How cool is it to get the newest toy only to not be able to play with it with your friends? That is what happened to me this Christmas when Santa left the PlayStation 4 under our tree. This post is not me being mad about being so lucky, but about the issues that came up when my family opened this gift.
The cool thing about PlayStation is that Sony has supported the past systems for so long. This has allowed the older systems such as the PS2 to survive for a long time after the releases of superior game platforms. With the release of the PS3, Sony announced its online gaming network calling it “PlayStation Network Platform”, this is what later became the PlayStation Network or PSN as we know it today. The service was free. That was back in 2006, before I was born. In 2007 they started selling PlayStation Network Cards, allowing gamers to buy units which could be used on the network for currency. Later they released a premium service called PlayStation Plus. PlayStation Plus became a must have for online gaming with the release of the PS4.
My family didn’t get rid of our PS3, just moved it to another room (not on the good TV). This was lucky for me, since I quickly found out I couldn’t play with any of my old PS3 friends on our new PS4. Sony didn’t want unfair playing advantages for the PS4 players in the online gaming world. I get that, but come on! Are there seriously large gaming advantages to Minecraft on PS4 versus PS3? This has left me bouncing between the two systems, playing with new friends on the PS4 and spending time with my old PS3 friends. My Mom says this is a “first world problem” – which means I shouldn’t be complaining about it, because there are big issues in this world. Something to keep in mind for PS3 owners if you do the same thing we did (moving the PS3 to another room) remember that if the PS3 is not on an HDTV you wouldn’t be able to play split-screen on games like MineCraft because it doesn’t let you.
My gaming experience has changed due to the addition of a headset for our PS4. Its cool, but I have a feeling it’s stressing my Mom out a bit. She has tried to explain to me that we don’t actually know who I’m playing with and that can be dangerous. Her and my Dad sat me down and talked about the rules of online gaming and how we don’t give out personal information like where we live or our full names and stuff like that. She usually hangs around while I play keeping an ear out for what I’m saying. The other issue is with the headset is that she can’t control what I hear from other players. I know what I shouldn’t be listening to and I leave when that happens, but still it’s not what my Mom wants to be dealing with.
A few things I want to share with you parents of small gamers who are on the PS4. One is there is a “Real Name” request option on the PS4. This allows you to share your real name rather than your gaming name. I know most of you Parents will have your kids profiles set-up under you, but just in case keep an eye out for these requests. You can decline them or delete them. Of course you can always only allow friends you actually know, but it’s very easy to add friends when you’re in the middle of a game and little players can do it without knowing completely what they are doing.
Another thing to look out for are the messages you receive from other players. If they are inappropriate you can select the messages and use the “OPTIONS” button to select delete. This will remove them from the list. There are also things called “Party” where people with headsets can create a group and chat as they play. Keep in mind that if your kid is playing under a sub account on the Network they will be restricted by Parental Controls, which means they invite people to a Party but can’t join one on their own.
Big thing is stay safe while having fun online. There is no reason why we can’t all play together – “The net is vast and infinite.” Happy playing!