Central Station logo
Central Station logo

Central Station (also known as Network Gaming Service) was an online service by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for PAL regions in the PlayStation 2 era.

The service allowed users to have friend lists, view new game releases, read the latest PlayStation-related news, enter events, and play Central Station-integrated online games for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable consoles. The service acted as a Sony official alternative to middleware like GameSpy but with extra features similar to Xbox Live or PlayStation Network.[1]

The Central Station portal could be accessed via a Network Access Disc which would be used to set up an internet connection.

Central Station was superseded by the worldwide PlayStation Network upon release of the PlayStation 3. It is unclear when it was discontinued.

History

Logo before rebrand
Logo before rebrand

The overall history of Central Station is unclear due to very limited documentation. However, multiple Network Access Discs have been dumped and preserved online.[2] These discs show that Central Station went through at least two major UI/Branding changes outside of beta testing.

Around November 2004, Sony gave out new discs to registered users. These discs included a new settings UI, a new Central Station portal, and Hardware: Online Arena.[3]

The Central Station middleware seems to have been used on some PlayStation Portable games as-well, although no evidence exists showing that users could access the Central Station portal on PlayStation Portable consoles.[4][5]

A beta disc known as "Mirage"[6] was dumped online that has a very rough sketch of the Central Station UI,[7] alongside was a scanned document that was released on a Tumblr blog indicating that British Telecom worked with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe to integrate H.264 streaming into the Network Access Discs.[7]

Usage

Central Station required users to register their console with two to three different codes depending on the console's model. These would mainly consist of a Network Access Code (included in the disc or console packaging), the Console Model Number, and the Network Adapter Serial Number.[1][5] After going through the registration process, users would receive a PIN code in the mail that could be entered on the console or on the Network Gaming Service website.

Supported Games

All of the games that support Central Station are published by Sony Computer Entertainment or a similar subsidiary:[8]

Title Year Developer
Amplitude 2003 Harmonix
Destruction Derby: Arenas 2004 Studio 33
EverQuest Online Adventures 2003 Sony Online Entertainment
Everybody's Golf 4 2003 Clap Hanz
EyeToy: Chat 2005 London Studio
FORMULA ONE 04 2004 Studio Liverpool
FORMULA ONE 05 2005 Studio Liverpool
Hardware: Online Arena 2003 London Studio
Jak X: Combat Racing 2005 Naughty Dog
Killzone 2004 Guerrilla Games
My Street 2003 Idol Minds
Ratchet & Clank 3 2004 Insomniac Games
Ratchet: Gladiator 2005 Insomniac Games
SOCOM 3: US Navy SEALs 2005 Zipper Interactive
SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs 2003 Zipper Interactive
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs 2003 (EU) Zipper Interactive
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Combined Assault 2006 Zipper Interactive
Syphon Filter: Omega Strain 2004 Bend Studio
This is Football 2004 2004 London Studio
Twisted Metal: Black Online 2001 Incognito Entertainment
WRC 4 2004 Evolution Studios
WRC Rally Evolved 2005 Evolution Studios

See also

References

  1. ^ a b (PS2) Central Station - Ready To Connect Video, retrieved 2022-05-25
  2. ^ "redump.org • Discs". redump.org. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  3. ^ "New NAD for PS2 online users in Europe". Beyond3D Forum. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  4. ^ "www.yourgamingname.com - portablegaming.de". www-portablegaming-de.translate.goog. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  5. ^ a b "Network Gaming Service". 2007-07-04. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  6. ^ "redump.org • Mirage". redump.org. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  7. ^ a b retrogamecollection. "Retro Game Collection". Retro Game Collection. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  8. ^ "PlayStation Help & Support: Grief Reporting". 2007-10-09. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 2022-06-13.