Which generation of PlayStation is your favourite?
In roughly 24 years, Sony has overtaken the market as the #1 console seller. The numbers prove that since 1994, the Japanese company knows how to keep gamers invested in the platform and offers some of the best games to date. We’ve seen four home consoles, two portable devices and a few odds and ends that never really stuck.
According to records, the original console launched in December 1994 in Japan and went on to sell over 100 million units within a decade. The PlayStation’s successor, PlayStation 2, launched in March 2000 and went on to sell over 100 million units by 2005, and eventually over 155 million units by December 2012. In November 2006, Sony released the PlayStation 3, which was mired with issues in production costs, and an evolving market. Eventually, the console would turn a profit for Sony and would sell around 87.40 million units between launch and March 2017. Current generation PlayStation 4 launched in November 2013 and saw Sony return to the first position as leaders in the industry. As of July 2019, the console shipped 100 million units around the globe, and last week saw the number rise again to 102.5 million units sold.
On the handheld side, Sony introduced the PlayStation Portable in December 2004, which sold roughly 76.3 million units by March 2012, eventually going on to sell 82 million units by the end of its lifecycle. Sony also knew how popular the device was, as between 2006 and 2010, the device sold 53 million units. With such a popular handheld device in their portfolio, Sony knew a successor was necessary. So, they introduced the PlayStation Vita in December 2011, which, unfortunately, was not the sales juggernaut its predecessor was. See, the Vita was powerful and had excellent first-party support but the framework for the Vita wasn’t enough to entice others to develop games for the Vita. By the end of 2012, Sony stopped releasing sales figures, which was around 4 million units at the time. By September 2018, an estimated 16 million units were sold.
Each console generation varies in terms of games and features. We as gamers, have had some experience within the PlayStation ecosystem and hopefully have some good memories from our times with them.
For me, I was lucky enough to start at the beginning. I received my first PlayStation console in 1996 and played the demo discs until receiving my first games: Gex and International Track and Field. It wasn’t until 1997 that some of the most iconic games of all-time were released, like Final Fantasy VII, Jet Moto, Mega Man 8, to name a few. I have a ton of memories playing these titles, as well as Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Star Ocean 2, Mega Man Legends and Mega Man Legends 2, as well as The Legend of Dragoon and Final Fantasy Tactics.
This was the generation the shaped my tastes for the next generation, which to many, was easily the most influential time in their lives.
PlayStation 2 was one of the hottest consoles you could own. I remember finding the console hidden away in my parent’s bedroom with a copy of Grand Theft Auto 3 and Final Fantasy X, a gift supposedly meant for Christmas. I spent those entire two weeks immersed in Final Fantasy X, spending hours exploring the world of Spira. I sunk well over 100 hours making sure everything I did was right, earning the best weapons and putting together the best Blitzball team.
As the years went on, the PlayStation 2 introduced us to other iconic franchises: God of War, Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter, Devil May Cry, Kingdom Hearts, Okami and Sly Cooper to name a few. We got some of the best Need for Speed games, the best of Smackdown, the best Dragon Ball Z titles. Bully, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Persona 3 and Persona 4. The list goes on and on, and it feels like the offerings here have yet to be rivalled in the following generations.
Granted, newer generation console games require more development time these days, but back then things were vastly different.
The PlayStation 2 had an insane library and offered the most variety, you could head to Blockbuster and walk out with at least two games that piqued your interest. My money went towards building a library of video games in that era, scouring EB Games, Blockbuster and anywhere else I could find video games. Digital media picked up with the next generation and so, my days of physical collections stagnated.
I kept my distance from the PlayStation 3 for the first few years. It wasn’t until Sony revealed a PlayStation 3 Slim in 2009 and a price cut that I picked up a console and Little Big Planet 2. From there I dived right in, picking up Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed II, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Demon’s Souls to start my collection. As time went on, Sony’s exclusives grew including Journey, The Last of Us, Killzone, and Resistance to name a few titles.
I adored my PlayStation 3 for its offerings, but the titles were still nowhere near as intriguing the PlayStation 2 catalogue.
Along came the PlayStation 4, an eighth-generation console and as of 2019, the second best-selling console of all time. As such, that means the popularity behind Sony’s current console means that the offerings this generation are as important as the PlayStation 2? Let’s take a look at the library.
In 2013, at launch, Sony released Killzone Shadow Fall, Knack, and Resogun. It would take a few years, but exclusives rolled in at an exciting pace, including Bloodborne, The Last Guardian, Driveclub, Until Dawn, inFamous: Second Son, Ratchet and Clank, and that’s only a fraction of the exclusives Sony’s console offers. We haven’t mentioned massive hits like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Uncharted 4 – titles that define the eighth generation and set Sony at the forefront of amazing games.
I’ve had a hard time deciding which generation I find to be my favourite or most important simply because each iteration offers a unique, and expansive library of games to consumers. I have such fond memories with each console around certain times of my life, all intrinsically linked to happy memories and their own stories.
When I was 13, I remember playing Final Fantasy IX during my Christmas break before sledding with my friends, or when I was 18, on an exam night playing Godhand to alleviate my stress of studying. PlayStation 3 got me through college and introduced me to Nathan Drake, the world of Boletaria and finally, PlayStation 4 came into my life when I was an adult and revitalized my love of Kratos.
I’ll never be able to pick a favourite PlayStation console.