Sony’s Playstation 2 is the best-selling console of all time being the first with over 150 million units sold. The first model, released in the USA in 1995, was a success and its successors have been able to keep the momentum going especially as Sony has continually updated the platform to stay on top of advances in technology.
From the Beginning
The Playstation was originally created by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) which produced both hardware and software for it including many games that are now considered classics such as Final Fantasy VII, Gran Turismo, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, and Tekken. SCEI then spun off into two companies: Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc., which produces video game consoles; and Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA).
It had an 8-bit central processing unit (CPU) and a 7 MHz 32-bit graphics synthesizer chip with each pixel using 16 bits of color depth giving it 256 colors. The system also had an audio processor chip which allowed it to produce stereophonic sound and used separate 16-bit DSPs for each channel giving it a total of six sound channels. It was initially very successful, selling over 2 million units in over 50 countries within the first year of its release in America, with many video game players favoring its CD-ROM format over other media which was extremely popular at the time.
The original PlayStation had a controller similar in design to the Super Nintendo’s controller but with different button configurations and ergonomics. The console also had two memory card ports allowing players to save their games using memory cards or by swapping diskettes; not all games supported saving this way. The original PlayStation also had two expansion ports which were used by the Net Yaroze, a special black PlayStation for amateur programmers which was released in 1997 to experiment with game programming.
Sony had a lot of success marketing the early Playstations to both children and adults. They were able to do this by releasing games that appealed to different age groups, which is what caused the console’s popularity to continue. They have been great at price points through their history and from the early days knew that they needed a huge selection of games to appeal to more people. This was something that Sega failed with in the 90’s.
Bombshell: Dropping the Price to beat Sega
The original PlayStation was released in the US, in 1995 at a price of $299.
The first Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was a turning point for video game consoles. Sega and Sony presented their new technologies at this event. These moments helped shape gaming history, Sega’s CEO revealed that his company would be releasing its Saturn console for $399. Immediately afterward, After hearing this, Sony announced “$299,” as expected the audience members were shocked but very happy to hear the good news. The word spread fast and the modest price point gave the original PS1 a huge boost.
The Playstation’s success eventually led to the creation of its successor, the Playstation 2, which would go on to sell more than 150 million units, making it the best-selling home video game console of all time. The Playstation 2 had a 3.2 GHz unified shader processor and graphics chip with 256 MB of system memory which was upgradeable to 8 GB, as well as an audio co-processor that allowed for seven virtual surround sound channels. It was originally released in Japan on March 4, 2000 for 38,000 yen (~$360).
Retail Leak could point to an eye-watering ps5 price
The Sony PS5 has been one of the most anticipated games consoles, released late last year. In 2020, leaks pointing to a $600 price point got everyone talking about the console. This was to be debunked by an official statement from Sony which said that it was false and people wasted their time guessing the price. But, this was smart as it got people talking about the new generation console and increased the anticipation before its eventual release.
The PS5 has now sold over 10 million units. All generations of consoles have combined for almost 500 million total units in sales! It’s incredible to see the success over the decades since the original console was released. One of the biggest reasons for the early success was of course the price point!