The origin of the PlayStation brings up some interesting facts. First, Sony before this invention had absolutely no experience in consumer gaming and had never developed a game – forget about a console system. But when the PlayStation was developed and introduced in the market, it exceeded all expectations and became an instant hit. It in fact revolutionised the CD-ROM gaming scenario around the world.
However, Sony’s windfall was because of a disputed contract with Nintendo which otherwise would have led to Play Station being released as an add-on to their Super Nintendo console.
Here are some fundamental facts about the Play Station in a nutshell.
- Title: Sony PlayStation (aka PlayStation One)
- Manufacturer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Type: Disc-Based Video Game Console (5th Generation)
- Release Date: 1994 (Japan), 1995 (North America and Europe)
Origin of the PlayStation
Video games consoles had been around long before the PlayStation was invented and many companies had entered the video games console sector. The first was Magnavox with its Magnavox Odyssey followed by RCA Studio II from RCA. Another company that made its mark was Fairchild Semiconductor with its Fairchild Channel. Sony founded in 1946 did not have its own video game console till the 1990s but it had nothing to do with not trying to enter this industry. It was other circumstances that delayed matters.
Nintendo around the early 1980s was the dominating force in the video games market with a cartridge based console. Sony around this time was researching on CD-ROM that was based on advanced technologies. In 1986, Sony developed a disc that allowed compressed audio, video, data and graphics to be run simultaneously. The existing discs at that time could only run anyone individually at a time. Around this time, Nintendo approached Sony to develop a CD-ROM for them that would replace Super Nintendo cartridge based consoles.
The deal was signed in 1988 with Sony researching on the tech and Nintendo incorporating it in their Play Station expansion plans. A contract dispute with Sony led Nintendo to cancel the agreement with Sony and make a side-deal with Philips Electronics for developing the same disc technology but that really never took off.
Sony however continued with researching on the technology and made grand plans to create a consumer 3D disc-based console system, but there was one problem here. Unlike Atari and Nintendo, Sony did not have an in-house set up that would develop games for their consoles. However, the building of a powerful video gaming console by Sony brought in a flood of third party publishers of games wanting to be on this advanced gaming platform created by Sony. This led Sony to partner with games producers and it soon had a robust selection of games to start with.
Finally, the Sony PlayStation was released in Japan in 1994 followed by North America and Europe in 1995. The CD-ROM based PlayStation was an instant hit, far surpassing Nintendo with its cartridge run consoles and Sega Saturn, the disc based system from Sega.
Sony has over time developed advanced versions of the PlayStation but it was the first model that brought 3D gaming to the world of games and kick started the CD-ROM revolution which forms the foundation of video gaming today.