One of the best things about the video game industry is the amount of variety, there is. It’s estimated that there are over 5 million video games in existence, giving players all sorts of choices and endless possibilities. These games can be played on dozens of consoles, and what’s arguably the best one is the PlayStation from Sony.
This article looks at the ongoing success of the Sony PlayStation and discusses why this video game console has been such a critical and commercial hit. It goes over the brand’s history and discusses how Sony changed the video games industry for the better with the development of the PlayStation.
Even if you’ve never played on a PlayStation before, gaming on a PlayStation console is similar to playing at an online casino with lowest deposit limit, in that you’re getting great value for money. Though the PlayStation can be expensive – it is, after all, a home gaming console with advanced hardware and software – many would agree that buying one is a worthwhile investment. Let’s dive into the history of the PlayStation and see how Sony’s decision to create a video games console paid off massively.
The History of PlayStation Consoles
Four main PlayStation(PS) consoles have been released over the years. The original PlayStation came out in 1994 in Japan and 1995 in the rest of the world. The second iteration, the PS2, followed in 2000. Six years later, in 2006, the third model, the PS3, was released. Then in 2013, the fourth version came out. The most recent one, the PS5, was released in November 2020.
Along with the main consoles, there have been lots of other gaming devices that belong to the PlayStation family. For example, PlayStation entered the handheld gaming market and tried to make a success of it, releasing the PlayStation Vita and several versions of the PlayStation Portable. There’s also the PlayStation Store, where you can download games, DLC (extra content for games), and demos.
So How Did Playstation Begin?
Sony is a Japanese company that creates many kinds of technology and electronics. In 1993, Sony Computer Entertainment, a branch of Sony, was set up to manufacture, promote and distribute Sony’s newest venture: its video game console, i.e. the first PlayStation.
A few years previously, in 1988, Sony and Nintendo were meant to collaborate on a CD-ROM project. This would have been a pioneering gaming console that would have used 3D graphics. However, negotiations between the two companies fell apart as neither side could decide how the profits should be shared.
Ken Kutaragi, a Sony worker who had worked on numerous projects and had an excellent track record, became the head developer of Sony’s foray into the video game industry. He was tasked with creating something that would rival whatever Nintendo would release. He stayed with Sony Computer Entertainment and oversaw the release of several main consoles before quitting in 2007.
Once Sony Computer Entertainment was established, Kutaragi and the co-founders, engineer Akira Sato and Sony Music CEO Shigeo Maruyama, began developing the original PlayStation. They presented a tech demo in 1994, the year after they started work on the project, and those who saw it were very impressed. The console was released in Japan later that year before being given a worldwide release the following year.
What Made the PlayStation a Success?
Those who saw the tech demo were video game publishers. After seeing what the PlayStation would be like, they were keen to develop gaming content for this brand-new console. What made it more appealing than its competitors, the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn, was that it was a less expensive option. It was also more capable of handling 3D graphics and, quite significantly, was easier to manufacture.
If the PlayStation brand was completely independent, the factors mentioned above could have made it a decent success. However, because the first PlayStation console had the backing of Sony, a massive, multinational media conglomerate, it could be mass-produced and reach a potentially large number of customers. People were already familiar with Sony and its products, so they felt investing in its video games console was a sensible decision.
There was also the large amount of positive media coverage that the PlayStation received. Players were delighted with the new console and the video games it came with. These included Rayman, ESPN Extreme Games, Battle Arena Toshinden, and Street Fighter: The Movie.
Some would say that PlayStation was largely responsible for taking mainstream gaming away from the common arcade style and into a new era, that of realistic 3D visuals. The very first PlayStation was a very advanced and sophisticated piece of software for the time. It was specially designed to be able to support high-quality graphics and was the most superior console of the time.
What About the Games?
It goes without saying that a gaming console can’t be a success if the games that are played on it aren’t up to scratch. For a console to sell, its games have got to be appealing and there’s got to be a broad choice of games to encourage as many people as possible to purchase it.
Usually when a console launches, there will be a good number and variety of games that are available to purchase on the same day. Of course, loads more games will be released over the next few months and years, until the console eventually ceases production in favor of a newer, more advanced model.
Sony has always ensured that players have had many top-quality games to enjoy on the various PlayStations that have come out over the years. These days, it’s common for video games to be available on multiple platforms. Some games are exclusive to one particular console for a set amount of time before being released onto other consoles; others are available on multiple consoles from day one.
There are lots of games and game franchises that have contributed to the ongoing success of the PlayStation. Sony Interactive Entertainment, the current name of Sony Computer Entertainment, has some game development studios that produce games exclusively for PlayStation gaming consoles. Many of these start as PlayStation exclusives before being available on other platforms.
Many of the biggest, most popular video games have started on PlayStation. There are dozens of franchises that have experienced varying levels of success, some of which are described below.
is a popular platforming game whose titular character is one of the world’s most recognisable video game characters in the world. Since the first game came out in 1996, around two dozen others have been released, including spin-offs that dip into the racing and party game genres. Most of the games have you play as Crash Bandicoot, a mutant bandicoot who completes levels throughout the fictional Wumpa Islands to thwart the plans of Dr Neo Cortex, Crash’s creator who’s hellbent on achieving world domination.
The Last of Us
This is one of Sony’s youngest video game franchises and one of the company’s most successful. There are only two games: the first one came out in 2013, with the sequel following in 2020. The series has recently gained a lot more attention thanks to a HBO TV adaptation of the first game that’s been a critical and commercial success. In fact, some have even called it one of the best-ever TV shows to have been adapted from a video game. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic USA and your main task is to help Joel transport a young girl, Ellie, across the country. The world has been ravaged by a fungal infection that turns the infected into zombie-like creatures.
God of War
One of the biggest video game franchises from Sony is God of War. It consists of 15 games split into two eras: the first, which includes a dozen games, focuses on ancient Greek mythology; the second, which contains the three most recent games, is all about Norse mythology. The games have collectively sold upwards of 51 million copies worldwide. Its most recent installment, God of War Ragnarok, sold roughly 5.1 million copies in its first week on sale. This makes it the fastest-selling PlayStation-exclusive game in history. This isn’t just a sign of how much people love the God of War series, it’s also a sign that PlayStation exclusives can be incredibly successful.
PlayStation Sales Figures
What’s remarkable about the PlayStation is that all iterations of it have been big sellers. Each of the first four main PlayStation video gaming consoles has sold in excess of 80 million copies. It’s too early to include Sony’s latest console, the PS5, because it hasn’t been out for that long yet. However, early indications suggest that the PS5 will go on to reach the same 80 million milestone that all previous Sony PlayStation models have reached.
Below are sales figures for all of the main Sony PlayStation models.
PlayStation – 102.4 million
PlayStation 2 – 155 million
PlayStation 3 – 87.4 million
PlayStation 4 – 117 million
As for the PlayStation 5, this has so far sold 25 million units. It’s only been out for three years, so there’s still plenty of time for it to have the same high sales figures as the previous PlayStation releases.
These sales figures are no doubt impressive, but what’s really noteworthy is the increasing opportunities to earn money playing games. With the rise of esports and streaming, professional gamers can earn significant amounts of money by participating in tournaments and competitions, while streamers can make money through subscriptions, donations, and sponsorships.
The PlayStation 2 is the biggest-selling video games console of all time. The Nintendo DS, which came out in 2004, isn’t far behind at all with sales of 154 million.
Another Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch, currently sits at sales of 122.55 million despite having only been released in 2017. Either one of these consoles, or indeed both of them, could eventually outsell the PlayStation 2. Even so, the fact that the PlayStation 2 has sold such a huge number of copies is a testament to its quality and the games that can be played on it.
The PlayStation 5, the newest Sony video games console, is also a record breaker. It sold 7.8 million copies in its launch year of 2020. Despite there being manufacturing issues and production delays, the most recent PlayStation model managed to sell more copies in its launch year than any other console. What makes this feat even more remarkable is the fact that it was only on sale for around six weeks of the year, having launched on 12 November.
Sony took the video game industry in an exciting, fresh new direction with the release of the first PlayStation. This advanced, forward-thinking console became a major success thanks to its ambitious design and its compelling games.
Over the years, Sony has continued to make the PlayStation family of consoles one of the best options for players around the world. The series shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, with the most recent release smashing records and continuing to sell millions of copies.
If you’ve never owned a PlayStation before, there’s never been a better time to purchase one. Consider getting a PlayStation 5 and buying some top games for it such as Fortnite, Elden Ring, God of War Ragnarok, and Hogwarts Legacy. Or perhaps go for a PlayStation 4, which will be slightly cheaper since it’s been out for a lot longer. Though it’s an older model, it should still offer a breathtaking gaming experience and will showcase everything that makes the PlayStation the best console.