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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Taking the PlayStation online
Alfred Hermida
By Alfred Hermida
BBC News Online technology staff

As the PlayStation 2 goes online in the UK, BBC News Online tries its hand at setting up the gear.

PS2 network adapter
The PS2 network adapter attaches easily to the console
First things first. Forget about getting your PlayStation 2 (PS2) on the net if you do not have broadband at home.

Sony has decided to limit its gaming network to people with fast net access, rather than have gamers with different connection speeds.

If you do have broadband, you need to buy an extra bit of kit called a network adapter to hook up the console to the internet.

The Network Starter Kit retails for 24.99 or for 39.99 with a copy of the car action game Twisted Metal Black Online.

The pack has everything you need to go online, including a network adapter, a broadband cable and the connection software.

Make the connection

Attaching the adapter is child's play. All you have to do is switch off the console, unplug from the mains and fit the slim black plastic unit into the back of the console.

PS2 ONLINE OPTIONS
Socom: US Navy Seals
Network Starter Kit: 24.99
Network Starter Kit & Twisted Metal Black Online: 39.99
Twisted Metal Black Online: 24.99
Socom: US Navy Seals & USB Headset: 49.99

It slots in easily and you do not even need any tools as the screws can be tightened with a penny.

But be warned. Make a note of the serial number of your console before attaching the adapter. You will need this later in the registration process.

Otherwise, halfway through the process of going online, you will need to switch off the console and remove the adapter to get access to the number.

Once the adapter is on, the connection software should work out your internet settings automatically.

In most cases, you should not need to worry about IP addresses, DCHP settings or Nat configurations. But there is a way to do this manually if you run into trouble, though it is not for the faint-hearted.

Central registration

Once you are connected, you have the option to register for Sony's gaming service called Central Station.

At the moment, you do not have to register to play. But you will have to sign up to play future online titles, such as Gran Turismo 4.

PS2 ONLINE GAMES
GT4
Launch: Socom: US Navy Seals, Twisted Metal Black: Online, Midnight Club II, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
2003: Destruction Derby Arenas, Amplitude, My Street, Hardware, World Rally Championship 3, Everquest, Gran Turismo 4
Spring 2004: This is Football 2004, Syphon Filter: Omega Strain, Killzone

Filling in your details is a tad tedious using the on-screen keyboard. You will need the serial number of your console as well as the number on a voucher which comes as part of the starter kit.

Unlike Microsoft, Sony does not run its own dedicated paid-for gaming network. So you do not have to hand over your credit card details - just your name, address and a valid e-mail address.

This is important as Sony will e-mail you a final Pin to complete your registration.

If you do not, your account will be suspended after 90 days, meaning you could have problems playing future releases.

Sony says the idea behind Central Station is to provide regular updates or be able to send out new network discs with more features. But it also means the company has a powerful marketing tool, with a list of all the PS2 gamers who are online in the UK.

It also leaves a way open to charge for premium content further down the line, an option which Sony has not ruled out.

Initially, only a handful of titles are available in the UK. But Sony is promising to have about dozen in the shops by Christmas, ranging from action to sports titles.




SEE ALSO:
Xbox tests European online waters
29 Nov 02  |  Technology
Xbox Live put to the test
23 Feb 03  |  Technology
Nintendo puts its faith in games
22 May 03  |  Technology
PlayStation tempts gamers online
07 Mar 03  |  Technology
Sony revamps the PlayStation
28 May 03  |  Technology
PlayStation goes online in the UK
11 Jun 03  |  Technology


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