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. As of June 2005 the PlayStation and PSone shipped a total of 100 million units
Nintendo asked Sony to develop a CD-ROM add-on called "PlayStation" for the SNES. However 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 make 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, and Metal Gear Solid series of games. As of 18 May 2004, Sony has shipped 100 million PlayStation and PS one 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."
Sony produced a redesigned version of the original console, called the "PS One", 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 "PS one," although many people still abbreviate it "PS" or "PSX". There are no hardware differences between the "PS One" 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 double 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 pirate copies). A few of these units eventually appeared for sale through somewhat dubious channels at high prices.
The installation of a modchip allows 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 PS one 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 PlayStation 2.
The PlayStation Portable (abbreviated PSP) is a handheld game console first released in late 2004. Despite the name, it is not compatible with PlayStation games; it only runs games developed specifically for the PSP on Universal Media Disc.
The success of the Playstation (which uses CD ROMs) most likely lead to the eventual demise of cartridge based home gaming consoles. Nintendo abandoned cartridge technology on TV consoles after the Nintendo 64.
On the tenth anniversary of the Playstation, Sony Italy released an ad which outraged the Vatican. An ad showed a man, which seems to be Jesus, smiling towards the camera, wearing a Crown of Thorns made of the Playstation button symbols (Square, X, O, Triangle). At the bottom, it said (in Italian): "Ten Years of Passion." This outraged the Vatican. After the incident, Sony decided to take back all the ads and discontinue the printing.
Many consumers also were not happy that the Playstation's laser track, which allowed the laser to move back and forth as it looked for data off the cd, would burn out easily if used extensively over time. This caused many people to start experiencing longer loading times, and other loading problems. Users remedied this by flipping the Playstation up vertically, making the laser access data from the opposite track. Although this proved a temporary solution, the opposite track too would burn out, which usually meant it had to be replaced. Several consumers were forced to buy multiple Playstations to replace broken ones due to this problem.
- Operating Performance of 30 MIPS
- Bus Bandwidth 132 Mbit/s
- Instruction Cache 4 kB
- Data Cache 1 kB (non associative, just 1024 bytes of mapped fast SRAM)
Geometry Transformation Engine
- Operating Performance of 66 MIPS
- 360,000 Flat-Shaded Polygons per second
- 180,000 texture mapped and light-sourced polygons per second
Sony originally gave the polygon count as:
- 1.5 million flat-shaded polygons per second
- 500,000 texture mapped and light-sourced polygons per second
These figures were given as a ballpark figure for performance under optimal circumstances, and so are unrealistic under normal usage.
Data Decompression Engine
This engine is also inside the main CPU. It is responsible for decompressing images and video. Documented device mode is to read three RLE-encoded 16×16 macroblocks, run IDCT and assemble a single 16×16 RGB macroblock. Output data may be transferred directly to GPU via DMA. It is possible to overwrite IDCT matrix and some additional parameters, however MDEC internal instruction set was never documented.
- Compatible with MPEG-1 and H.261 files
- Operating Performance of 80 MIPS
- Directly connected to CPU Bus
Graphics Processing Unit
This chip is separate to the CPU and handles all the 2D Graphics processing, which includes the transformed 3D polygons.
- Maximum of 16.7 Million Colours
- Resolutions from 256×224 to 640×480
- Adjustable frame buffer
- Unlimited Colour Lookup Tables
- Maximum of 4000 8×8 pixel sprites with individual scaling and rotation
- Emulation of simultaneous backgrounds (for parallax scrolling)
- Flat or Gouraud shading, and texture mapping
Sound Processing Unit
- Can handle ADPCM sources with up to 24 channels and up to 44.1 kHz sampling rate
- Could perform digital effects including:
- Could handle up to 512 Mbit of sampled waveforms
- Supports MIDI instruments
- PC file name format: .PSF
- Main RAM: 2 Megabytes (4 Megabytes on "Blue" development console)
- Video RAM: 1 Megabyte
- Sound RAM: 512 Kilobytes
- CD-Rom Buffer: 32 Kilobytes
- Operating System ROM: 512 Kilobytes
- PlayStation Memory Cards have 128 Kilobytes of space in an EEPROM
- Originally Single Speed, later replaced with a Two Speed drive, with a maximum data throughput of 300 KB/s
- XA Compliant
- List of PlayStation games
- Nintendo 64
- PlayStation 2
- PlayStation Sound Format
- 32-bit era
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation Portable
- Online Playstation Game frequency guide
- Unofficial Sony PlayStation FAQ by James Dunford
- Game Infowire story on 100 million shipments
- PS Galleria Oldest PlayStation fan-site
- Playstation-Racing - A fan site dedicated to the racing game genre on the PlayStation Consoles
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