkill for the Wii. All systems, consoles and PC, have some great games. All have reasons to own them, and reasons not to, pros and cons. You can spend your life here unleashing your opinion on strangers until they all agree that the one system you own is clearly better than all the others so you can feel better about your decision, or you can just go play the games you bought the system for and not care what anyone else thinks. Me, I'm going to go shoot some zombies.

Onyx79
Onyx79

*whispers*: There are more online Wii users than both XBL and PSN combined *runs away*

JKxMExAN
JKxMExAN

XBOx Users are more devoted and have a better service. They pay but its worth every penny. HOME SUCKS

wucasella
wucasella

im sick of this PS XBOX head bashing, if that is all you want to do then set up yer own website where ye biatch and pish and moan about the console you dont have or whatever, isnt there a forum for this type of crap anyway, so go and use that and stop polluting every news, review, preview article that is posted on this site with yer scurrilous nonsense

ilton45
ilton45

By the way Hvac, this isn't a college paper, I couldn't care less if I have proof for anything I post here, it's a game website... Like I said, it goes to show how seriously you take this stuff...

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

You know what... I've said enough. I'm not going to continue to argue over something this stupid. It's not like anybody is looking at these comments to make their purchase decisions and I've already made mine. If it's true, then it's true, but I want to read what you have read. That's all. I want an official statement from Microsoft. If you've got one, PM it to me. I'm serious that I am just interested in reading that. Otherwise, if all you guys have to do is post negative things in this article, then maybe you should move it to the forums because you're getting off topic and into a console war discussion. This is good news, jaded or not. That's my point and I'll stick with it. As I said before; quit wasting your time complaining about these numbers and go play on the online service of your choice. You read that? . Everyone has a preference, go enjoy what you prefer. You want to convince people find an outlet that will actually reach more than few people who happen to see your comments at the bottom of this article.

ilton45
ilton45

When MS said, whenever it was that they released this, they said XBL had x amount of users. That means XBL has x amount of users on XBOX live, meaning on an xbox. But now that I looked here is your proof, which is in this same article http://www.gamespot.com/news/6202733.html.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

well even 10million online users is enough to play online

ilton45
ilton45

Apparently, it means more to you than it does to me. I don't care enough about either console, to do research about it for some guy I have never met in my life... I didn't say google was proof, I said you google it, if you care that much.

KC_Hokie
KC_Hokie

Sony declaring 20 million PSN users, which we all know is due primarily to 50 million PSP's sold, and thus declaring themselves champs of online gaming is like winning the special Olympics one day and returning to reality the next.

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

--Hvac0120-- Does "smiling" not count as laughing? That would be semantics. ~~~~ Smiling is to laughing in the same way sight is to sound...which is to say...completely different. We'll ignore the context of the comment in which you got even further out of whack. And ilton45 is right.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

@ ilton45 Google? That's your proof. What is the source you are reading on Google? I can read on Google, but I want to know source, not one I find myself. Point is that you don't have proof. I'm totally gonna die if the numbers are jaded, man. I can't live with this type of false truth...Give me a break... You shouldn't be promoting false truth. Is it that important to you to spread false information about a console? If you make a statement, be prepared to provide some source for that information or proof of credibility. That's all I'm trying to get out of you.

Unsengost
Unsengost

well all ik is that Killzone 2 comes out tomorrow and Mlb the Show comes out next week. I am going to stop writting on this and just think of thses next few weeks of pure enjoyment.

moose_knuckler
moose_knuckler

@Hvac0120 Your right but then again not all games on XBL do host connection, which in my opinion is better because they normally show how good their connection is. True your going to have problems with headsets on both the PS3 and 360, not sure why your having that problem with headset but it could be where you insert the (wired) headset into the plug-in area of the controller, may have dirt or something inside there. I'm not gonna bother getting into multiple accounts because it goes for both sides, although I see more about having multiple PSN accounts. I still think this number is very low considering this counts for both the PS3 and PSP network so.....you'd think they'd have twice as much considering PSP has over 50,000 units sold and PS3 has quite a bunch too (not sure what the numbers are).

ilton45
ilton45

@Hvac, No, it's called google. And by the way, I'm right. I'm amazed at how much that bothers you, it's almost like it truly affects your life.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

@ brendanhunt1 I can't prove that. How is that relevant?

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

It's all tied to the same GamerTag. It bundles all the same achievements into a single account. You can play cross-platform PCXbox360. How is that not the same service?

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

Hvac0120 prove me that the number of xbox sold doesnt include the one's that were replaced