You would have to be a Martian or live in a cave to not know what we are talking about: the PlayStation, ‘the Play’ among users, is the most popular video console in the world. It is also the best-seller in terms of calculation, since in the first five positions of the list are its first, second and fourth edition, the PS2 being the best-seller in history with 155 million units delivered. .
The PlayStation was released on December 3, 1994 in Japan – 27 years ago today – September 9, 1995 in the United States and 20 days later, September 29, in Europe. It was a 32-bit desktop game console that relied on CD-ROM as the medium for storing games. It is estimated that Sony was able to sell 102.4 million consoles in ten years.
How did PlayStation come about?
It all started with a rupture: at the end of the 1980s, Nintendo had agreed with Sony, then neophyte in the industry, to develop for its successful Super Nintendo an addendum to integrate games on disc, in addition to the cartridge. traditional. However, Nintendo ultimately broke the contract believing it was giving too much control and profit from selling games on CDs.
Sony was new to the world of video games, but it was already positioning itself as a giant in the tech industry. Established in 1946 as Tokyo Tsushin Kenkyujo (Tokyo Telecommunications Institute), its initial objective was to recover part of the local telecommunications system in the city of Tokyo, devastated by the bombings of World War II. Little by little, it grew and, after working in different fields, it found its cornerstone: personal audio. In 1972, he launched his famous Walkman, the first portable stereo audio player and one of the best-selling products in history.
We all know the evolution now. After cassettes came the CD, in fact Sony itself was the first to abandon cassettes and make the leap to digital audio with the use of compact discs, and with them a world of possibilities arose. open, including the video game industry and the aforementioned attempted a foray with Nintendo, then the most consolidated company in the industry.
Those who wanted to bet on this sector did not stop in front of this setback. Ken Kutaragi, one of the company’s computer scientists and big fan of the video game industry, managed to present a first idea for the creation of his own console based on the use of these CD-ROM drives. But the bosses of Sony did not see it clearly yet.
Kutaragi continued to insist and ultimately Sony’s executive leadership realized the future of this business, so much so that the project ended up with the creation of Sony Computer Entertainment in 1993, the section devoted exclusively to the development of consoles and of video games. And so it was at the end of 1994, just in time for Christmas shopping, the first PlayStation in history was released in Japan.
Success from day one
Much to the delight of Kutaragi, as the promoter of the idea, and the board of directors, as the main benefactors, the PlayStation has been a complete success from minute zero of its launch: from its first day, the console has managed to sell over 100,000 units. in Japan, territory where it had so far been marketed.
However, this avalanche of shoppers was not something random, since their release in stores coincided not only with the Christmas shopping season, but also with the small downward trend experienced by SEGA consoles and the Nintendo 64 delay.
Love for the DualShock
One of the things I liked the most about the first PlayStation was its controller. Although Sony took its inspiration from something already made, the iconic Nintendo 64 trident controller, most of those previously available were intended for use on a flat surface, emulating classic machine controls. ‘arcade.
The Japanese company added a third dimension and more marked gripping lugs, with ergonomics that greatly facilitated access to its crossbar and the placement of the buttons. And so was born the DualShock, the design of which has hardly changed over these 27 years.
This is how the Sony console “ages”
The Japanese company immediately saw the future of this market and quickly started working on a second generation of its console. The PlayStation 2 was released simultaneously worldwide on March 4, 2000. As I said above, it completely wiped out and is the best-selling game console in history, reaching 155 million units. .
With the PS2, Sony once again marks a new leap in format, with the change of the Emotion Engine central processor and the adoption of a second DVD player which allows full backward compatibility with its predecessor, thus extending its catalog to more of 2,700 titles.
Sony was then very happy and believed that âthe whole mountain is oreganoâ, so for their PlayStation 3, they expected the same or better results. However, this console has barely exceeded the 87 million units sold since 2006, despite the integration of a new Cell microprocessor developed with Toshiba and IBM, an RSX Reality Synthesizer for graphics processing jointly developed with NVIDIA and the Innovative load of content in Blu-ray format, as well as virtual reality experiences for the first time.
In 2013 came the PS4, the fourth best-selling console in history with 116.6 million units delivered. Moving away from the complex architecture used in the Cell processor of the PS3 game console, the PlayStation 4 had an 8-core AMD processor under the x86-64 architecture. It also featured 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory, a faster Blu-ray disc drive, and custom chips dedicated to audio, video, and background processing tasks.
Finally, last year in 2020, Sony released the long-awaited PS5 in two variations: a base model with an Ultra HD Blu-ray compatible optical disc drive, and a digital edition devoid of that drive, which acts as a minor model. cost for those who prefer to buy video games via digital download.
The main hardware features of the PlayStation 5 include a custom SSD for high-speed data transmission to enable significant improvements in storage performance, an AMD GPU capable of displaying 4K resolution at up to 120 fps, hardware-accelerated ray tracing for realism, lighting and reflections; and the Tempest engine which enables hardware-accelerated 3D audio effects. Other features include the DualSense controller with haptic feedback and backward compatibility for most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR video games.