Interesting Facts

A Brief History of the PlayStation Gaming Console

Sony's PlayStation was never meant to be an actual product. Instead, it was intended to be a CD-ROM console that would support Nintendo games. However, when Nintendo backed out of the deal at the last minute, Sony went ahead and launched what soon became one of the most successful gaming consoles of all time.

The first video gaming console to sell more than 100 million units was the Sony PlayStation. How, then, did Sony Interactive Entertainment succeed in its initial attempt to enter the video game industry?

Gaming Console: Sony and Nintendo

The Super Disc was being developed by Sony and Nintendo in 1988, which is when the PlayStation’s history started. At the time, Nintendo dominated the computer gaming industry. Though they hadn’t yet joined the home video game market, Sony was keen to do so. They thought they would have a good chance of success if they teamed up with the market leader.

The Super Disc

A CD-ROM add-on called the Super Disc was supposed to be included with Nintendo’s upcoming Super Nintendo game. But in terms of business, Nintendo and Sony split up because Nintendo chose to work with Philips as a partner instead. Nintendo never introduced or utilized the Super Disc.

Sony debuted a redesigned Super Disk in 1991 along with the Sony PlayStation, a new video gaming console. Sony engineer Ken Kutaragi led the PlayStation’s research and development team when it started in 1990. When it was first shown at the 1991 Consumer Electronics Show, Nintendo declared the following day that they would be switching to Philips. To defeat Nintendo, Kutaragi would have to improve the PlayStation.

A Multi-Media and Multi-Purpose Entertainment Unit

Sony only ever produced 200 versions of the original PlayStation, which was capable of playing Super Nintendo game cartridges. An entertainment device with multiple media and functions was the goal of the original PlayStation’s design. The PlayStation could read and play CDs containing computer and video data in addition to playing Super Nintendo games. These prototypes, though, were eliminated

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.

Kutaragi used 3D polygon graphics to create his video games. The PlayStation project was not embraced by all Sony employees, and in 1992 it was moved to Sony Music, a different company. In 1993, they separated once more to establish Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (SCEI).

Electronic Arts and Namco, two developers and partners drawn to the new venture, were enthusiastic about the 3D-capable, CD-ROM-based system. Compared to the Nintendo cartridges, CD-ROM manufacturing was simpler and less expensive.

Released in 1994

When the new PlayStation X (PSX) was released in 1994, it could only play games that were CD-ROM based and was no longer compatible with Nintendo game cartridges. This was a wise decision that quickly led to PlayStations becoming the best-selling gaming system.

The gray, slender console had a joypad that offered far greater control than the competitor Sega Saturn’s controllers. In its first month of sales in Japan, it moved over 300,000 units.

Introduced to the United States in 1995

In May 1995, the PlayStation was first shown to Americans at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. Before the US launch in September, they had pre-sold more than 100,000 units. They sold over seven million units globally and nearly two million units in the US in less than a year. By the end of 2003, they had achieved the 100 million unit milestone.

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