Launch of PlayStation 5 is around the corner with the expected release date of 12 November. The gaming console represents 78% of the company’s profit. With over 100 million users worldwide, it has come a long away from the year of its launch, i.e. 1994. Sony has released four consoles with refreshed designs during this journey. Let’s take a trip down the memory lane and relive childhood with the evolution of PlayStation over the years.
Sony’s fat cat PlayStation had first launched in Japan 26 years ago. Competing against the likes of Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn, it went on to ship over 100 million units. It was the first-ever gaming console to achieve this feat.
The story for the first PlayStation is quite impressive. Sony was considering a partnership with Nintendo to build add-ons for its Super Nintendo. However, the deal was never signed, and Sony decided to make a gaming console of its own. The first PlayStation featured 2MB of RAM and 1 MB of VRAM. The CPU used was one-core, and the CD-ROM drive was dual-speed. It could deliver around 360,000PPS (polygons per second).
It was the PlayStation that shifted the focus of industry towards 3D rendering. The use of compact discs enabled the use of high-fidelity videos. This was the significant difference between N64 and the PlayStation because of the limited cartridge space of the former.
There was no internal memory; the users needed to connect memory cards for the purpose. The dual shock controllers were released in 1997, and the earlier controller lacked both, dual shock and force-feedback technology.
Major Games: Tomb Raider, Dead or Alive, Resident Evil Series, Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX, Silent Hill, Castlevania, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Spyro the Dragon, PaRappa the Rapper.
Not a major release to the series, PSone was an incremental update to the initial PlayStation. It was a smaller version with redesigned chassis. This gaming console also featured an updated version of the graphical user interface from Sony.
The best-selling console of the series, PlayStation 2 was released on March 4, 2000. It sold over 150 million units worldwide over the 12 years of its time in stores. The gaming console received competition from Nintendo’s GameCube, Microsoft Xbox, and Sega Dreamcast. What made it the leader among these sixth-generation consoles were the huge library with over 2,000 games.
PS2 featured a one-core processor Emotion Engine CPU clocked at 294.9 MHz. With 32MB of RAM and 4 MB of VRAM, the console was compatible with the majority of the PS1 games. The backward compatibility was seen very rarely in the gaming consoles back then. The DVD and USB support were the most important factors that contributed to its success. They were seen for the first time in any major gaming console.
Users now have the option to install a 40GB hard drive in their PS2. The support of memory cards was still available. The consoles also included Dual Shock 2 controllers with tighter sticks and a new black finish. However, they were still wired to the console.
Major Games: GTA III/ San Andreas/ Vice City, Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy X, Twisted Metal Black, Suikoden series, KatamariDamacy, Silent Hill series, God of War I/II.
Not as successful as the PS2 with the numbers, PlayStation 3 was launched on November 11, 2006. It sold over 80 million units worldwide against the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360. The PS3 was the most expensive one of the three competitors. The price was justified with the inbuilt Blu-ray player, the first in the category to feature one.
The PS3 featured a proprietary Cell processor, which was designed by Sony in partnership with IBM and Toshiba. There were some controversies surrounding the chip because of the difficulty faced by the partners to program it. The seven-core cell was clocked at 3.2 GHz. The graphics of PS3 used RSX Reality Synthesizer from Nvidia with 256MB of VRAM clocked in at 550MHz. It was also the first among the gaming consoles to support 1080p and HDMI output.
The backward compatibility was offered with a PS2 processor incorporated physically inside the chassis. However, it was discontinued by Sony to reduce the cost. It also introduced wireless connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi support. In addition to the 20GB internal drive, the user can install an additional HDD.
The PS3 introduced a range of new features that includes PlayStation Plus and support for video streaming applications. Users can now download games directly from online stores. Also, there were special discounts and early access for the PlayStation Plus Users. The wireless Dualshock 3 controllers were launched. Moreover, the Move Motion Controller was also released in 2010 for PlayStation.
Major Games: God of War III, LittleBigPlanet, Grand Theft Auto IV/V, Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted 2/3, The Last of Us.
The PlayStation 4 made the headlines on its release date with over 1 million units sold within the 24 hours of its launch. It was released on November 15, 2013, in North America.
The PS4 was the first gaming console from Sony to use a CPU with the x86 instruction set, the same architecture used by Gaming PCs. The detailed specifications of this Jaguar CPU stated an 8-core AMD x86-64 processor combined with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. The graphics were handled by an integrated AMD Radeon GPU.
It is often regarded as the most important console in the gaming industry. We have now seen the release of PlayStation VR, the only virtual reality device available for the console users at the time of launch. The DualShock 4 controllers were equipped with headset and mic ports, supported by an ergonomic design.
Major Games: Bloodborne, Until Dawn, Uncharted 4, Infamous.
The PlayStation has been arguably the most iconic gaming console in the world. The launch of PS5 is ready to make headlines with gamers waiting for its launch. As per the reports, it will be unveiled on 12 November this year. If you are short on money, try loans from private money lenders in Ireland to get your hands on it shortly after its release.