15 Years Of PlayStation Domination

Fifteen years ago, Phillips, Sega and 3DO were struggling to get North American consumers to accept CD-based gaming. On September 9, 1995, Sony came along and showed them how it's done, changing the face of gaming as we knew it.

Up until 1995, Sony's major contribution to North American consumer electronics had been the Walkman, the brand that became synonymous with cassette and CD-based portable music players. The launch of the PlayStation in September of that year ushered in a new age of innovation in the gaming industry, and today, the PlayStation brand is in many ways in the exact same position, often used in mass media to describe gaming in lieu of more general terms.

The original PlayStation was a bit of a gamble for Sony. While CD gaming had been accepted by PC gamers, console players were clutching their cartridges to their chests protectively, refusing to budge. The Sega-CD came and went. The Phillips CD-i played pretty games, but the cost was far too high. The 3DO failed to catch on, and even the Sega Saturn, released in North America in May of 1995, failed to make a sizable dent in the cartridge market.

The PlayStation didn't simply succeed. It excelled. With CD-quality sound and graphics unlike anything console gamers had ever seen, it was clearly superior to its chief competition, the Nintendo 64. The situation was quite ironic, considering the PlayStation began as a joint project between Sony and Nintendo, only to have Nintendo back out of the deal to partner with Phillips on a project that would never come to fruition.

The 1995 launch of the PlayStation in North America wasn't simply the launch of a console. It was the beginning of a brand that's thrived for a decade and a half. The PlayStation 2 remains the best-selling video game console of all time, and the PlayStation 3 is looking to lead the market towards a 3D revolution.

Sony has sold more than 377 million PlayStation-branded consoles in the past 15 years, moving two billion units of software. In the US, the brand accounts for 40 per cent of the game market share to date, generating more than $US63 billion in revenue.

"When you look in the rearview mirror at what was happening in 1995 you see that the video game industry was an entirely different animal. Cartridges were still the preferred medium, and the market was a modest $US2.6 billion in sales revenue annually. Many critics thought that a disc-based console with a lot of horsepower would shoot over the heads of consumers, but our users proved them wrong," said Jack Tretton, CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Now we are seeing a convergence of video games and home entertainment and a market that is a robust $US20 billion in revenue. In the next 15 years and beyond, PlayStation will continue to bring new and more immersive experiences, like stereoscopic 3D, augmented reality, as well as genre-defying gameplay into consumer living rooms."

Sony invites fans to help celebrate the 15-year anniversary, with several special discounts and free items available through the PlayStation Network.

  • Free downloadable PS3 & PSP static themes available for download on the PlayStation Store starting today
  • Weekly discounts on select PS One titles within the PlayStation 15th anniversary collection page, available in all SCEA territories on PS3, PSP and Media Go Storefronts. In addition to a 50 per cent sale on Super Rub A Dub (Super Rub A Dub offer good from Thursday, September 9, 2010 - through Monday, September 20, 2010)
  • A PlayStation Home commemorative Original PlayStation (PS One) ornament for personal spaces available starting today

There have been a few missteps along the way, but the PlayStation brand has proved itself an enduring one and secured a spot as one of the most beloved names in gaming history.

Happy anniversary, PlayStation!


Comments

    *tips hat to sony*

    It is amazing that the controller has pretty much stayed with the same design since the launch of the playstation. I wonder when, if ever, there will be a redesign or is to too much of an iconic piece of the playstation brand now?

      I really hope they don't, I love the controller as it is. (Except for the triggers. Even then, all you ahve to do is the trigger add ons and it's all good again.)

      Anyway, Happy Anniversary to you Playstation! You've been a pretty big part of my life, so thanks :)

        Funny someone should mention that "iconic" controller.. I still recall the original pre release prototypes of the controller and how they were planning to make a "batarang" shaped design.

        Good thing they stuck to the original PS Design ^^

        Yeah, I find the size, shape and layout of the controller pretty much perfect for me.

        What I WOULD like to see them do is tighten up those analogue sticks a bit to be a little more responsive. But other than that, it ain't broke so don't fix it.

    Happy anniversary, PlayStation! I'm glad that you have been a part of my life for all those 15 years, thanks for all the memories. Thanks for making it possible Sony.

    That picture is misleading. The original Playstation release controllers didn't have analogue controls.

    That came later.

      Wasn't there an analogue controller released at or about the same time as the console launched? It wasn't bundled with the console, but was available.

      It got replaced later on by the first DualShock which added rumble and became the standard controller bundled with the console.

      Which just reminded me of Ape Escape, the game they made to sell the DualShock. Man, I loved that game... haven't played it for years...

        Ow my brain hurts..

        The PSX came out in 1994 with the original with a dpad controller. I still have one. The N64 came out in 1996 (JP/NA) and popularized the analogue stick. The PSX followed suit released the Dual Analog in 1997. Nintendo then released the rumble pack with Lylat Wars. Sony followed suit and made the Dual Shock.

        Fast forward to 2006 Nintendo comes out with motion control. In 2010 Sony follows suit and..

          Ah, right you are - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_Analog_Controller

          Dual Analog wasn't until 1997. However suggesting they put in rumble as a copycat move to Nintendo isn't exactly accurate. The Dual Analog launched in April 1997, which was actually the same month as Nintendo's Rumble Pak. But the Dual Analog actually had rumble at that time in Japan. They just took the rumble out for the US/Euro version. For "manufacturing reasons" - which presumably means to make it cheaper to build while still charging the same or higher price.

    Your article is wrong on a number of matters. Firstly, CD based addons or consoles are generally accepted as failing due to their incredibly high price range and lack of decent support. This changed by the time the PSX and Saturn were released due to decreasing costs and much more support (look at all the developers who jumped ship from Nintendo to Sony, most notably Sqaure).

    Secondly, you imply that the first Playstation was technically superior to the N64, when the N64 was capable of just as good sound and much better graphics.

    Finally, the PS3 has done anything but dominate this generation, much like the PSP. Though i haven't checked lately, i'm fairly certain PS3 and PSP are still coming last in sales in their respective markets.

    I've owned every Playstation console, and recognise Sony has been a big influence of gaming, but there's no need for hyperbole and outright bs.

      He never said dominance in sales, infact the emphasis of the article is on technological dominance.

      PS3 has dominated this generation technologically. The PS3 also helped blu-ray win the HD format wars.

      Sony has been a market leader when it comes to introducing new technology. Its not always the first to come up with the idea but they have managed (for the last 15 years) to make it stick.

      Didnt the XBox360 have an optional HD DVD drive at one stage and couldnt manage to get it to stick.

        That's because addons for consoles generally fail, even when they're reasonably priced and have support ;)

          $250 launch price for HD-DVD add-on is reasonable?
          $150 for wi-fi adaptor that other consoles have built-in out of the box, is reasonable...?

          ;)

    wrong pick dual shock didnt come first

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