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20 Facts About the PlayStation and the Man Behind It

If you’re a fan of Sony and their line of PlayStation consoles, you owe it to yourself to check out these astonishing facts about the game console that would make you appreciate it even more. From the humble beginnings and the initial fight with Nintendo, up to the bombastic sales figures, here are 20 facts about the first PlayStation console and the man behind it!

It All Started When a Settled Deal Failed

Sony and Nintendo planned to join efforts and create a console – more precisely, a disc drive for the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) that would increase storage space. On the other hand, Sony worked on its console capable of playing future SNES games.

The market’s reaction to the Nintendo PlayStation was likely too intense for Nintendo. They revoked their deal with Sony and went to Philipps just one day after unveiling the product.

After being rebuffed by Philips in a deal that would have given the company complete control of the PlayStation business, Sony decided to pursue its own system—the first PlayStation.

The PlayStation Wasn’t Originally Intended to be a Gaming Console

When the PlayStation was first developed, it wasn’t originally intended to be a gaming console. Instead, it was meant to be a CD-ROM player in conjunction with Sony’s existing Trinitron TVs.

However, when Kutaragi pitched the idea of the PlayStation to Sony’s executives, they decided it would be better to position it as a gaming console instead. And that’s how the PlayStation came to be!

The Man Behind the Console

The story of how the PlayStation came to be is an interesting one. The man behind it was Ken Kutaragi, nicknamed “the father of the PlayStation.” He had started working on a project to create a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

However, when relations between Sony and Nintendo soured, the project was eventually scrapped. Kutaragi then proposed creating an entirely new console for Sony’s executives. They greenlit the project, and the PlayStation was born!

In 1991, Sony announced the debut of a new gaming console, a refinement of the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Sadly, Nintendo and Sony eventually had a falling out. The console was ultimately announced in 1993, even though they had initially disagreed on launching it.

It was Almost Called “PSX”

PSX was considered a name because Sony wanted to combine its handheld console with its home video game console under one branding. However, they eventually scrapped this idea, which might have confused consumers. They chose the name “PlayStation” instead because it would evoke the image of fun and gaming for people of all ages.

The Console Was Fairly Expensive for the Time

PlayStation’s first console was priced at 37000 Yen (about $275 USD) when it launched in Japan. The original 100,000 units were distributed at this price. By the end of the month following Sony’s launch, 200000 more units had to be relaunched because they sold out so quickly.

The First Game Released Was…

“Battle Arena Toshinden”. It was a weapon-based fighting game developed by Tamsoft and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released in Japan on December 16, 1994, and in North America on September 09, 1995. It was later released in Europe on November 24, 1995.

The Black Disc That Came with it Was (Mostly) Useless

The black disc that came with the console wasn’t much use. It was a sampler of various PlayStation games, but most of them were Japanese titles that weren’t released in North America or Europe. As such, they weren’t fascinating to gamers in those regions.

At first, the users thought the Black Disc was “something important.” Later, the company revealed that the only reason it was there was that “it looked good.” The game makers wanted to leave a lasting impression on gamers, and the black disc did just that. Now, that is what we call marketing.

PlayStation Started with Only Eight Games

The PS1’s initial library consisted of just eight titles. Some of the most popular games then were Train Simulator, Ridge Racer, Mahjong and two titles that were only released in Japan. While this may seem like a small number by today’s standards, it was enough to get gamers hooked on the console.

It Wasn’t Available in Japan Until 1995

The PlayStation wasn’t available in Japan until 1995. Sony first wanted to focus on launching the console in North America and Europe. However, when it finally launched in Japan, it was an instant hit! The console sold over three million units in its first year alone.

The First-Ever Best-Selling PlayStation Game

It was Gran Turismo! This game was the first ever to generate 10 million units in sales. It was a tight race among the PlayStation’s top sellers, with Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider, Tekken 3, Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil vying for first place.

The Original PlayStation Didn’t Have an HDD

When the original PlayStation was released back in 1994, it didn’t have a hard drive. Sony didn’t release a PlayStation model with a hard drive until 2007, with the release of the PlayStation 3 that not only featured a 20 GB hard disk drive, but also an extensive OS. However, some enterprising gamers figured out how to mod their consoles to add a hard drive. Doing so allowed them to play games that were released on CD-ROMs, as well as download and play homebrew software from the internet.

Error Codes and Web Browsers Were non-existent

Because of the simplicity of the build, the console didn’t need a lot of maintenance and it wasn’t prone to error codes. According to EsportsHeadlines.com, the troubleshooting fun began at their third console, with the most amount of error codes being amassed in the PS4 era.

The Console Had a Controller with a Built-in Screen

The first PlayStation controller had a built-in screen. This was known as the “PlayStation Pocket.” It was released in Japan in 1997 and allowed gamers to play games on the go. However, the device was eventually discontinued due to its high price tag.

PlayStation Holds Record-breaking Sales Figures

The PlayStation was the first to reach 100 million units and is still one of the record-holders. These statistics demonstrated the system’s comprehensive platform and earned it a spot in the “gaming hall of fame.” Even today, PlayStation maintains a commanding market position thanks to its inventive and “first-ever” breakthroughs.

The Ear-Catching Start-up Tone

Who can forget the sound of Sony’s first PlayStation when they powered it on for the first time?

Takafumi Fujisawa produced the sounds for this opening. He explained that he developed nearly everything single-handedly, with entire artistic liberty, and only looked at the animations that show up onscreen for guidance. The recording only took two days, but the creative process of creating what to record took two weeks.

One of the Most Iconic Logos in the Gaming Industry

The PlayStation logo was an essential part of the start-up sequence too. It was designed by Manabu Sakamoto, who also worked on developing Sony’s Walkman and Discman products. The four quadrants in the logo represent the four buttons on the PlayStation controller (triangle, circle, cross, square). The logo was also meant to evoke a sense of speed and dynamism.

The start-up sequence was so iconic that it was even referenced in the popular TV show The Simpsons. In one episode, Homer Simpson is seen trying to start up a “Playtron” console, but he can’t seem to get it to work. After a few seconds, the actual PlayStation start-up sequence starts playing, and Homer gets the console working.

PlayStation Controllers Are More Than Just Simple Buttons

We’ve gone through this ourselves before there was a deluge of information on the subject. Yes, the circle, square, triangle and cross (not ‘x’) all have meanings. The square button is for the game’s menu, and the triangle is for the player’s view or viewpoint. The cross is supposed to represent ‘no’ and the circle ‘yes’—though when the PlayStation came West, these buttons typically operated in reverse, with the cross moving forward through options and the circle going back.

Users Were Confused About the PlayStation Mascot

There is a common misconception that Crash Bandicoot was the official mascot of the first PlayStation console. However, Sony has never officially recognized him as such. The console had a genuine and official mascot in North America: the Polygon Man. The goal was for it to represent the video game’s abilities and be able to produce more polygons than other games.

It should go without saying that Crash Bandicoot did not fall in public due to his frightening appearance. In 2012, he even made a cameo as the final boss in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. A respectful nod to an unlikeable character.

The Production of the PlayStation Console Stopped in 2004

The PlayStation was in production for 13 years, from 1994 to 2004. In that time, it sold over 102 million units worldwide. The console was discontinued in Japan in 2006, making it the longest-lived console ever released in that country.

While Sony stopped the PSOne production, we can still enjoy its games through emulation and re-releases.

You can also find a wide variety of PSOne games available online. So, if you’re feeling nostalgic, there’s no need to worry. You can still get your PlayStation fix. And who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see a PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale sequel with an even more unlikely final boss. Only time will tell.

Playing Is Believing

The first PlayStation was a console that truly changed the gaming industry. It was responsible for popularizing 32-bit gaming and bringing Japanese gaming culture to the West. It also gave rise to some of the most iconic franchises in video game history, such as Crash Bandicoot, Tekken, and Metal Gear Solid. While it may not be the most powerful console on the market today, there’s no denying that the original PlayStation was a ground-breaking piece of gaming hardware.

From its humble beginnings as an add-on for Nintendo’s failed SNES CD-ROM system to its eventual domination of the console market, the PlayStation is a true success story.

 

 

 

 

 

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