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A brief history of the Sony Playstation

It’s come a long way since the original arrived back in 1995.

FOR PLAYSTATION FANS across Europe, today’s a big day as they finally get their hands on the Playstation 4. Both it and the Xbox One are released in time for the Christmas season and will battle it out for a place in people’s living rooms.

Yet the Playstation has come a long way since it first arrived on our shores in 1995. To mark the arrival of the PS4, we take a look back at the consoles, the games and advertisements that came before it.


(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Release date: September 1995
Sold: 102.49 million worldwide

CPU: 32-bit (33mhz)
GPU: 32-bit (33mhz)
System RAM: 2mb
Video RAM: 1mb
Resolution: 640×480
Media: CD-ROM

If you want to pinpoint the birth of the original Playstation, you may be surprised to learn that it was Nintendo that got Sony into the console market. Wanting to compete against Sega – who brought out the ill-fated Sega CD at the time – it experimented with bringing a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo and worked with Sony. After that deal fell through, Sony decided to go it alone and the rest is history.

The Playstation became one of the most influential consoles released and opened up gaming to a new audience. This was thanks to a large number of quality titles appearing on it such as Gran Turismo, Tomb Raider, Wipeout, Silent Hill, Tekken, Driver, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid. The console was so popular that even after the PS2 arrived, games were still being developed for it until 2006.

Best selling games
Figures given are number of copies shipped worldwide. Also included are figures for both sequels and prequels on the same console.

Gran Turismo (10.85 million)
Its sequel Gran Turismo 2 sold 9.37 millon.

(Video: MrYASSER111/YouTube)

Final Fantasy VII (10 million)
Its sequels FF VIII and IX sold 8.15 million and 5.3 million respectively

(Video: ROFLSoup/YouTube)

Tomb Raider 2 (8 million)
The original Tomb Raider sold 7 million.

(Video: cubex55/YouTube)

Metal Gear Solid (7 million)

(Video: Marek Šterbinský/YouTube)

Crash Bandicoot (6.8 million)

(Video: cubex55/YouTube)

Playstation 2

image(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Release date:
March 2000
Sold: 155 million worldwide

CPU: 128-bit (299mhz)
GPU: ‘Graphics Synthesizer’ (147mhz)
System RAM: 32mb
Video RAM: 4mb
Resolution: 720×480 for SD, 1280×720 for HD
Media: 4.7 GB DVD

Building upon the success of the Playstation wasn’t going to be an easy task, but the PS2 not only surpassed its predecessor but became the most successful Playstation model released.  Seeing off challenges from both Nintendo’s Gamecube and Sega’s Dreamcast, the latter ended up leaving the console market entirely, it dominated the console market until it made way for the PS3.

Best Selling Games

Figures given are number of copies shipped worldwide. Also included are figures for both sequels and prequels on the same console.

GTA: San Andreas (17.33 million)
GTA: Vice City sold 9.61 million while GTA III sold 7.9 million

(Video: Moiz009/YouTube)

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (14.89 million)
Gran Turismo 4 sold 10.76 million

(Video: Tomsas1roed/YouTube)

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (7 million)

(Video: SneakingFox/YouTube)

Final Fantasy X (6.6 million)
FF XII saw 5.2 million copies shipped.

(Video: Playstation/YouTube)

Kingdom Hearts (5.9 million)

(Video: cubex55/YouTube)

Playstation 3

image(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Release date:
March 2007
80 million worldwide

CPU: ‘Cell’ (3.2ghz)
GPU: ‘Reality Synthesizer’ (500mhz)
System RAM: 256mb (3.2ghz)
Video RAM: 256mb
Resolution: 720×480 for SD, 1280×720 and 1920×1080 for HD
Media: 25gb BD,

The Playstation 3 faced a number of obstacles when it launched. A high price and strong competitors in the form of the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii meant that it didn’t have quite the impact it would have liked. While it didn’t get off to the strongest start, thanks to titles like The Last of Us, the God of War series and GTA V, it still kept up the momentum Sony had with the PS2.

Best Selling Games

Figures given are number of copies shipped worldwide. Also included are figures for both sequels and prequels on the same console.

Gran Turismo 5 (10.66 million)
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue sold 5.35 million

(Video: Hostilenemy/YouTube)

GTA V (7 million)
GTA 4 sold 2.73 million

(Video: GameNewsOfficial/YouTube)

God of War III (5.1 million)
The God of War collection sold 2.4 million.

(Video: VISO Games/YouTube)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (4.8 million)
Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 3.2 million, Modern Warfare sold 1.9 million and World at War sold 1.83

(Video: Gamehelper/YouTube)

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (3.8 million)
Uncharted 2 also sold 3.8 million while the original sold 2.6 million.

(Video: UNCHARTED/YouTube)

Playstation 4

image(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Release date: November 2013
Sold: Unconfirmed (sold one million in 24 hours in the US)

CPU: low power x86-64 AMD ‘Jaguar’, 8 cores
System RAM: 8GB GDDR5
Video RAM: 1GB
Resolution: 720p, 1080p and 1080i
Media: BD x 6 CAV, DVD x 8 CAV

Since it’s only been released today, it’s far too early to say whether the PS4 is going to be a success or not, but the early signs are encouraging. It sold one million consoles in 24 hours in the US and Sony expect to sell 5 million by March, meaning that there are high hopes it will come out on top this generation.

Beyond the 30 launch titles, gamers can look forward to titles like Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Infamous: Second Son, The Witcher III, Minecraft, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Kingdom Hearts III which are expected to arrive next year.

The Ads

As great as the games were, the Playstation wouldn’t be as significant as it was if it wasn’t for the numerous advertising campaigns it ran. Since its launch, it’s been responsible for some of the most memorable ad campaigns shown on TV and while some of them didn’t go to plan, there were more than enough ads to make sure the console stuck in your mind.

Double life

(Video: DigThatBoxRETRO/YouTube)

Alien girl

(Video: VideoGameAds/YouTube)

Long live play

(Video: IGN/YouTube)

This is living

(Video: Antonio Hagiu/YouTube)

For the players since 1995

(Video: Playstation Acesss/YouTube)

Playstation 4 ‘Perfect day’

(Video: Playstation/YouTube)

Read: Sony sold one million consoles in 24 hours >

Read: The cost of building a PS4 is cheaper than you would expect >

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