Hardware

Sony’s Playstation Brand Turns 15

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The PlayStation brand is a line of video game consoles created and developed by Sony Computer Entertainment, occupying the fifth, sixth, and seventh generations. It has become one of the largest investments Sony has ever gambled on (well, except for the whole pre-Pascal Sony Pictures Entertainment thing) and its been what I consider to be an enormous part of the overall Sony experience. Countless consumers, in almost one way or another, have used a Playstation product. It’s funny to think though that the brand itself turned fifteen years old on December 3rd – it doesn’t seem that long to me. Happy Birthday! Check out SCEI’s cool Playstation 15th anniversary site (JP).

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The original PlayStation, released in December 1994, was the first of the ubiquitous PlayStation series of console and hand-held game devices, which has included successor consoles and upgrades including the Net Yaroze (a special black PlayStation with tools and instructions to program PlayStation games and applications), “PSone” (a smaller version of the original) and the PocketStation (a handheld which enhances PlayStation games and also acts as a memory card). It was part of the fifth generation of video game consoles, competing against the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64. By March 31, 2005, the PlayStation and PSone had shipped a combined total of 102.49 million units, becoming the first video game console to reach the 100 million mark. It was an enormous success and a giant leap from the Nintendo, Sega, etc experience most of us had fed on for nearly a decade.

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Released in 2000, 15 months after the Dreamcast and a year before its other competitors, the Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube, the PlayStation 2 is part of the sixth generation of video game consoles, and is backwards-compatible with most, if not all, original PlayStation games. It has also been released as a media center configuration and also, like its predecessor, a slimmer redesign. On November 29, 2005, the PS2 became the fastest game console to reach 100 million units shipped, accomplishing the feat within 5 years and 9 months from its launch. This achievement occurred faster than its predecessor, the PlayStation, which took “9 years and 6 months since launch” to reach the same benchmark. It is the most successful console in the world, having reached over 140 million units in sales as of July 20, 2008. I haven’t seen a number since 2008 of how many its sold overall but I imagine it must be up sharply because it only costs $99 as of March of this year..or less.

It is the most popular console in the series, but the PS3 most certainly has the capacity to reach similar figures. It’s hard to tell if Sony will ever stop manufacturing the PS2, because theoretically they could bring it to retail by 2012 for less than (the equivalent of) $50 today easily..

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Released on November 11, 2006, the PlayStation 3 is the third and current iteration in the series. It competes with the Xbox 360 and the Wii in the seventh generation of video game consoles. It introduces the use of the Sixaxis wireless controller along with other features, such as Blu-ray Disc and being also to see in Full High-definition resolution. It has access to an online store that sells games, movies, and other multimedia content. The PlayStation 3 is most certainly the most varied unit of the home consoles, by being offered in 20 GB, 40 GB, 60 GB, 80 GB, 160 GB, 120 GB, and 250GB configurations, with the last two being the current models. As for December 5th, 2009 Sony has sold 27.3 million PS3’s according to vgchartz.com.

Of course there was several Playstation Portable (PSP) units –

Released in March 2005, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) was Sony’s first handheld console. The console utilizes an new proprietary optical storage medium known as Universal Media Disc (UMD), which can store both games and movies. It contains 32MB of internal flash memory storage, expandable via Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. It has a vast library of games and movies available to play on UMD and also can download games off the Playstation store. The first major hardware revision, the PSP Slim and Lite was released in September 2007, with a further revision adding additional features (such as a microphone and upgraded screen) being released in October 2008. As of December 5th 2009, 53 million PSP units have been sold according to vgchartz.com.

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The PSP Go was released in October 2009. It differs from the original PlayStation Portable in several ways, most notably the absence of a UMD drive, with all content having to be purchased and downloaded from the Playstation Store. The PSP also adds Bluetooth functionality, and uses smaller Memory Stick Micro cards rather than the PRO Duo. It retains the same brilliance in display like the regular PSP but its display is slightly smaller. The PSP Go is 43% lighter and 56% smaller than the original PSP.

What’s your favorite Playstation moment of all time? Mine was probably beating Metal Gear Solid 1..

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