The PlayStation is a successful line of video game consoles introduced by Sony in December 1994. The PlayStation line has spawned three consoles, a media center, a portable device, an online service, and an official magazine. The first PlayStation console was the first video game console to ship 100 million units, a feat that took nine years and six months. This record was eclipsed by the second generation of the PlayStation which sold over 140 million consoles. On November 11, 2006 Sony released the third version of it’s successful PlayStation console.

The first PlayStation console, also known as the PSone, was released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and in North America on September 9, 1995. The PSone was part of the fifth generation of video games, and competed against the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64. The made an important change in the video game world. Although it was not the first console to use CD’s, it was the first system to implement them with success and ended the use of cartridges in home video game consoles. Another advancement that the PSone brought to video games was the use of dual analog joysticks on a controller. This would give players a huge advantage in games that were three dimensional. One analog stick would be used to move the character while the other one would be used to look around the world.

In 2000 Sony released it’s successor to the PlayStation, the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2, or PS2, was released to compete with the consoles released in the sixth generation of video game consoles. The PS2 is the best selling console ever released selling over 140 million consoles. Sony noted that with the constant demand for the PS2 and developers still making games, it will continued to be produced. Originally plagued with manufacturing issues when it was released, it still sold well due to the strength of the original PlayStation brand name. Another major selling point that Sony focused on was the ability of the PS2 to play any original PlayStation game.In 2002 Sony released a network adaptor for the PS2. This would become a major selling point for Sony, often times showing off the numerous games that could be played with friends over the Internet. Late in September 2004, Sony made another announcement in regard to the PS2 console. Announced and released in time for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Sony released a slimmer version of the PS2, and stopped producing the older models.

2006 saw the release of the third and newest version of the PlayStation. Named the PlayStation 3, or PS3, it was released on November 11, 2006 to compete with Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. One major addition to the PlayStation line was the addition of the PlayStation Network. This allowed for Internet integration with games, movies, and other applications on the console. The PlayStation 3 was the first console from Sony that was offered in two different models at launch. Although both models could do the same thing there were a few differences between the two. The first model was the basic model and came with a 20 GB hard drive. The other model offered cost one hundred dollars more than the $499 basic model. This console featured a 60 GB hard drive, HDMI port for high definition televisions, Wi-Fi internet, a clash card reader, and the console had a silver trim.

Sony had a successful launch of the PS3, however Europe and Oceania saw a shortage of consoles due to a lack of parts available to manufacture the Blu-ray Disc drive. Along with the Blu-ray Disc drive the PS3 had many other impressive technological components. The processor used by the PS3 was developed jointly by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM. Named the Cell microprocessor, it is considered to be one of the most powerful processors available. Due to the power of the Cell processor, many institutions began to build supercomputers by using the combined power of many PlayStations 3’s working together. This was made possible by Sony releasing Linux, a free open-source operating system, designed specifically to run on the PS3.

The final notable component to the PlayStation family is the PlayStation Portable, or PSP. Released in 2005, the PSP was Sony’s first attempt at a hand held console. It used a proprietary disc known as the Universal Media Disc(UMB) which are used for both games and movies. The PSP featured a control layout that was similar to the control used for the console.

By releasing the PlayStation family, and taking the time to make sure that the current console’s released live up to gamers standards, Sony has created one of their most successful and recognized product. After three iterations of the PlayStation line, it is exciting to think about what changes will come with the next release.