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Forums - Sony Discussion - Why was the PS1 so successful despite being a newcomer?

The PS1, despite being Sony's first foray in the video game industry sold an amazing 102.5 Million Units and is still the 5th best-selling console of all time and 3rd best selling home console of all time. 

To me looking back it seems surprising to me that the PS1 did as successful as it did being Sony's first time in the video game business and pretty much killed the huge console brand Nintendo at the time beating the N64's 33M with the PS1's 102M. Nintendo was so big at the time to the point where video games were just referred to as a "Nintendo" from what I heard and for Sony to just easily take that throne from Nintendo seems quite amazing to me even to this day.

To those who lived and experienced the 90s, when did you first hear about PlayStation and what made you immediately trust Sony with the PS1 enough to buy one? And did you skip out on the N64 for the PS1? What do you think made PS1 so successful to beat out the well known and dominant Nintendo brand at the time?

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N64 had limited space on carts plus NOA policies were shit. SEGA Saturn was expensive and had a very difficult hardware to develop on. Sony's machine was easy to program for. Cheaper than Saturn. Killed SEGA at E3 with the infamous $299 after SEGA announced Saturn was $400 and launching the day they announced it pissing off retailers. 3rd parties (esp key ones like Square from Nintendo) flocked to PS1 for these reasons and more. Sony took advantage with better marketing and the fuck ups of Nintendo and SEGA.

Sony wasn't new to gaming either. They worked with Nintendo on the SNES Soundchip and the canceled CD addon. They worked with SEGA on SEGA CD games and for a brief moment were going to work together on the Saturn.

Last edited by Leynos - on 18 November 2020

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

Final Fantasy VII

Being a newcomer isn't really a disadvantage. Nintendo took over the North American console market with the NES as a newcomer.

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SEGA, MS, Nintendo, and Sony all had some gaming experience before becoming console makers. SEGA with Arcades. Nintendo with Pong machines, Game & Watch, and Arcades. Sony worked with SEGA and Nintendo on games and hardware. Microsoft had the MSX in the 80s and PC gaming. So none were new to the industry. They had an idea of what to deal with going in.

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

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All the reasons pointed above + the late market arrival of the N64. PS1 had already won mindshare and marketshare by the time the N64 released.Gaining support by tons of 3rd party devs isn't too shabby either. Also the CD support felt probably less cumbersome for people than havingto store cartridges somewhere.

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Because of the cartridge choice over CD. 

Price of games. Most ps1 titles were $40-$50 while N64 were $60-$70. Big difference.

In addition to that many third parties migrated to Sony over Nintendo due to format differences.  The SNES had excellent Square Soft, Capcom, Konami, etc. support.  But the N64 lost all that.  Had the N64 been disk based, I don't think Sony would be who they are today.  It was a massive mistake by Nintendo.

Last edited by Chrkeller - on 18 November 2020

I also think the PS1 was seen as the more mature console. The same thing that helped the Genesis at first. But unlike the Genesis, the PS1 didnt have to compete with a console like the Super Nintendo. Plus many of the reasons listed by others here.

Hynad said:
Final Fantasy VII

I don't think this can be overstated. And it's not because it was a sequel to Final Fantasy games.  I barely knew anything about the FF series.  This game was phenomenal, it was cinematic, it was heart pumping glorious art.  Few games can reach the level this title did, even to this day.  And there is a cinematic in this game that rivals the emotional feeling of all videogames and most movies.  It's just that good.  I think for some folks who maybe entered the gaming scene after this, in let's say the PS2 era or later, that the blockiness of the game can leave people wondering "how?" But at the time it was revolutionary, there was nothing like it, and it was an instant system seller.

"Final Fantasy 7 was the rare game that exceeded all expectations. Its release coincided with growing awareness of Japan’s pop culture, particularly anime. As a cyberpunk story about personal delusions, mental illness, climate change and class warfare, it was Blade Runner for millennials. It single-handedly put role-playing video games on the global map. Moreover, it helped the Walkman company rebrand into a gaming titan."

Hynad said:
Final Fantasy VII


To add a bit, FFVII is also a bit of a poster boy for the fact that third party on masse went to PlayStation for a variety of reasons, which gave it a massive edge over Nintendo. It's quite simple.