Sony came in like a wrecking ball in the mid-90s giving gaming giants (of the time) Sega and Nintendo a run for their money. The PlayStation One was the first ever optical disc-based 32-bit gaming console to achieve success. But, the best was still to come… In 1999 when Sega launched the first ever 128-bit console dubbed the Dreamcast, Sony was about to unleash its most successful console in history!
Sony realized that in order to compete with ‘the big guns,’ they needed to offer something more than just gaming. The PlayStation One had the ability to play audio CDs and by the time Sega’s Dreamcast was launched, DVDs had entered the market. Since Sony pioneered the technology they felt (rightly so) that they could possibly drive sales of the new format by making it the delivery method for games on the PlayStation 2.
This was a turning point in gaming history. Before, consoles were used primarily for gaming and never intended to be used as ‘media’ players. By offering the ability to watch DVDs the PS2 was able to appeal to a much wider audience. DVDs were also able to carry around six times more data than conventional CDs.
So, the PS2 launched in late 2000 as a competitor to Sega’s Dreamcast. Within the first year of launch it sent the Dreamcast to the grave and Sega shutdown their hardware operations. In May 2002, John Taylor, Managing Director & Analyst for Arcadia Investment was quoted in CNNMoney saying, “Never in history have we seen as many people buy a newly released video game platform at the initial price.”
Even ten years after its launch it was still selling like hotcakes. The PlayStation 2 is today widely regarded as the bestselling console of all time. According to Digital Trends, sales of the console have crossed a staggering 150 million units.
During that time, the PS2 competed with Microsoft’s original Xbox and Nintendo’s GameCube. While both its rivals had better hardware, the PS2 boasted better games. Rockstar introduced its bestselling ‘Grand Theft Auto’ franchise, which remained a PS2 exclusive until the release of ‘Grand Theft Auto San Andreas’. THQ and Yuke’s awesome wrestling series ‘Smackdown’ also remained a Sony exclusive until the release of ‘WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007’ on the Xbox 360. Konami’s ‘Metal Gear Solid’ series were initially exclusive to Sony and on the PS2 we saw the release of one of the most popular entries in the series — ‘Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’.
Other notable exclusive franchises include the blockbuster ‘God of War’, ‘Devil May Cry’, ‘Gran Turismo’, ‘Ratchet and Clank’ and ‘Jak and Daxter’. Even though the PlayStation 2 has since been discontinued, it has a vast library of software to choose from. This is why it appealed to gamers even in the lifetime of the PS3 and Xbox 360.
The way the PS4 has launched and maintained a healthy lead over its competitors with 13.5 million units sold worldwide, it could very well emulate the success of Sony’s second generation juggernaut!