The PlayStation is 25 years old. The original game console made its debut in Japan on December 3, 1994. We have now been two and a half decades, three iterations and hundreds of millions of consoles sold. Sony is celebrating this milestone in the coming week.
The 25-year anniversary of Sony’s first console is initially celebrated on the Sony website, where the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment publishes a blog post . This week, the company is expected to pay extensive attention to this milestone. The game computer has a pretty turbulent history. The PlayStation was created after a failed collaboration with Nintendo. Sony would produce a CD-ROM accessory for the Super Famicom, the Japanese version of the SNES. The company announced a Super Famicom with built-in CD player; After all, CDs were the future, since they offer more storage capacity than traditional cartridges. Sony announced the announcement of this SNES CD during CES in 1991.
However, the day after this announcement, Nintendo announced that the collaboration would be terminated. Instead, the Japanese game producer partnered with Dutch Philips, since that company offered more favorable license terms. Under the original contract, Sony was able to sell CD-ROM games without Nintendo as an intermediary, reports a friend of Hiroshi Yamauchi, former Nintendo president, via Wired.
Sony was by no means happy with this but nevertheless decided to enter the gaming market. Initially, the company considered collaborating with Sega, but in the end, Sony decided to develop its own console. Sony’s gaming industry was founded in 1993. Sony Computer Entertainment was thus a fact. A little over a year later, PlayStation was released on the Japanese market, a few weeks after the release of the Sega Saturn, which also used CDs.
After the release, more than 100,000 devices were sold on the first day. That was not entirely surprising. Partly because the console used CD-ROMs, the console was well received by developers. After all, developers were able to store more data on CDs than on cartridges, allowing developers to incorporate beautiful 3D graphics and CGI cut scenes into their games for the first time. Such functions were not possible on the SNES. The Sega Saturn was, in turn, less popular, partly due to a messy release in the US.
Only two years later, in 1996, did Nintendo come up with an answer in the form of the Nintendo 64 . This console was slightly more powerful than Sony’s console, but still used cartridges with less storage capacity. Some major games such as Final Fantasy VII also appeared exclusively on PlayStation. The PlayStation ended up as the top-selling console of the fifth generation of game consoles, with over 100 million gaming consoles sold.
Sony introduced a successor in 2000, which was appropriately called the PlayStation 2. The console came out a year and a half after the Sega Dreamcast but still appeared on the market before the original Xbox and Nintendo Gamecube. The console used DVDs with even more storage space, and was also relatively well priced. At the time, DVD players were still on the expensive side, so many households purchased a PlayStation; after all, users received a DVD player and a game console in one for relatively little money. The PlayStation 2 is to date the most successful console of all time, with more than 150 million copies sold around 2015, writes The Guardian.
The PlayStation 3 was officially announced during E3 2005. The console had a new, wireless boomerang controller. A working prototype was not present at the unveiling. Only a year later would Sony fully reveal the PlayStation 3 during a legendary poor presentation during E3 2006. That same year the PS3 was released in Japan and the US. The device had a fairly difficult start.
The game console came out a year after the Xbox 360, so it immediately started with a backlog. In addition, the console was very expensive at release with a suggested retail price of 499 euros and the device made use of a very complex Cell processor architecture, making it difficult for studios to make games for the platform. The console did have a built-in blu-ray player. Over the years, the adoption of the PS3 would gradually become more positive. Especially the release of a smart model in 2009 with a lower price was well received. Developers also mastered the processor architecture, making late PS3 games still looking pretty good. The console was officially withdrawn from the market in 2016, three years after the release of a successor writes Eteknix. Ultimately there are86.9 million PS3 consoles were sold.
The PlayStation 4 is the current console from Sony and it was unveiled in 2013. The console was a hundred euros cheaper than its competitor, the Xbox One from Microsoft, and was also slightly more powerful. This time, the PS4 uses a fairly standard x86 design, making developing games for the PS4 relatively simple. At the end of 2013, the console was released on the western market. A Japanese release followed in early 2014. The PS4 was received positively, partly due to the lower suggested retail price. That price was reduced by another fifty euros in 2015. In 2016, Sony announced that it was working on a more powerful version of the PS4 code-named Neo. This later became the PS4 Pro, which includes a more powerful GPU and supports 4k resolutions, with or without checkerboard rendering.
In May 2018, Sony reported that the life cycle of the PS4 has reached its final phase and that the company is focusing on releasing a successor, Polygon writes. However, Sony said at the time that a successor would take several years to come. We now know more. The PlayStation 5 will be released at the end of 2020 and will include custom hardware from AMD. The console also receives support for new technology, including raytracing. Presumably, the console manufacturer will announce its next game computer early next year.