PlayStation, (officially abbreviated PS) is a gaming brand that consists of four home video game consoles, as well as a media center, an online service, a line of controllers, two handhelds and a phone, as well as multiple magazines. It is created and owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment since December 3, 1994, with the launch of the original PlayStation console in Japan.
The original console in the series was the first video game console to ship 100 million units. PlayStation 2, was released in 2000. It is the best-selling home console. Sony’s next console, the PlayStation 3, was released in 2006 and sold over 80 million consoles worldwide as of 2013. Sony’s latest console, the PlayStation 4, was released in 2013, selling 1 million consoles in its first 24 hours on sale, becoming the fastest selling console in history.
The first handheld game console in the PlayStation series, called the PlayStation Portable or PSP, sold a total of 80 million units worldwide by November 2013. Its successor, the PlayStation Vita, had sold over 4 million units by January 2013. PlayStation TV is a microconsole and a non-portable variant of the PlayStation Vita handheld game console. Other hardware released as part of the PlayStation series includes the PSX, a digital video recorder which was integrated with the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, as well as a Sony Bravia television set which has an integrated PlayStation 2. The main series of controllers utilized by the PlayStation series is the DualShock, which is a line of vibration-feedback gamepads.
The PlayStation Network is an online service that comprises an online virtual market, the PlayStation Store, a subscription-based online service known as PlayStation Plus, and a social gaming networking service called PlayStation Home. PlayStation Mobile (formerly PlayStation Suite), is a software framework that provides PlayStation content on mobile devices.
7th generation PlayStation products also use a new touch screen-based user interface called LiveArea that was launched for the PlayStation Vita and integrates social networking elements into the interface. Additionally, PlayStation 2 and original PlayStation 3 consoles also featured support for Linux-based operating system.
PlayStation was the brainchild of Ken Kutaragi, a Sony executive who had just finished managing one of the company’s hardware engineering divisions at that time and would later be dubbed as “The Father of the PlayStation”.
The console’s origins date back to 1988 where it was originally a joint project between Nintendo and Sony to create a CD-ROM for the Super Famicom. Although Nintendo denied the existence of the Sony deal as late as March 1991, Sony revealed a Super Famicom with a built-in CD-ROM drive, that incorporated Green Book technology or CD-i, called “Play Station” (also known as SNES-CD) at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991. However, a day after the announcement at CES, Nintendo announced that it would be breaking its partnership with Sony, opting to go with Philips instead but using the same technology. The deal was broken by Nintendo after they were unable to come to an agreement on how revenue would be split between the two companies. The breaking of the partnership caused Sony President Norio Ohga, to respond by appointing Kutaragi with the responsibility of developing the PlayStation project to rival Nintendo.
According to SCE’s producer Ryoji Akagawa and chairman Shigeo Maruyama, there was uncertainty over whether the console should primarily focus on 2D sprite graphics or 3D polygon graphics. It was only after witnessing the success of Sega’s Virtua Fighter in Japanese arcades that “the direction of the PlayStation became instantly clear” and 3D polygon graphics became the console’s primary focus.
At Sony Music Entertainment, Kutaragi worked closely with Shigeo Maruyama, the CEO of Sony Music, and with Akira Sato to form Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) in 1993. A building block of SCEI was its initial partnership with Sony Music which helped SCEI attract creative talent to the company as well as assist SCEI in manufacturing, marketing and producing discs, something that Sony Music had been doing with Music Discs. The final two key members of SCEI were Terry Tokunaka, the President of SCEI from Sony’s headquarters, and Olaf Olafsson. Olafsson was CEO and president of New York-based Sony Interactive Entertainment which was the mother company for the 1994-founded Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA).
The PlayStation project, SCEI’s first official project, was finally given the green light by Sony executives in 1993 after a few years of development. Also in 1993, Phil Harrison, who would later become President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, was recruited into SCEI to attract developers and publishers to produce games for their new PlayStation platform.
The original PlayStation was the first of the ubiquitous PlayStation series of console and hand-held game devices. It has included successor consoles and upgrades including the Net Yaroze (a special black PlayStation with tools and instructions to program PlayStation games and applications), “PSone” (a smaller version of the original) and the PocketStation (a handheld which enhances PlayStation games and also acts as a memory card). It was part of the fifth generation of video game consoles competing against the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64.
Released concurrently with its successor the PlayStation 2, the PSone was a considerably smaller, redesigned version of the original PlayStation video game console. The PSone went on to outsell all-other consoles, including its successor, throughout the remainder of the year. It featured two main changes from its predecessor, the first being a cosmetic change to the console and the second being the home menu’s Graphical User Interface; a variation of the GUI previously used only on PAL consoles up to that point.
Released in 2000, 15 months after the Dreamcast and a year before its other competitors, the Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube, the PlayStation 2 is part of the sixth generation of video game consoles, and is backwards-compatible with most original PlayStation games. Like its predecessor, it has received a slimmer redesign, and was also released built into the PSX DVR and the Sony BRAVIA KDL22PX300 HDTV. It is the most successful home console in the world. The Guardian reported on January 4, 2013 that PS2 production had ended worldwide, but studies showed that many people all around the world still own one even if it is no longer in use. PlayStation 2 has been ranked as the best selling console of all time as of 2015.
Released on November 17, 2006 in North America, the PlayStation 3 is a seventh generation game console from Sony. It competes with the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii. The PS3 is the first console in the series to introduce the use of motion-sensing technology through its Sixaxis wireless controller. The console also incorporates a Blu-ray Disc player and features high-definition resolution. The PS3 was originally offered with either a 20 GB or 60 GB hard drive, but over the years its capacity increased in increments available up to 500 GB. Like its predecessors, the PlayStation 3 was re-released in 2009 as a “slim” model. In 2012, Sony revealed a new “Super Slim” PlayStation 3. The new console, with a completely redesigned case which has a sliding door covering the disc drive (which has been moved to the top of the console), is 4.3 pounds, almost three pounds lighter than the previous “slim” model. The console comes with either 12GB flash memory or a 250GB, 500GB hard drive.
The PlayStation 4 (PS4) is the latest video game console from Sony Computer Entertainment announced at a press conference on February 20, 2013. The eighth-generation system, launched in the fourth quarter of 2013, introduced the x86 architecture to the PlayStation series. According to lead system architect, Mark Cerny,development on the PlayStation 4 began as early as 2008. PlayStation Europe CEO Jim Ryan emphasized in 2011 that Sony wanted to avoid launching the next-generation console behind the competition.
PlayStation 4 Slim (officially marketed simply as PlayStation 4 or PS4) was unveiled on September 7, 2016. It is a revision of the original PS4 hardware with a streamlined form factor. The PS4 Slim was released on September 15, 2016, with a 500 GB model at the same price point as the original PS4 model. Its model number is CUH-2000.
PlayStation 4 Pro or PS4 Pro for short was unveiled on September 7, 2016. Its model number is CUH-7000. It is an updated version of the PlayStation 4 with improved hardware, including an upgraded GPU with 4.2 teraflops of processing power, and higher CPU clock. It is designed primarily to enable selected games to be playable at 4K resolution, and improved quality for PlayStation VR.
The PocketStation was a miniature game console created by SCE as a peripheral for the original PlayStation. Released exclusively in Japan on December 23, 1999, it featured a monochrome LCD, a speaker, a real-time clock and infrared communication capability. It could also be used as a standard PlayStation memory card by connecting it to a PlayStation memory card slot. It was extremely popular in Japan and Sony originally had plans to release it in the United States but the plan was ultimately scrapped due to various manufacturing and supply-and-demand problems.
The PlayStation Portable (PSP) was Sony’s first handheld console to compete with Nintendo’s DS console. The original model (PSP-1000) was released in December 2004 and March 2005, The console is the first to utilize a new proprietary optical storage medium known as Universal Media Disc (UMD), which can store both games and movies. It contains 32 MB of internal flash memory storage, expandable via Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. It has a similar control layout to the PS3 with its PlayStation logo button and its Triangle, Circle, Cross, and Square, buttons in their white-colored forms.
The PSP-2000 (also known as the Slim & Lite in PAL territories) was the first major hardware revision of the PlayStation Portable, released in September 2007. The 2000 series was 33% lighter and 19% slimmer than the original PlayStation Portable. The capacity of the battery was also reduced by ⅓ but the run time remained the same as the previous model due to lower power consumption. Older model batteries will still work and they extend the amount of playing time. The PSP Slim & Lite has a new gloss finish. Its serial port was also modified in order to accommodate a new video-out feature (while rendering older PSP remote controls incompatible). On a PSP-2000, PSP games will only output to external monitors or TVs in progressive scan mode, so that televisions incapable of supporting progressive scan will not display PSP games; non-game video will output in either progressive or interlaced mode. USB charging was also made possible. Buttons are also reportedly more responsive on the PSP-2000. In 2008, Sony released a second hardware revision called the PSP-3000 which included several features that were not present in the PSP-2000, such as a built-in microphone and upgraded screen, as well as the ability to output PSP games in interlaced mode.
Released in October 2009, the PSP Go is the biggest redesign of the PlayStation Portable to date. Unlike previous PSP models, the PSP Go does not feature a UMD drive but instead has 16 GB of internal flash memory to store games, videos and other media. This can be extended by up to 32GB with the use of a Memory Stick Micro (M2) flash card. Also unlike previous PSP models, the PSP Go’s rechargeable battery is not removable or replaceable by the user. The unit is 43% lighter and 56% smaller than the original PSP-1000, and 16% lighter and 35% smaller than the PSP-3000. It has a 3.8″ 480 × 272 LCD (compared to the larger 4.3″ 480 × 272 pixel LCD on previous PSP models). The screen slides up to reveal the main controls. The overall shape and sliding mechanism are similar to that of Sony’s mylo COM-2 internet device. The PSP Go is being produced and sold concurrently with its predecessor the PSP-3000 although it will not replace it. All games on the PSP Go must be purchased and downloaded from the PlayStation Store as the handheld is not compatible with the original PSP’s physical media, the Universal Media Disc. The handheld also features connectivity with the PlayStation 3’s controllers the Sixaxis and DualShock 3 via Bluetooth connection.
The PSP-E1000 is a budget-focused PSP model which, unlike previous PSP models, does not feature Wi-Fi or stereo speakers (replaced by a single mono speaker) and has a matte “charcoal black” finish similar to the slim PlayStation 3.
Released in Japan on December 17, 2011 and North America on February 22, 2012, the PlayStation Vita was previously codenamed Next Generation Portable (NGP). It was officially unveiled by Sony on January 27, 2011 at the PlayStation Meeting 2011. The original model of the handheld, the PCH-1000 series features a 5-inch OLED touchscreen, two analog sticks, a rear touchpad, Sixaxis motion sensing and a 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor.
The new PCH-2000 series system is a lighter redesign of the device that was announced at the SCEJA Press Conference in September 2013 prior to the Tokyo Game Show. This model is 20% thinner and 15% lighter compared to the original model, has an additional hour of battery life, an LCD instead of OLED, includes a micro USB Type B port, 1GB of internal storage memory. It was released in Japan on October 10, 2013 in six colors: white, black, pink, yellow, blue, and olive green, and in North America on May 6, 2014.
Released solely in Japan in 2003, the Sony PSX was a fully integrated DVR and PlayStation 2 video game console. It was the first Sony product to utilize the XrossMediaBar (XMB) and can be linked with a PlayStation Portable to transfer videos and music via USB. It also features software for video, photo and audio editing. PSX supports online game compatibility using an internal broadband adapter. Games that utilize the PS2 HDD (for example, Final Fantasy XI) are supported as well. It was the first product released by Sony under the PlayStation brand that did not include a controller with the device itself.
Released in 2010, the Sony BRAVIA KDL22PX300 is a 22-inch 720p television which incorporates a PlayStation 2 console, along with 4 HDMI ports.
A 24-inch 1080p PlayStation branded 3D television, officially called the PlayStation 3D Display, was released in late 2011. A feature of this 3D television is SimulView. During multiplayer games, each player will only see their respective screen (in full HD) appear on the television through their respective 3D glasses, instead of seeing a split screen (e.g. player 1 will only see player 1’s screen displayed through their 3D glasses).
The Xperia Play is an Android-powered smartphone with a slide-up gamepad resembling the PSP Go developed by Sony Ericsson aimed at gamers, and is the first to be PlayStation Certified. Also can download PlayStation Suite App.
Sony Tablets are PlayStation Certified Android tablets, released in 2011, 2012, and 2013. They offer connectivity with PlayStation 3 controllers, and integrate with the PlayStation network using a proprietary application. The following models were released between 2011 and 2013: S, Sony Tablet S, Sony Tablet P, Xperia Tablet S and Xperia Tablet Z.
PlayStation TV, known in Asia as PlayStation Vita TV, is a microconsole and a non-portable variant of the PlayStation Vita handheld. It was announced on September 9, 2013 at a Sony Computer Entertainment Japan presentation. Instead of featuring a display screen, the console connects to a television via HDMI. Users can play using a DualShock 3 controller, although due to the difference in features between the controller and the handheld, certain games are not compatible with PS TV. The system supports Remote Play compatibility with the PlayStation 4, allowing players to stream games from the PS4 to a separate TV connected to PS TV, and also allows users to stream content from video services such as Hulu and Niconico, as well as access the PlayStation Store.
PlayStation VR is a virtual reality device that is produced by Sony Computer Entertainment. It features a 5.7 inch 1920×1080 resolution OLED display, and operates at 120fps which can eliminate blur and produce a smooth image; the device also has a low latency of less than 18ms. Additionally, it produces two sets of images, one being visible on a TV and one for the headset, and includes 3D audio technology so the player can hear from all angles. The PlayStation VR was released in October 2016.
Released in 2006, the PlayStation Network is an online service focusing on online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery. The service is provided and run by Sony Computer Entertainment for use with the PlayStation 3, and was later implemented on the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 video game consoles. The Sony Entertainment Network provides other features for users like PlayStation Home, PlayStation Store, and Trophies.
The PlayStation Store is an online virtual market available to users of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable game consoles via the PlayStation Network. The store uses both physical currency and PlayStation Network Cards. The PlayStation Store’s gaming content is updated every Tuesday and offers a range of downloadable content both for purchase and available free of charge. Available content includes full games, add-on content, playable demos, themes and game and movie trailers. The service is accessible through an icon on the XMB on the PS3 and PSP. The PS3 store can also be accessed on the PSP via a Remote Play connection to the PS3. The PSP store is also available via the PC application, Media Go.
Life with PlayStation was a Folding@home application available for PlayStation 3 which connected to Stanford University’s Folding@home distributed computer network and allowed the user to donate their console’s spare processing cycles to the project. Folding@home is supported by Stanford University and volunteers make a contribution to society by donating computing power to this project. Research made by the project may eventually contribute to the creation of vital cures. The Folding@home client was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment in collaboration with Stanford University. Life with PlayStation also consisted of a 3D virtual view of the Earth and contained current weather and news information of various cities and countries from around the world, as well as a World Heritage channel which offered information about historical sites, and the United Village channel which is a project designed to share information about communities and cultures worldwide.
PlayStation Blog is an online PlayStation focused gaming blog which is part of the PlayStation Network. It was launched in 2007 and since its launch, has featured in numerous interviews with third-party companies such as Square Enix. It also has posts from high-ranking Sony Computer Entertainment executives such as Jack Tretton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment.
The PlayStation App is an application that was released in 2011 in several European countries for iOS (version 4 and above) and for Android (version 1.6 and above). It allows users to view their trophies, see which of their PSN friends are online and read up to date information about PlayStation. It does not feature any gaming functionality.
The PlayStation Mobile (formerly PlayStation Suite) is a software framework that will be used to provide downloadable PlayStation content to devices running Android 2.3 and above as well as the PlayStation Vita.
PlayStation Now (PS Now) is a Gaikai-based video game streaming service used to provide PlayStation gaming content to PlayStation 3 (PS3), PlayStation 4 (PS4), PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV and BRAVIA televisions. The service currently allows users to pay for access to a selection of original PlayStation 3 titles on either a per-game basis or via a subscription.
PlayStation Home is a community-based social gaming networking service for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network (PSN). It is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar. Membership is free, and only requires a PSN account. Home has been in development since early 2005. Home allows users to create a custom avatar, which can be made to suit the user’s preference. Users can also use Home to connect with friends and customize content. Xi, a once notable feature of Home, is the world’s first console based Alternate Reality Game that took place in secret areas in Home and was created by nDreams.
LiveArea, designed to be used on the PlayStation Vita, is a graphical user interface set to incorporate various social networking features via the PlayStation Network. It has been designed specifically as a touchscreen user interface for users.
In 2002, Sony released the first useful and fully functioning operating system for a video game console, after the Net Yaroze experiment for the original PlayStation. The kit, which included an internal hard disk drive and the necessary software tools, turned the PlayStation 2 into a full-fledged computer system running Linux. Users can utilize a network adapter to connect the PlayStation 2 to the internet, a monitor cable adaptor to connect the PlayStation 2 to computer monitors as well as a USB Keyboard and Mouse which can be used to control Linux on the PlayStation 2.
The PlayStation 3 (excluding PlayStation 3 Slim) also supports running Linux OS on firmwares prior to 3.21 without the need for buying additional hardware purchase. Yellow Dog Linux provides an official distribution that can be downloaded, and other distributions such as Fedora, Gentoo and Ubuntu have been successfully installed and operated on the console The use of Linux on the PlayStation 3 allowed users to access 6 of the 7 Synergistic Processing Elements; Sony implemented a hypervisor restricting access to the RSX. The feature to install a second operating system on a PlayStation 3 was removed in a firmware update released in 2010.
Released in 1994, the PlayStation control pad was the first controller made for the original PlayStation. In 1996, Sony released the PlayStation Analog Joystick for use with flight simulation games. This controller was then also succeeded by the DualShock controller.
Released in 1998, the DualShock controller for the PlayStation succeeded its predecessor, the Dual Analog, and would go on to become the longest running series of controllers for the PlayStation brand.
PlayStation Move is a motion-sensing game controller platform for the PlayStation 3 video game console by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). Based on the handheld motion controller wand, PlayStation Move uses the PlayStation Eye webcam to track the wand’s position and the inertial sensors in the wand to detect its motion.
The PlayStation brand has a wide series of magazines, from across different continents, covering PlayStation related articles and stories. Many of these magazines work closely with Sony and thus often come with demo discs for PlayStation games. PlayStation Underground was a non-traditional magazine that Sony Computer Entertainment America produced and published between Spring 1997 to Spring 2001. Subscribers received two PlayStation CDs, along with a booklet and colorful packaging every quarter. PlayStation Underground CDs are mainly in the hands of collectors these days.