July 9, 2020

The unforgettable first Sony console | Technology

25 years ago, PlayStation, the first Sony console in the video game sector, was put up for sale on Japan. Now, the Japanese giant faces the end of the current generation of machines with a PlayStation 4 that adds more than 102 million units sold; The next episode has a name and surname, Playstation 5, but that story is yet to be told.

That of the first PlayStation is already part of the books and media studies. The first approach of a whole technological giant like Sony in a field dominated at that time by Nintendo and SEGA – which came from the call was 16-bit with SNES and Mega Drive, respectively – was not easy. But the Japanese firm knew how to anticipate the impending technological events; They said yes to the CD-ROM, which would eventually be one of the best business decisions in the recent history of the media.

The history of Sony in video games began with Nintendo in what was going to be a joint project that never paid off. The parents of Super Mario they decided to go their own way with Phillips; again with the cartridges, in what would be Nintendo 64, a console equally adored by fans, but light years from the commercial success that PlayStation would achieve.

In Spain, we had to wait a little longer to find on the shelves of the shops those boxes with the printed name and its recognizable logo, specifically until September 9, 1995. The figures speak for themselves: while N64 stayed around at 32.93 million units shipped across the planet, the also known as PSX soared to exceed 102.49 million units sold, according to official figures. On its first day alone, more than 100,000 units were sold on Japanese land.

The unforgettable first Sony console

The evolution of the brand

The PlayStation label has gone from being only a console to become synonymous with the video game in the domestic sphere. Also in territories like Spain, where it is the company with the largest market share, the power of its name has been growing over the years. With ups and downs, the latter at the time of PlayStation 3, where managers themselves acknowledge having made mistakes, but far exceeded to stand at the present time, with these last six years of undisputed reign in the annual hardware sales of the sector.

The original console managed to snatch from Nintendo some of the most important franchises of the moment as Final Fantasy, from Square, whose first six deliveries were synonymous with the great N. The seventh, one of the emblems of the console catalog, Final Fantasy VII, remained in the Sony solution and reaped a resounding success of more than 9.8 million units sold.

Of the more than 3,000 games officially licensed on PlayStation, more than a hundred titles exceeded one million copies, but only a few have managed to permeate the indelible memory of the players twenty-five years later, as Grand Tourism, Tekken 3, tomb Raider, Metal gear solid, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon or MediEvil, among many others.

Of the more than 3,000 games officially licensed on PlayStation, more than a hundred titles exceeded one million copies

These five years have been correspondingly celebrated by the current board of directors of Sony Interactive Entertainment. Jim Ryan, current CEO of the multinational, has remembered how the beginnings of that small videogames department were: “Ken Kutaragi and his team offered a new vision to turn videogames into a form of entertainment that everyone could enjoy and to create a platform for game developers to express their creativity. ”

In this process is also the establishment of the European division, where Ryan himself was directly involved. “I remember having to start from scratch with many issues, from hiring employees to buying furniture. At that time, we focused on adapting to local markets to ensure that a Polish player felt part of the large PlayStation community just like someone from the United Kingdom, Japan or the US. UU. ”

The PlayStation controller was another trigger for the immediate success of the platform, especially its improved analog version with two joysticks and vibration: the so-called DUALSHOCK. Comfort, ergonomics and readability in its control scheme are some of the factors that have led the company to introduce small variations in a design that continues to maintain many standards in the chassis. It was not until summer 1997 when this analog version of the controller began to be sold; he did it with the promotion of Grand Tourism, the driving simulator of the Polyphony Digital company that placed more than 10.8 million copies around the globe, the best-selling console. Thanks to the joysticks and internal vibration, both control and driving sensations were recreated in a much more realistic and reliable way than desired by the team of its creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, one of the most important videogame designers in this industry .

The success of PlayStation was continued from that 1995 to March of the year 2000, five years later, when PlayStation 2 was put on sale, today the best-selling entertainment system in history with more than 160 million units sold. It was also the moment of transition from the two dimensions to the three dimensions. The 2D era had to live with the beginnings of 3D, those polygons that have not aged as well as they were remembered at the time, but that are still the foundations of what came later, an inevitable step in the industry full of successes , also mistakes, but above all determination.

Because it was in that five years where some of the intellectual properties that now count their successes in millions were consolidated; those who occupied canopies when in Spain they were still paid with pesetas and now shine on bright signs in the center of the capital. Although its successor, PS2, was the one that had the longest experience in the market, Sony maintained PlayStation production until March 2006, when they discontinued its distribution chain to focus efforts on that system and the one that was about to reach the market , PlayStation 3, the first Sony console capable of offering high definition graphics. That was probably the most complicated cycle due to the high launch price of the system and the fierce competition of the moment, with names like Wii, Nintendo DS and Xbox 360.

At present, the PlayStation 4 faces its last measures of life and a mission to complete. In fact, on September 30 it was known, on the occasion of Sony Interactive Entertainment's latest financial report, that PS4 had outperformed the first PlayStation and Wii, thus becoming the second most successful desktop console of all time; only below the figures of PlayStation 2.

More than 450 million consoles sold in twenty-five years, in short, is what defines Play Station. The following chapters of that story will begin to be told from Christmas 2020, when we stop talking about PS5 in the future and start doing it in the present.

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