Sony has announced plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation in style, with a limited-edition version of its latest PlayStation 4 console featuring a classic grey finish.
Sony's entry into the video games market is the stuff of legend. The company had originally planned to launch a CD-ROM-based console in partnership with Nintendo, but the company pulled out at the last minute in initially in favour of a partnership with Philips then to abandon the project altogether for home-brew cartridge-based designs. Humiliated, Sony's Ken Kutaragi - who only one day before Nintendo's reversal had shown off a Super Famicom with CD-ROM at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991 and who had fully expected the company to announce its partnership with Sony the next day, only to hear the name Philips announced from his position in the audience at Nintendo's CES press conference - initially approached Nintendo's arch-rival Sega to continue the project, but once rejected convinced Sony to forge ahead with the project alone.
Sony Computer Entertainment Incorporated (SCEI) was formed in 1993, and its first product would launch in Japan on this day in 1994: the PlayStation. Based on CD-ROM storage rather than the traditional cartridge ROMs of earlier consoles, the fifth-generation unit proved a massive hit for the company, selling more than 120 million units over its lifespan. Although its grey finish was far from exciting - with Sony switching to black for its successor, the PlayStation 2 - the game's impressive 3D capabilities and large storage capacity coupled with a clever marketing platform in the west that positioned the console as being for hip young things with a focus on rave and punk culture. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, 20 years on, Sony is celebrating its gaming origins with a run of 12,300 limited-edition PlayStation 4 consoles finished in classic PlayStation grey with embossed PlayStation sigils. Packed in a bundle with matching controller and camera, the limited edition units are to launch soon priced at €499.
'Sony Computer Entertainment, founded by my mentor Ken Kutaragi, was a project borne out of sincere passion and deep admiration for the craft of game development,
' claimed Sony's Shuhei Yoshida in an announcement
this morning. 'The mid ’90s were an exciting time for game developers, driven by the explosion of powerful but affordable 3D graphics rendering hardware and the birth of many young and adventurous development studios. The original PlayStation was meant to embody that sense of adventure and discovery, that sense that anything was possible.
A video of the limited edition PS4, which will not be available through normal retail channels, is reproduced below.