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 slim-line models. However, unlike the network of its competitor, Sega Net, 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. 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”.A list of supporting features was announced at the Tokyo Game Show later the same year.
In May 2007, Sony Computer Entertainment introduced PlayStation Network Cards, a form of electronic money that can be used with the Store. Each ticket contains an alphanumeric code which can be inputted on the PlayStation Network to deposit credit in a virtual wallet. The tickets are available via electronic kiosks, convenience stores and post office ATMs throughout Japan. A similar system based around cards rather than tickets was introduced in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Mid 2007 in North America in early 2008, in Malaysia in June 2009, 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.