PlayStation has been one of the top two gaming consoles for many years now and has endured many changes and facelifts. Charting the history of games is fascinating, and everyone has their favourites. Whether you love PlayStation or prefer one of the competitor’s consoles, learning more about how this technology developed over the years is still interesting, so let’s take a closer look.
The PlayStation was developed by technology giants Sony and 1st launched in 1994. They will now have five major console incarnations within their history, with the latest PlayStation 5 released at the end of 2020. This caused a significant rush, with stores selling out all over the place and created something of a bidding war with people trying to buy as many as they could to sell on for higher prices. Of course, this was not what Sony intended, so they have worked hard to meet demand. The release also coincided with the latest Xbox generation, creating an absolute frenzy for console gaming. Back at Sony, the success of the PlayStation accounts for about 78% of their trading profits, meaning they are not likely to withdraw their brand at any time soon.
The first generation of PlayStation featured two consoles, the original model named PlayStation was released in 1994, and it then received a facelift and was released as PSone in 2000. The very first console was developed in response to a failed partnership venture with rival company Nintendo. It was one of the first consoles to feature 3D real-time rendering and catapulted the industry away from 2D graphics. Games were supplied in CD format, and this gave a lot more space for high fidelity full-motion video. One of the closest rivals was the Nintendo 64, and this could not reproduce the same result because cartridge space is limited. There was no internal hard drive in the first PlayStation. Instead, players had to make do with memory cards that only stored 128 kilobytes. There was no DualShock controller when the first console was released, but a more basic controller was used instead. The first DualShock controllers hit the markets in 1997. The only other rival at the time was the Sega Saturn. The most popular games for the first incarnation of the PlayStation included Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, and many others.
The second generation also consisted of two units, the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 2 Slimline, which, as the name suggests, was a cut down space-saving version. The larger PlayStation two was first released in 2000, and for a long time, was one of the best-selling consoles ever made. This one went up against the Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft Xbox, and Sega Dreamcast. It garnered a lot of popularity simply because there were over 2000 games available for this console which was a lot more than the rivals had. This version did have a hard drive, although it was optional and 40 gigabytes in size. It still offered memory cards, but now you got 8-megabyte memory cards which was a significant improvement. It featured a wired DualShock 2 controller, and popular games were Grand Theft Auto 3, Final Fantasy 5 and the Silent Hill series. The slimline version arrived in 2004 and was the first incarnation to feature a built-in Ethernet port.
The third generation of PlayStation was released in 2006. The PS3 was set to rival Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. Over time Sony also released PlayStation 3 slim and PlayStation 3 super slim. They continued to hold the title of one of the most popular console gaming providers, and over 18 million consoles were sold worldwide. They also took the title of the most expensive console, but this did not put gamers off; the PlayStation 3 was launched at $599. This was also the point in history where Sony released PlayStation Plus subscription services, which provided gamers with the chance to look at beta testing games and discount their favoured games. Again, it came with its proprietary controller, the DualShock3, which featured motion sensor technology. Popular games for this console included Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and Guns of the Patriots.
PlayStation 4 released first in 2013 and, within the first day of trading, sold over 1,000,000 consoles. The DualShock 4 controller had a new share button, which meant the PlayStation 4 could upload and share gameplay clips. The controller also featured some funky lights, and these weren’t just for a purely aesthetic purpose; it also tracks depending on the game you are playing, for example, flashes red when your health is in danger or gives a red and blue flash if the cops are lurking in your game. It was designed to rival the Nintendo Wii U and the Microsoft Xbox One. Sticking with the formats that worked for them, the PlayStation 4 slim was also released, and in early 2016 the PlayStation 4 pro came to pass. Wanting to be more inclusive, the price also dropped to $399 and over time reduced to $299, which gave it a competitive edge against the Xbox One. During this time, controllers also went wireless which was a benefit for many gamers.
So that we have, right up to date with the PlayStation 5 being released in December 2020. If Sony follows previous patterns, there are likely to be other versions, including slim incarnations released over the coming years, and it could be some time yet before we see the PlayStation 6.