Buying games for your PlayStation is made that much easier now that you can buy directly from the source. Thanks to the PlayStation Network, gamers can download the latest titles directly from their consoles, play online with friends, stream content, and more. Basically, it's the best way to spend your Saturday afternoons.
Except when it's not. If you're unlucky, you may sometimes see your PlayStation home screen displaying a message saying the Playstation Network is "busy" and to try again later. What does that mean?
What does it mean when the PlayStation Network is busy?
Unfortunately for PlayStation users (and a possible plus for Xbox gamers), it means that players can't use any of the online features available even though the games they have already installed should be available to them. This means no online gameplay, no updates about your favorite games — basically, you can't access anything that requires an internet connection.
When this happens, PlayStation is typically quiet about why it occurs. The company is usually quick to let fans know when aspects of their platform won't be available for things like maintenance, so unless you see such a message from PlayStation, it's safe to say the network being busy isn't part of the plan.
On Thursday, July 22, 2021, a widespread internet outage affected more than 40,000 PlayStation users, as well as Steam store customers. The outage wasn't limited just to video game fans, either — multiple bank websites, the New York Metro Transportation Authority, and even some 911 emergency systems were also affected. Luckily, service was restored before too long — and if you're seeing the "PlayStation Network is busy" sign, chances are you won't have to wait too long, either.
The Network being down could be because of you, the player.
Not everything about the Network is the fault of PlayStation itself, arguably. Some people believe that they get the busy signal when there are too many people trying to use it at one time. Sometimes, the servers get overwhelmed with too many people using the service at one time, so they fizzle out and shut everyone out at once.
Although, for some, this isn't a good enough excuse. It's not like we all don't know how popular PlayStation consoles have been over the years. If this is the reason why the network is busy, they could make sure they have enough bandwidth to manage the number of players. No one wants to go through the mess that was the PS5 preorders again. There are still people who want one who haven't been able to get a PS5 since they launched in late 2020.
But let's keep in mind that the PlayStation Network being down isn't a frequent occurrence. Even this last time that it did happen, the interruption only lasted less than an hour. And it can be assumed that since it took place during the middle of the week and not on a Friday afternoon or on the weekend, it wasn't as big of an outrage as it could have been.
Sometimes, the Network being down is more of an issue with the player. Make sure that your internet connection is secure and keep up with your needs as a gamer. Try to account for the other devices in your home that are also using the same Wi-Fi and see if you actively use any of them. When lots of devices use the same network, it can cause overcrowding, and that can slow down your connection as well.
There is a page on the PlayStation website that allows users to check the Network's status. This allows them to see what aspects are currently working, news about scheduled maintenance, and more. This is also directly available on consoles under Settings in the Network tab.