You would have to be a Martian or live in a cave not to 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 computation, since in the first five positions of the list are its first, second and fourth edition, with 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 – on September 9, 1995 in the United States and 20 days later, on September 29, in Europe. It was a 32-bit desktop game console that relied on the CD-ROM as a support for storing games. It is estimated that Sony was able to sell 102.4 million consoles in ten years.
How was PlayStation born?
It all starts with a break : at the end of the 1980s, Nintendo had agreed with Sony, then a neophyte in the industry, to develop for its successful Super Nintendo an addendum to incorporate games on disc, in addition to the traditional cartridge. However, Nintendo finally broke the contract considering that it gave too much control and profits derived from the sale of games on CD.
Sony was new to the world of video games, but it was already positioning itself as a giant in the technology industry . Created in 1946 under the name Tokyo Tsushin Kenkyujo (Tokyo Telecommunications Institute), its original objective was to recover part of the local telecommunications system in the city of Tokyo, devastated by the bombings of the Second World War . Little by little it expanded and, after working in different areas, 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 evolution by now. After the cassette tapes came the CD , in fact, Sony itself was the first to abandon cassettes to make the leap to digital audio with the use of compact discs, and with them a world of possibilities opened, including the video game industry and the aforementioned attempted foray into it with Nintendo, then the most consolidated company in the sector.
Those who wanted to bet on this sector did not stop before this setback. Ken Kutaragi, one of the company’s computer engineers and a great 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 clear yet.
Kutaragi continued to insist and finally Sony’s executive leadership realized the future in this business , so much so that the project ended up leading to the creation of Sony Computer Entertainment in 1993, the section dedicated exclusively to the development of consoles and video games. And so it was that at the end of 1994, just in time for Christmas shopping, the first PlayStation in history was released in Japan .
Success from day one
To the delight of Kutaragi, as the promoter of the idea, and of the executive board, as main benefactors, the PlayStation was a complete success from minute zero of its launch: on its first day alone the console managed to sell more than 100,000 units in Japan , a territory in which for the moment it had been put on the market.
However, this avalanche of buyers was not something random , since their exit to the stores not only coincided with the Christmas shopping season , also the small downward streak that SEGA consoles were going through and the delay of the Nintendo 64 .
Love for the DualShock
One of the things I liked the most about the first PlayStation was its controller . Although Sony was inspired by something already made, the iconic trident controller of the Nintendo 64, most of those that were available until then were intended to be used on a flat surface, emulating the classic controls of arcade machines.
The Japanese company added a third dimension and more marked grip horns, with ergonomics that greatly facilitated access to its crosshead and the placement of the buttons. And so the DualShock was born, whose design has hardly changed in these 27 years .
This is how the Sony console is ‘aging’
The Japanese company knew immediately to see the future of this market and soon began to work on a second generation of its console. The PlayStation 2 was released simultaneously worldwide on March 4, 2000. As I said above, it completely swept and this is the best-selling game console in history, reaching 155 million units .
With the PS2 Sony once again marked a new leap in format, with the change of the Emotion Engine central processor and the adoption of a second reader for DVD that allowed full backward compatibility with its predecessor, thus expanding its catalog to more than 2,700 titles.
Sony were very happy then and thought that ‘all the mountain is oregano’, so for their PlayStation 3 they expected the same or better results. However, that console barely exceeded 87 million units sold since 2006 , despite incorporating a new Cell microprocessor developed together with Toshiba and IBM, an RSX Reality Synthesizer for graphics processing developed jointly with NVIDIA and the innovative support 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 highly anticipated PS5 in two variants: a base model with an Ultra HD Blu-ray compatible optical disc drive, and a digital edition lacking this drive, which serves 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 solid-state drive for high-speed data transmission to enable significant improvements in storage performance, an AMD GPU capable of displaying 4K resolution of up to 120 frames per second, Hardware-accelerated ray tracing for realism, lighting, and reflections and the Tempest engine that 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 .