on 26-12-2010 12:08 PM - last edited on 04-01-2011 01:06 PM by LordRoss
The Playstation Store is a great source of new games. Here's how to use it.
Know the basics.
The store contains several types of game (as well as media like themes, music and trailers):
PS3 games - mostly these are smaller games that can only be purchased from the store, but there is a small but increasing number of downloadable copies of full price games that can also be found on disc in high street shops. In the latter case, however, you can usually find the disc versions cheaper that the downloadable version, so beware.
PSP games - there are some games that are only available for download and there are also many digital copies of UMD games. PSP Go owners, whose console does not have a UMD mechanism, are wholly reliant on the store for their games, so are generally very disappointed to find that not all UMD games get a downloadable release. Of particular note are the 'PSP Essentials' many of which are by no menas essential, but they were originally full price releases and are all available for about £8.
PS One Classics - the word 'Classics' here apparently used incorrectly in the sense of 'old', these are a selection of Playstation One games that have been republished here. All of these antique games can be played on both PS3 and PSP. Some really are much-loved classics. Some are... not...
Minis - this is a relatively new label for small (cheap) games that are made primarily for PSP, but made so that the vast majority of them also work on PS3.
What's this 'Playstation Plus'?
Sony offers a subscription-based service which provides subscribers with access to free games, exclusive discounts and more. You'll see the Plus icon associated with special offers and prices that Plus members can get. If the item in question is available for all users, you'll see one price for everyone and the reduced price for the Plus members. More details here.
Money. Before you can buy anything from the store, you have to add funds to your 'wallet'. You can do this beforehand or at the point of purchase. There are two main ways of doing this - either with a credit card or a Playstation Network Card. If you have a credit card, you can add money (a minimum of £5 is applied) just by entering your credit card details as you would for any other online purchase. This is done through a secure server connection. If you don't have a credit card, you can buy PS Network cards from most games retailers, with a value of £20 or £50. These provide a unique code that you enter into the store and it will top up your wallet with that value.
If, after your purchase, there is cash left in your wallet, this will stick around for two years (if you don't use it again in that time, that is), so there's no need to use it all up in one go.
PSP owners get their own store. All PSP games can be found on the PS3 store, from where they can be purchased, downloaded and transferred to a PSP. There is also a PSP store available from the PSP itself, which only contains the PSP compatible material. PSP owners can also use a PC to use their store, by installing and using Sony's MediaGo program.
Do your research. People often ask 'Which game should I buy?'. Here's how to find out:
Find a list of games: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PlayStation_S
Look up review scores on line. Here are a couple of sites that aggregate review scores from multiple sites and publications - including links to the reviews:
Search for lists of the best games - there are such lists on gaming sites like CVG, IGN and gamepro (though bear in mind, once again, that some of these may not be available for download in your region). There are also, regularly, threads in these forums in which people ask for recommendations: like this, this and this. Learn how to use a search engine...
If you are going to post a message to a forum, asking for recommendations, please please please give a list of the sorts of games you enjoy - either titles or genres - to give the helpful forum contributers something to work with.
Try before you buy.
The Playstation Store has a long list of demos and trial versions of games - covering both the big triple-A retailblockbusters down to little store-exclusive puzzle games. And they're all completely free! Roughly 200 PS3 games and 50 PSP games to try - even if you're skint, there are many hours of entertainment just trying them all out.
You can find a regularly-updated list of demos and trial versions here!
Keep up to date.
Don't mess up...
Time and again, people make the same mistakes with store content. Here are some pointers that will help you steer clear of the problems that plague the hasty or ill-informed...
Not all minis work on PS3. Read the text associated with the game description if you're not sure. For example, the Tetris mini does not work on the PS3. (There is a different Tetris game available for PS3 owners.) All minis do work on PSP.
PSP games only work on the PSP. The PS3 is not able to play PSP games at all. There are a small number of games on the store that have both PS3 and PSP versions (such as LittleBigPlanet) so make sure you're buying the right one. Likewise extras and add-on content.
Trial versions... Some games are available as 'Trial and Unlock' versions. In these cases, you will find two files - one the free 'Trial', the other the 'Unlock' code, that you have to pay for. The Unlock file is usually a very small file - a key, if you like - that does not do anything on its own, but which 'unlocks' the trial version to give you access to the full game. You need to download both the trial version and the unlock key to get the full game. If you only download the key, don't expect to be able to see or play the game... Don't post a message here saying 'I bought this game and I can't find it in my Games list', just go and find the trial version.
Downloadable extras are region-specific. Often requiring a small payment, you can find extra levels, missions, characters, tracks or other content for your favourite games. However such extras are region-specific. So if you have imported the US version of a game, the content on the European store will not work. I can't stress this enough. If in doubt, read the text associated with the content you're about to buy - it will usually specify a disc ID (e.g. BLES12345) - this needs to match the number written on the spine of the game box.
Where did it go? You've bought something from the store in the past and now it's gone? This can sometimes happen if content is withdrawn. But any content you have previously purchased should still appear in your list of downloads, so look for it there. (It's one of the buttons at the top of the store.)
Some final download tips - if you buy a game, or some extra add-on content, or you are asked to update your game to a new version, things occasionally go wrong with the download. When this happens, you may get an error message and the game will fail to run.
Before you post a message here to demand an explanation, try downloading it again. Often, people find it useful to click the 'Download in background' button when buying stuff, but if you get an error with a download, it's recommended that you don't click this option when you re-try it.
With new versions, there is also a trick to the timing. A message will come up on the screen saying that a new version of your game has been found, and inviting you to download that new version. When this happens, wait a moment. Check the hard-drive light on your PS3. If it's still flashing, hold back and wait. Many problems can be prevented if you wait for that light to stop flickering before selecting to download the new version.
26-12-2010 04:46 PM - edited 26-12-2010 04:47 PM
Great post, and +1 vote for the sticky
(I would change the title to something more along the lines of PS Store Guidelines...
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