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History of video games/Fifth generation of video game consoles/PlayStation

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Nintendo Partnership[edit]

The Play Station was initially a partnership between Nintendo and Sony to develop a disk based add on for the SNES.[1] The partnership fell through when Nintendo made a surprise announcement in 1991 that they were partnering with Phillips for the system instead, as they did not want to yield control over the SNES CD format to Sony.[2][3]


Ken Kutaragi, an important figure in the development of the PlayStation.

Despite litigation from Nintendo, Sony continued to develop their game console independently.[2]

Ken Kutaragi was able to keep costs low by leveraging Sony's existing semiconductor and CD-ROM factories.[4] This vertical integration gave Sony a huge cost advantage over competing hardware, which had to buy from external firms instead of an internal supply chain.[5]

The entry of Sony into the console market was initially not taken seriously by the industry.[6] However by building a solid support infrastructure for their console prior to release, Sony was able to sign a number of developers, and even get a few developers to switch their franchises entirely to their platform.[6] The PlayStation was also considered relatively easy to develop for,[7] which was a huge advantage in a market featuring a number of consoles with hard to master architectures.


A PlayStation in use.

The PlayStation launched in Japan on December 3rd, 1994.[8]

Sony employee Steve Race announced the cost of the PlayStation in North America at E3 1995, shortly after Sega announced the release of it's Sega Saturn at a cost of $399.[9]

—Steve Race, Entire speech at E3 1995.[9]

This short speech launched the room into applause.[10]


Various PlayStation revisions.

A number of revisions were made during the production of the PlayStation, resulting in the removal of RCA ports and later on the parallel port.[11]

Net Yaroze[edit]

The Net Yaroze was launched in March of 1997 for $750 to promote independent development for the PlayStation.[12] While not comparable to the full development kit with features like a debugger missing, the system gave Indie developers the opportunity to have demos of their games included in official Demo CDs.[12][13]


The original PlayStation had worldwide popularity. Here two gamers can be seen playing an original PlayStation in Nigeria in 2003.

Manufacturing of the original PlayStation stopped in 2006.[14] The PlayStation was a massively popular console, ultimately selling over 102 million units.[2][15]

The original PlayStation had a popularity long surpassing its launch. Due to its status in the modding community as a cheap and beginner friendly console, unofficial mods for the system continued to be released as recently as 2021.[16][17]


The PlayStation 1 CPU die.
PS1 was the best design of its generation.
—John Carmack, Tweet on February 21st, 2013.[18]


The PlayStation CPU uses a 32 bit RISCI processor derived from an LSI CoreWare CW33300 design, and is clocked at 33.87 megahertz.[19]

The PlayStation has 2 megabytes of RAM and 1 megabyte of VRAM.[20]

The PlayStation did not generate enough heat to need a fan.[21]


The Net Yaroze Development Tool

The PlayStation has a 2x speed CD Drive.[22]

In Japan, the Pocketstation was released as a basic handheld console and memory card combo that could sync mobile minigames with PlayStation games.[23]

The PlayStation Aesthetic[edit]

The unique technical attributes of the PlayStation lead to games developed for the system possessing a unique aesthetic. A defining aspect of this are visually sharp polygons which "wobble".[24]

Notable Games[edit]

The Playstation section of the Super Potato game store in Akihabara in 2017.






Xenogears was originally supposed to be Final Fantasy 7.[25]

Read more about Xenogears on Wikipedia.

Metal Gear Solid[edit]

The first 3D game in the Metal Gear series. This game was originally a 3DO title before development shifted to the PlayStation.[26]

The game featured an advanced stealth system, accounting for events such as enemy guards tracking footprints the player left in the snow,[27] using wolf urine to mask the player scent,[26] and other innovative mechanics.

The acclaimed main theme of the game is notably similar to the earlier composition of Winter Road by the famed Russian composer Georgy Sviridov.[28][29]

Read more about Metal Gear Solid on Wikipedia, or read the WikiBook on the general Metal Gear Series.


Persona 2: Innocent Sin[edit]

Despite being the older release, Innocent Sin was released in North America years after Eternal Punishment due to localization issues arising from including Adolf Hitler as a character.[30]

Read more about Persona 2: Innocent Sin on Wikipedia.


Vagrant Story[edit]

Vagrant Story is known for its system defying artwork, which used subtle application of pixel art and 3D tricks to create an incredibly detailed environment, especially given the limitations of the hardware.[31][32]

Read more about Vagrant Story on Wikipedia.


Tear Ring Saga[edit]

A tactical role playing game developed by Shouzou Kaga, the creator of the Fire Emblem series.[33] Nintendo would later take legal action over the close similarities between this game and Fire Emblem.[34]

Read more about Tear Ring Saga on Wikipedia.




PSone Internals[edit]




Nintendo Play Station[edit]

The prototype Nintendo Play Station.


  1. Walton, Mark (9 November 2015). "The fabled SNES-PlayStation prototype has been turned on and disassembled" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/11/the-fabled-snes-playstation-prototype-has-been-turned-on-and-disassembled/. Retrieved 18 October 2020. 
  2. a b c Walton, Mark (3 July 2015). "Fabled CD-playing, SNES-compatible “Play Station” prototype found in a box" (in en-us). https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/07/fabled-sony-nintendo-play-station-prototype-discovered/. Retrieved 18 October 2020. 
  3. Shapiro, Eben (3 June 1991). "Nintendo-Philips Deal Is a Slap at Sony (Published 1991)". https://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/03/business/nintendo-philips-deal-is-a-slap-at-sony.html. Retrieved 17 November 2020. 
  4. "Hideki Sato Discussing the Sega Saturn". 16 June 2020. https://mdshock.com/2020/06/16/hideki-sato-discussing-the-sega-saturn/. Retrieved 27 October 2020. 
  5. "Hideki Sato talks about creating SEGA Saturn hardware and Sony asking SEGA to go third party". http://segabits.com/blog/2018/06/29/hideki-sato-talks-about-creating-sega-saturn-hardware-and-sony-asking-sega-to-go-third-party/. 
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  7. "Interview - Seth Mendelsohn". http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/interviews/seth_mendelsohn/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  8. "Decade of dominance for PlayStation". 3 December 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4054797.stm. Retrieved 28 October 2020. 
  9. a b "It's Been 25 Years Since Sega Shocked the Gaming World: Here's What Happened" (in en). PCMAG. https://www.pcmag.com/news/its-been-25-years-since-sega-shocked-the-gaming-world-heres-what-happened. Retrieved 26 October 2020. 
  10. "PlayStation 25th Anniversary: How Sony created the console that redefined the game industry" (in en). https://www.gamesradar.com/playstation-25th-anniversary-how-sony-created-the-console-that-redefined-the-game-industry/. Retrieved 26 October 2020. 
  11. Byford, Sam (11 July 2019). "A brief history of cutdown game consoles" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/7/11/20690011/nintendo-switch-lite-game-console-redesign-xbox-playstation. Retrieved 19 October 2020. 
  12. a b "15 Years Later: How Sony's Net Yaroze Kickstarted Indie Console Development". https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/169245/15_years_later_how_sonys_net_.php?print=1. 
  13. "Doing It Together: Remembering PlayStation’s Net Yaroze Console" (in en). https://www.vice.com/en/article/mvxbky/doing-it-together-remembering-playstations-net-yaroze-console-935. 
  14. "Sony stops making original PS". GameSpot. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/sony-stops-making-original-ps/1100-6146549/. Retrieved 28 October 2020. 
  15. "The bestselling consoles of all time". https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/bestselling-consoles-of-all-time/. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  16. "VGA Without The Hassle, From Your PlayStation One". Hackaday. 12 February 2021. https://hackaday.com/2021/02/12/vga-without-the-hassle-from-your-playstation-one/. 
  17. "Burning Your Own PS1 Modchip Is Easy". Hackaday. 1 November 2020. https://hackaday.com/2020/11/01/burning-your-own-ps1-modchip-is-easy/. 
  18. "@ID_AA_Carmack". Twitter. https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/304662242627031040?. 
  19. "PlayStation Architecture A Practical Analysis" (in en). 8 August 2019. https://www.copetti.org/projects/consoles/playstation/. Retrieved 29 October 2020. 
  20. "PS1 Strengths and Weaknesses vs N64 and Sega Saturn" (in en). 11 January 2020. https://www.racketboy.com/journal/ps1-strength-and-weaknesses-vs-n64-sega-saturn. Retrieved 29 October 2020. 
  21. Gartenberg, Chaim (3 December 2019). "Remember how simple consoles used to be with this original PlayStation teardown" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/12/3/20993374/playstation-sony-ifixit-teardown-simple-hardware-internal-components-cd-drive. Retrieved 20 October 2020. 
  22. "Sony PlayStation Teardown" (in en). 3 December 2019. https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Sony+PlayStation+Teardown/128089. Retrieved 29 October 2020. 
  23. Byford, Sam (4 December 2019). "The portable PlayStations were Sony at its most ambitious" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/4/20991654/psp-vita-portable-playstation-console-sony-25-anniversary. Retrieved 20 October 2020. 
  24. "PlayStation 1 Graphics Wobble". RetroRGB. 26 March 2020. https://www.retrorgb.com/playstation-1-graphics-wobble.html. 
  25. "Anime and Games That Wouldn’t Exist Without Neon Genesis Evangelion" (in en-sg). 5 October 2020. https://sea.ign.com/neon-genesis-evangelion-1/164513/news/anime-and-games-that-wouldnt-exist-without-neon-genesis-evangelion. Retrieved 17 November 2020. 
  26. a b "How Metal Gear Solid empowered the stealth genre". Den of Geek. 7 February 2013. https://www.denofgeek.com/games/how-metal-gear-solid-empowered-the-stealth-genre/. 
  27. Kuchera, Ben (11 February 2021). "The 10 essential examples of snow and ice in video games" (in en). Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/essentials/2021/2/11/22268302/snow-ice-levels-games-best-worst-sonic-tomb-raider-star-wars-hoth-metal-gear. 
  28. Alexander, Leigh. "Report: Konami Didn't Use Metal Gear Solid Theme In MGS4 Due To Plagiarism Accusations" (in en). www.gamasutra.com. https://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21513. 
  29. Square, Push (9 November 2015). "Ever Wonder Why the Classic Metal Gear Solid Theme Isn't in the Phantom Pain?". Push Square. https://www.pushsquare.com/news/2015/11/ever_wonder_why_the_classic_metal_gear_solid_theme_isnt_in_the_phantom_pain. 
  30. Hilliard, Kyle. "Learn How Hitler's Cameo In Persona 2: Innocent Sin Complicated Localization For North America" (in en). Game Informer. https://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2015/08/23/learn-how-hitler-39-s-cameo-in-persona-2-innocent-sin-complicated-localization-for-north-america.aspx. 
  31. Lee, Richmond (6 December 2019). "The Forgotten Pixel Art Masterpieces of the PlayStation 1 Era" (in en). Medium. https://onezero.medium.com/the-forgotten-pixel-art-masterpieces-of-the-playstation-1-era-8b453dfe00bf. 
  32. Yin-Poole, Wesley (10 February 2020). "Vagrant Story, one of the greatest JRPGs ever, turns 20" (in en). Eurogamer. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-02-10-vagrant-story-one-of-the-greatest-jrpgs-ever-turns-20. 
  33. "The 10 Best Fan Translation Rom Hacks Of Games Never Released In North America". TheGamer. 1 September 2020. https://www.thegamer.com/best-fan-translation-rom-hacks-games-never-released-north-america/. 
  34. "Nintendo Sues Over Emblem Copyright - IGN" (in en). https://www.ign.com/articles/2001/07/25/nintendo-sues-over-emblem-copyright.