PlayStation is a company with a strange past. From poor pre-order debacles to great mascots, they’ve shown themselves to be as laughable as they are lovable. Here are a few of their standout moments.
A Quick History of PlayStation Consoles
The PlayStation was originally conceptualised as a project between Sony and Nintendo in 1988 and worked as CD-ROM for the Super Famicom.
After years of work, Nintendo cancelled this partnership and opted to do the same idea with Philips with the same technology which was done as no agreement could be made on the revenue split.
This angered Norio Ohga, the Sony president who appointed Ken Kutaragi “The Father of the PlayStation” to make their rival console, the PlayStation.
In May 1992, negotiations with Nintendo ended and a meeting was held two months later to decide the fate of PlayStation. This held ideas of a CD-ROM based system designed to play games with 3D graphics.
Despite having this design, there was much debate between focusing on the tried-and-tested 2D sprites or on the newer 3D polygons.
Manabu Sakamoto designed the PlayStation logo to capture the 3D focus of the console going forward. This optical illusion has the “P” in the foreground and the “S” in the background, mimicking a 3D object.
A key focus of the foundation of PlayStation was its move to Sony Music which helped attract a lot of talent and shaped the way some of the console’s architecture was approached.
In 1993, the PlayStation project was officially greenlit by Sony executives after years of development.
The first PlayStation console released in December 1994 in Japan and September 1995 in the rest of the world at a launch price of $299, $100 cheaper than the Sega Saturn, its competitor at this point.
Funnily enough, this launch date (added to their great exclusives) managed to miss its main competitor, Nintendo, by a year and became one of the foundational steps that finds them almost selling beside each other nowadays.
By the end of September, the PlayStation saw many classic titles such as Rayman, Wipeout, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, and uhhh Street Fighter: The Movie?
The PlayStation managed to sell 102.49 million units by December 2003 and became the first video game console to sell 120 million units.
Needless to say, the PlayStation was a major success made even more impressive by the fact it was Sony’s first solo outing into the field.
This was, no doubt, helped by the impressive lineup of titles such as Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Spyro, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, and far too many to include in this sentence.
A few more factors that led to this rise was the base cost, its multifunction purpose as a CD player and some rather wonderful marketing.
It built a brand and that brand has lasted the test of time. Look at a controller, memory card, or even its bootup theme to get exactly what I mean.
Strangely enough, the follow up to the original PlayStation was two consoles, the PlayStation 2 and the PS One, a smaller redesign of the original. This outsold the PS2 in the first year of both of their sales, 2000.
The PS2 had a nine-month rollout from releasing in Japan in March and finally, the rest of the world by November, a far cry from the one week difference we have to trudge through this year.
Despite having a slower start than the PS One, the PS2 ended its 12-year run in 2012 as the best selling video game console of all time at more than 155 million units sold.
The PS2 was bigger and beefier than its predecessor and it came out the gate swinging.
The 128-bit processor was a key component in offering CD and DVD accommodation and add-ons could be bought for internet capability, cameras and so much more.
It seems that the PS2 was a console built for offering lots of things. If you were a casual player, you could indulge in some more light-hearted titles or gimmicks such as microphones and EyeToy.
If you were more invested, you could buy top of the range hundred-hour RPGs or intense shooters. If you just wanted a DVD player with the option to mess around with, the $299 price tag was almost worth it by itself.
Some of the fantastic titles gamers received for the PlayStation 2 include Kingdom Hearts, Jak & Daxter, Beyond Good & Evil, God of War, Okami, and more.
This is before mentioning that it was entirely backwards compatible.
The PlayStation 2 worked to effectively replace your DVD player, your PS1, your CD player, and practically everything else in your house Something the Xbox One tried and failed at 13 years later.
The slimline model helped make this package even more appealing
With the roaring success of its past two consoles and the surprising rise of the Xbox original, the PlayStation 3 had a lot to live up to and initially it didn’t.
At a launch price of $599 for the 60GB model, it just couldn’t live up to this price point. It did have a few standout titles for its American launch such as Resistance: Fall of Man, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and who could forget Sonic The Hedgehog.
This price point and mediocre sales led Xbox 360, the underdog at the time, to outsell the PS3 and it wouldn't catch up until early 2013. This wasn’t helped by Xbox managing to beat them to the market by a year.
The PS3 had some good tech being the first console to get Blu-Ray and its online optimization is certainly worth mentioning but the fallout from its mediocre release took a while to recover from.
It did so with cheaper rereleases and some rather wonderful exclusives such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted, Little Big Planet, and The Last of Us, all of which justified the price of entry.
By May 2017, the PS3 had sold 86.90 million units and earned back some goodwill lost in its launch.
Whilst the Xbox One fumbled the ball with its poor price point, attached kinect and talk of DRM, PS4 made everything simple and stripped back. It came out of the gates saying, “Here is a games console, play it as you like.”
Learning a great deal from the PS3’s terrible launch price, PlayStation 4 released at a cool $399 in November 2013. It outpaced the Xbox one selling over one million units in 24 hours in North America alone.
This lead over the Xbox has only increased over time and its exclusives have only further cemented the choice of console.
Some of the best exclusives the PS4 offered include Bloodborne, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Spider-Man, and God of War. Each offered a unique narrative, gripping gameplay and fantastic visuals.
Further changed were made to the base PS4 unit in the form of PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro offering a better price point and higher performance respectively.
As of September 2020, 112 Million PS4’s have been sold, making it the second best selling PlayStation and fourth best selling console ever.
Luckily for us, Sony isn't finished here and we will receive the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation in November this year.
Slated for a release on November 12 in North America, Japan, Mexica, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea and November 19 for the rest of the world, it’s hard to contain the feverish excitement before each console generation.
This time around, PlayStation will launch two models simultaneously with a discless PS5 launching at $399 and a disc-equipped edition at $499.
In case you happened to be luckily enough to get a pre-order, here are a few titles you can expect to see on launch day: Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, GodFall, Destruction All-Stars, and my personal favourite Demon’s Souls.