|Discontinued||23 March 2006|
|Units sold||102.49 million|
|Memory||2 MB |
|Sound||16-bit, 24 channel |
The PlayStation[note 1] (officially abbreviated to PS, and commonly known as the PS1 or its codename, PSX) is a
The PlayStation is the first "computer entertainment platform" to ship 100 million units, which it had reached 9 years and 6 months after its initial launch. In July 2000, a redesigned, slim version called the PS one was released, replacing the original grey console and named appropriately to avoid confusion with its successor, the
The PlayStation 2, which is
The inception of what would become the released PlayStation dates back to 1986 with a joint venture between
Kutaragi was nearly fired by Sony because he was originally working with Nintendo on the side without Sony's knowledge (while still employed by Sony). It was then-CEO, Norio Ohga, who recognised the potential in Kutaragi's chip, and in working with Nintendo on the project. Ohga kept Kutaragi on at Sony, and it was not until Nintendo cancelled the project that Sony decided to develop its own console.
Sony also planned to develop a Super NES-compatible, Sony-branded console, but one which would be more of a home entertainment system playing both Super NES cartridges and a new CD format which Sony would design. This was also to be the format used in SNES-CDs, giving a large degree of control to Sony despite Nintendo's leading position in the video gaming market.
The product, dubbed the "
After the collapse of the joint-Nintendo project, Sony briefly considered allying itself with
By the end of 1992, Sony and Nintendo reached a deal whereby the "Play Station" would still have a port for SNES games, but Nintendo would own the rights and receive the bulk of the profits from the games, and the SNES would continue to use the Sony-designed audio chip. However, Sony decided in early 1993 to begin reworking the "Play Station" concept to target a new generation of hardware and software. As part of this process the SNES cartridge port was dropped and the space between the names "Play Station" was removed becoming "PlayStation", thereby ending Nintendo's involvement with the project. According to a Sony engineer, all work on the console from the time of the partnership with Nintendo was eventually scrapped, and the PlayStation design was restarted from scratch. Sony's North American division, known as Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), originally planned to market the new console under the alternative branding "PSX" following the negative feedback regarding "PlayStation" in focus group studies. Early advertising prior to the console's launch in North America referenced PSX, but the term was scrapped before launch.
According to SCE's producer Ryoji Akagawa and chairman
Unlike Sega, Sony had no arcade division from which to draw console-selling ports, or any in-house development to speak of. To solve this problem, Sony acquired studios such as
Industry hype for the console spread quickly, and in early 1994
The PlayStation was released in Japan on 3 December 1994, North America on 9 September 1995, Europe on 29 September 1995, and
One of the key factors in the PlayStation's success was Sony's approach to third party developers. Whereas Sega and Nintendo took an isolationist approach, focusing on first party development while generally leaving third party developers to their own devices, Sony took efforts to streamline game production by providing a range of programming libraries which were constantly updated online, organising third party technical support teams, and in some cases giving direct development support to third party companies. At the close of 1996, there were approximately 400 games in development for the PlayStation, as compared to approximately 200 games in development for the Saturn and 60 for the Nintendo 64.
While the Sega Saturn was marketed towards 18 to 34 year-olds, the PlayStation was marketed roughly, but not exclusively, towards 12 to 24 year-olds. Both Sega and Sony reasoned that because younger players typically look up to older, more experienced players, they would be drawn in by advertising targeted at teens and adults. Additionally, Sony found that adults are best targeted by advertising geared towards teenagers; according to Lee Clow, "One of the first things we resolved early on was that everyone is 17 when they play videogames. The young people look up to the best gamer who is usually a little older and more practiced and talented. Then there are people who start working and grow up, but when they go into their room and sit down with their videogames, they're regressing and becoming 17 again." Initially PlayStation demographics were skewed towards adults, but after the first price drop the audience began broadening.
In 1996, the high demand for PlayStation games contributed to Sony's decision to expand their CD production facilities in
The PlayStation took more time to achieve dominance in Japan. After the PlayStation and Saturn had been on the market for nearly two years, Sony Computer Entertainment president Teruhisa Tokunaka said the competition between them was still "very close", and that neither console had yet held the lead in sales for any meaningful length of time.