A near miss: Sony’s original PlayStation launched in Japan on December 3, 1994 – exactly 25 years ago today. The Japanese electronics giant’s debut console was a smash hit that propelled Sony to major player status in the video game industry but it almost didn’t happen at all.
Nintendo in the late 1980s reached out to Sony to build a CD-ROM accessory for its upcoming Super Nintendo Entertainment System as well as a standalone device called the Play Station that could play both SNES cartridges and optical discs. A licensing dispute between the two companies eventually unraveled the partnership.
Rather than scrap the project, Sony continued to develop the system. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Sony PlayStation wouldn’t make it to North American shores for another nine months – on September 9, 1995. By the time it arrived, Sony had a decent lineup of launch titles in tow including Twisted Metal, Ridge Racer, ESPN Extreme Games and NBA JAM Tournament Edition, just to name a few.
Sony ultimately sold more than 102 million PlayStation consoles, good enough for fifth place in the list of best-selling consoles of all time. The company parlayed its success with the original PS into multiple follow-ups and can now lay claim to three of the top five best-selling game consoles ever released.
Masthead credit: PlayStation 1 by Anthony McLaughlin