The PlayStation (Japanese: プレイステーション) is a video game console of the 32-bit era, first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid 1990s. The original PlayStation was the first of the PlayStation series of console and hand-held game devices, which has included successor machines including the PSone (a smaller version of the original), PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and the forthcoming PlayStation 3. more...
By June 2005, the PlayStation/PSone had shipped a total of 100 million units, becoming the first home console to ever reach that mark.
Nintendo asked Sony to develop a CD-ROM add-on called "PlayStation" for the SNES. Because Sony wanted 25% of all profits Nintendo earned from sales of this PlayStation and all PlayStation games, after Sony revealed that they were developing it, Nintendo instead went to Philips. This caused Sony to consider abandoning their research, however instead they used what they had developed so far and made it into a full blown console. This led to Nintendo filing a lawsuit claiming breach of contract and attempted, in U.S. federal court, to obtain an injunction against the release of the PlayStation, on the grounds that Nintendo owned the name. The federal judge presiding over the case denied the injunction.
The PlayStation was launched in Japan on December 3, 1994, USA on September 9, 1995 and Europe on September 29, 1995. In America, Sony enjoyed a very successful launch with titles of almost every genre including Toshinden, Twisted Metal, Warhawk, and Ridge Racer. Almost all of Sony's and Namco's launch titles went on to produce numerous sequels.
The console was extremely popular, spawning the so-called "PlayStation Generation". Among many other games, the PlayStation is well known for the Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Tekken, Wipeout, Gran Turismo, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Parasite Eve and Metal Gear Solid series of games. As of May 18, 2004, Sony has shipped 100 million PlayStation and PSone consoles throughout the world. As of March 2004, there were 7,300 software titles available with cumulative software shipment of 949 million. The PlayStation logo was designed by Manabu Sakamoto, who also designed the logo for Sony's VAIO computer products.
On November 30, 1999, the Italian eurodance band Eiffel 65 released an album entitled Europop. Track #6 is a song dedicated to the PlayStation, entitled My Console. Written by the band's DJ Gabry Ponte, the song mentions Tekken, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Gran Turismo, Omega Boost, Bloody Roar and X-Files, in that order. Although this part is somewhat difficult to understand, they also refer to Ridge Racer and Odd World, seconds before spelling out the word "PlayStation."
The first new version was actually a revision in early 1996, produced in response to complaints that Playstations were overheating. Sony did not change the technical aspects or the cosmetics, but did remove the S-video port left over from the Japanese release.
Sony produced a redesigned version of the original console, called the "PSone", in a smaller (and more ergonomic) case which was introduced in September 2000. The original PlayStation was abbreviated in Japan to "PS" and was often abbreviated as "PSX" by American gamers, as this was Sony's internal code name for the system while it was under development. This led to some confusion in 2003, when Sony introduced a PS2-derived system in Japan actually called the PSX. The PlayStation is now officially abbreviated as the "PS1" or "PSone," although many people still abbreviate it "PS" or "PSX". There are no hardware differences between the "PSone" and the original, except for a cosmetic change to the console.
A version of the PlayStation called the Net Yaroze was also produced. It was more expensive than the original PlayStation, coloured black instead of the usual gray, and most importantly, came with tools and instructions that allowed a user to be able to program PlayStation games and applications without the need for a full developer suite, which cost many times the amount of a PlayStation and was only available to approved video game developers. Naturally, the Net Yaroze lacked many of the features the full developer suite provided. It was unique in that it was the only officially retailed Sony PlayStation with no regional lockout; it would play games from any territory.
Another version that was colored blue (as opposed to regular console units that were gray in color) was available to game developers and select press. It had twice the main RAM size (4 megabytes instead of 2 megabytes) and a CD-ROM emulator board connected to a PC. It was also able to run in-development games which lacked region coding (which would be rejected by a normal PlayStation as though they were pirated copies). A few of these units eventually appeared for sale through somewhat dubious channels at high prices.
The installation of a modchip allows the PlayStation's capabilities to be expanded. This allows unauthorized copies of games to be played, but it also allows the playing of games from other regions, such as PAL titles on a NTSC console. Since modchips allow playing games recorded on a regular CD-ROM, it created a wave of games developed without official Sony approval, using free GNU compiler tools.
Sony's successor to the PlayStation is the PlayStation 2, which is backward compatible with its predecessor, in the sense that it can play almost every PlayStation game. This was done by embedding the most important parts of the PSone inside the PlayStation 2 design. Unlike emulators that run on the PC, the Playstation 2 actually contains the original Playstation processor, allowing games to run exactly as they do on the Playstation. For Playstation 2 games this processor, called the IOP, is used for input and output (memory cards, DVD drive, network, and harddrive). Like its predecessor, the PlayStation 2 is based on hardware developed by Sony themselves.
The next generation of the PlayStation is known as PlayStation 3, or PS3, and due to be launched in 2006. Sony has stated the PS3 will also be backward compatible with all games that were originally made for PlayStation as well as the PlayStation 2.
Read more at Wikipedia.org