People trying to create new PlayStation Network accounts this Christmas are running into a significant digital roadblock which is keeping people from effectively using their new PlayStation 4s. Sony is currently failing to immediately send verification emails to new users, hobbling new users' efforts to create online accounts and sub-accounts that can access the PlayStation Network.
Sony's official Twitter support feed says that the email notifications are "delayed", but an hour after attempting to create a new sub-account for my own nephew, I can confirm that these delays are lasting quite some time. I haven't gotten an email yet, and Twitter is stuffed with people complaining about the same issue.
We're aware that PSN account notification emails are delayed. Thanks for your patience! For password help click: https://t.co/6QrOCqYM10
— Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) December 25, 2015
Verification emails are required before a user can access the PlayStation Network. Without getting one, the user can't access the PlayStation store and can't join PlayStation Plus, which means they can't play online games.
Presumably this is because of a Christmas logjam of new users for PlayStation, but surely this added network stress is something Sony can plan for. If it clears up, we'll update.
Without a PSN account, you can play single-player games and even download updates to games.