The internet might offer you information in abundance, something you could never have found just over two decades ago, but as there’s just so much to find here on the internet, you most likely haven’t spent most of your time digging up information about Sony’s PlayStation’s history. The console brand has been around for twenty-four years as of 2018, and will naturally be celebrating its quarter century anniversary next year.
Sony’s crafted a rich legacy for the PlayStation brand, one that will never be tarnished; or so one might think. The truth is, the PS brand’s seen its fair share of controversies and tough times. It might not seem like it in today’s environment, where the PS4 is the undisputed king of all consoles, but just about a decade ago it was trying times indeed for Sony.
PlayStation has met with several ups and downs in its long lifespan, and in its own way, it’s a success story that inspiration can definitely be drawn from. After all, the story’s got everything you want: drama, intense battles, betrayal, rivalry, and a winning ending (at least for the time being).
Along with all the things you don’t know about the PlayStation’s history, there are several features regarding the consoles that you should know about. While these features are generally announced to the world at large; over time, they tend to get lost in the mix and you just might be pleasantly surprised to find an interesting option you haven’t made use out of yet.
Here are 25 things about the PlayStation fans totally missed.
25 Partnership With Nintendo
Originally, Sony had no intention of releasing the PlayStation as a separate console. It was a project to design an add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the form of a CD-ROM.
Talks broke down when Nintendo canceled the deal.
Once it seemed most likely that the PlayStation add-on wouldn't be going forward, and was about to be shelved, Kent Kutaragi-known now as "The Father of the PlayStation"-pressed on for Sony to complete the project by developing it into a console of its own. The deal between Nintendo and Sony broke down due to Nintendo wanting full rights, and looking to keep Sony in a “non-gaming” role.
24 PlayStation Was The First 100 Million Console
It took 9 years and 6 months, but after that nearly decade’s time, the PlayStation 1 became the first home console to reach the 100 million units sold mark. It was a remarkable achievement, something that's still coveted even in this day and age.
When Sony had released the PlayStation, it was entering a market dominated for years by Nintendo and Sega. For them to usurp these competitors and reach a milestone neither had achieved before was a feat that should be recounted in the continuing history of consoles. The sales numbers achieved by the PS1 is such that in the all-time consoles sales list, it stands on the fourth position.
23 PS Home Never Got Past Beta Stage
The PlayStation Home was an interactive gaming environment launched by Sony on the PS3 back in 2008 in an attempt to make the system more engaging for its user base. At a time when social media hadn’t erupted into the monster it is today, Sony tried to fashion an atmosphere for gamers where they could stay up-to-date with the latest announcements by the company for the PS3.
It was a good attempt but never got past the initial stages.
The PS Home launched as an open beta so as to give users a taste of what was to come. By 2015, it had remained that way and ultimately closed with the full version never released.
22 Metal Gear Solid 4 Could Only Run On PS3
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was a sure-fire system seller for the PS3, and Microsoft fans wanted a piece of the action. Seeing that Microsoft had been successful in acquiring just about every formerly PS-exclusive franchise (read on lower the list for more on that), Metal Gear also seemed to be on its way.
However, series director Hideo Kojima flatly denied this repeatedly, citing the Xbox 360’s inability to handle a game the size of MGS4 and assured fans on the PlayStation that the game would remain a PS3 exclusive. Over a decade later, Kojima’s kept his promise.
21 Login Facial Recognition On PS4
The PS4’s brought with it some cool features to get in with the hip times of gadgetry. As we’ve become lazier as a society, it just seems too much work for many people to log in manually into their PS4s; to combat this, the system is built in with a feature that allows the owner to log in with facial recognition.
These methods are generally another way for companies to earn more money out of the customers, but if you’re willing to pay, then what’s stopping you from purchasing it? Once you’ve got the camera, mount the device to the console, head on over to the settings and you’ll find the Facial Recognition option.
20 PS2 Is The Highest-Selling Console Ever
The PS1 may have been the first console to break the 100 million mark, but its successor did one better and became the first to cross the 150 million barrier! The PS2 was a runaway success, with the next best selling console, the Xbox, being a distant second at 24 million units sold.
Its success might never be replicated or bettered.
No home console as ever come slightly close to the sales the PS2 has achieved, and it seems increasingly unlikely if one ever will. As of its final unit manufactured, the PlayStation 2 had exceeded worldwide sales of 155 million. The console truly was unbreakable and has paved the way for dozens of video game franchises.
19 All Consoles Have Been Market Leaders (Except PS3)
Now it’s time for you to know that the PS home consoles as a whole have tasted the top status in the market.
That is, if you’re willing to disregard the PS3. The third iteration of the PS home console brand was a big success-you can’t ignore 84 million consoles sold-but it wasn’t the market leader every other PS home console has been. The PS3, in fact, tied with the Xbox 360 behind the Wii when all was said and done in the 7th generation of consoles. The PS4 has retaken the top position now and leads the 8th generation.
18 The PS3 Was Sold At A Loss
The media was firmly anti-Sony back in 2006. With the announcement that the PS3 would be valued at $599, it was perceived as arrogance on Sony’s part to expect consumers to fork out that much cash for a video game console; however, this price was more out of necessity as the PS3 was sending back Sony hugely in terms of cost and profit.
A single 600 GB PS3 unit had cost about $840 to manufacture! This meant Sony was losing around $250 with each unit sold. The PS3 caused Sony to lose billions in sales as the company had designed the system to support the expensive Blu-Ray hardware.
17 The PSP Is The Highest Non-Nintendo Handheld Seller
Microsoft hadn’t seen much success with the Zune, and due to this, the corporation hadn’t taken a chance in the handheld field. However, both Sony and Nintendo were hot in action.
The PSP had a superb suite of games that enabled it to be a success.
While Nintendo’s DS ultimately was so successful it ended only a million units short of breaking PS2’s record, the PSP has the honor of being the highest selling non-Nintendo handheld console. A remarkable achievement given Nintendo’s strong grip in this market.
16 Xbox 360 Nabbed Majority Of PS Exclusives
In what turned out to be a blessing in disguise, a decade ago the Xbox 360 capitalized on an early release by wresting just about every third-party exclusive franchise the PS brand had. Games like Tekken, Final Fantasy, Virtua Fighter, Devil May Cry, Grand Theft Auto and a whole lot more saw simultaneous releases on the Xbox 360.
With the Xbox 360 being cheaper in price, and these games shown to have better performance on that console than the PS3, Microsoft gained an advantage over Sony and saw Xbox 360 lead in sales.
15 PS3 Originally Didn't Have Rumble
The image of the PS3 wasn’t going great when it was released. Along with a number of flops from Sony’s part, the console had some mechanics removed in order to make it cheaper to manufacture. This also required some pretending on Sony’s part by feigning lack of interest in the rumble function.
Controller rumbles are a necessity for gamers.
Playing action games, or even other genres like racing, has made it second nature for the controller to rumble and give you the feeling that you’re in the thick of it. Sony, however, didn’t feature the rumble option initially in the PS3’s Sixaxis controller, calling it outdated. Fans disagreed, and after some time ignoring these pleas, Sony finally added this feature for PS3 controllers.
14 PS4 Is The Fastest-Selling Console Within 24 hours
The PS brand holds its fair share of records when it comes to sales figures. The PS3 turned the tide in its favor near the end of its lifecycle and by that point, a lot of goodwill was toward the brand. The PS3 capitalized on this, and a number of mistakes of Microsoft’s part for the Xbox One, and launched with a gargantuan reception.
With 1 million units sold within the first day of release, it was the fastest-selling console released in history. The PS4 tore down all competing consoles within this timespan, and the momentum carried from that first day of launch sales has carried forward five years later as well.
13 PS3 Launch Day Madness
Although the PS3’s reputation may not have been the best around launch time, it still carried the might of the PS brand. Things went crazy on the day of release in the United States with multiple cases of violence reported. The first day sales were reported to be 81,639 in Japan; however, US customers were far too impatient to show much civility as bad incidents broke out.
One involved robbers holding victims at gunpoint, after the poor people had camped out stores for hours to purchase their PS3’s. Even worse was when impatient customers fired BB pellets to remove competition from their path and get their hands on a PS3 unit first.
12 PS3 Supercomputer
It’s not just talk when it comes to the power of the PS3 processing system. The console was used to build a supercomputer for satellite imagery in 2007. About 1,760 units were put together for the US department of defense.
The supercomputer was the 33rd largest in the world.
Units weren’t purchased from the local Walmart or any other stores but were provided by Sony itself. The supercomputer ran at a flawless pace and was credited for its power, thanks to the processing system of the PlayStation. The computer was capable of performing 500 trillion floating-point operations per second. We’re no computer whizzes, but that sounds pretty darn impressive.
11 PS3's Boomerang Controller
There are some things that look bad, but when you’re denied any chance of experiencing them you feel it as a shame. The boomerang Sixaxis controller of the PS3 definitely qualifies for this. The controller was hyped before launch and was displayed in all promotional events.
The Sixaxis features were ahead of its time.
Functions like motion sensing during gameplay felt lame then, but have been incorporated in other gadgetry as the years have gone by. The boomerang controller was designed to make the motion sensor capabilities of the Sixaxis easier; however, after negative reception toward its perceived uncomfortable handling, the controller was scrapped in favor of the Dualshock 3.
10 Activision Threatened To Stop Supporting The PS3
Bobby Kotick is seen as one of the evil figures by the gaming community. The millionaire doesn’t evoke a gamer personality and usually chases the big bucks. The PlayStation 3 was notably difficult to support for third-party companies back in 2009, as the system was expensive and difficult to accommodate software with.
The head of Activision, our friend Bobby here, threatened to pull support for the platform entirely if Sony didn’t lower the price of the PS3. At the time, the Call of Duty games were all the rage and the possibility that the series could become exclusive to the Xbox platform might have meant curtains for the PS3. However, Kotick was criticized by many industry professionals for his statement.
9 Gabe Newell Wasn’t A Fan
Another leading figure in the gaming industry made some colorful remarks about the PS3, with these being more attacking statements than Kotick’s. Gabe Newell made several criticisms for the system and even suggested Sony scrap the PS3 altogether and start over. Newell may have been overreacting as the PS3 went on to sell over 84 million units worldwide, but at the time he pulled no punches.
The Orange Box was noticeably terrible on the PS3, and Newell was entirely unapologetic for these drawbacks. However, Newell did retract many of his statements in the future when he was seen in Sony’s E3 conference and promised that the superior version of Portal 2 would be available for the PlayStation 3.
8 PS3's Reported Failure Rate
With both Sony and Microsoft eager to set their feet into the 7th generation of video game consoles, a lot of the production process for the Xbox 360 and PS3 was rushed. The Xbox 360 in particular suffered from the ‘Red Ring of Death’, better known as the RROD. Meanwhile, the PS3 also had a marginal failure of its own, clocking in a 10% breakage for all systems sold.
This was nowhere near the awful 23.7% of the Xbox 360, but 10% of failed systems isn’t exactly something to write home about, either. With several revisions in the production cycle, the PS3’s failure rate was brought down drastically.
7 Kevin Butler Marketing Campaign
Part of the turnaround in brand perceived value for the PlayStation came in 2010, when Sony launched the ‘It only does Everything’ marketing campaign. This involved making several skits that showed the PS3 could do pretty much everything you wanted. The campaign was made famous thanks to the breakout character Kevin Butler.
This guy was the VP of everything you could think of.
The Kevin Butler skits proved extremely popular, with the PS brand value experiencing a soar in demand. Unfortunately, the actor portraying Butler was hit with a lawsuit by Sony itself after he appeared in an advertisement endorsing products by Nintendo.
6 The Original PS Mascot
Those old enough to remember when the original PlayStation was released in the United States in 1995 will recall this floating head in advertisements. Polygon Man, as was his name, was the official mascot of the PS brand in the west and headed most of the promotional material.
However, given the fact that he might scare the life out of little children, PlayStation head Ken Kutaragi was livid with the design of Polygon Man and ordered the mascot to be taken to the back and shot into obscurity. It worked for the better part of two decades until the character resurfaced in 2012 as a villain in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
5 PS3's Rebranding
As part of the initiative taken by Sony to distance itself from the negative publicity the PS brand had received due to PS3’s botched launch, the company looked to right several wrongs by changing the style with which the brand had been presented till that point.
This meant coming up with a new visual representation for the PS3.
The PS3 slim model was released by the holiday season, and to ensure the new style was ingrained within fans, a new font was made and plastered over sales units. Thereafter, all hardware and software for the PS brand carried this font style.
4 Logo Concepts For The Original PlayStation
For a product to be successful, it needs to have the proper branding that consumers will identify it with. Logos go a long way in order to achieve this. The best companies in the world have crisp, recognizable logos that are only changed when signaling a definite shift. The PS logo has largely remained the same, except on a few occasions when the time calls for it.
The original PlayStation needed to set the idea for the console, and understandably, there were dozens of concepts that saw the revision process. As can be seen in the above compilation, the final logo was at the tip of the designer’s imagination, it just needed to be tinkered with to get it right.
3 Memory Card Shortage Of The PS2
When things are going exceptionally great, it can even blindside the manufacturers of these products. A well-paid team is put up to forecast the number of units a product will sell and based on this the product is launched. But maybe even the best forecasters never predicted the PS2 to be such a massive hit, and memory cards for the system were in short supply for a time.
Nowadays, every system comes with a built-in memory storage, but back in the old days, you needed to purchase an 8 MB memory card if you wanted to save your games. Fortunately, Sony fixed this problem quick.
2 PS3 Font Was The Same As Spider-Man's
It’s no coincidence the font you see for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films is the very same that was used for the PlayStation 3 back in 2006-09. The reason to use a film’s font for a gaming system’s was simple; the film was ridiculously popular.
Spider-Man 3 made over $890 million worldwide.
Associating the font of one popular product with another is something that has worked well in the past, and the PS3 was launched around the same time Spider-Man 3 was. Back then, the Spider-Man films were the most popular superhero movies being released, and the goodwill for both these Sony owned IPs was hoped to be shared with each other.
1 The PS2 Towers
It’s odd, but many children were afraid of the PS2 intro; the one you got straight after turning on the system. The circulating fog was seen for a few seconds before the player was pulled into a chasm and shown the PS2 logo. However, this fog differed for many people.
The reason for this was due to the memory card inserted with the system at the time. The towers seen in the fog could be innumerable had the player saved a whole bunch of games in the card. If there was no card inserted at all, there would be no towers seen for the player.