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

PS1 sold a lot in third world countries because of cheap pirated games. In the Philippines, you could buy a PS1 console in cheap electronic shops and PS1 games for 50 pesos (around $1.25 that time). PS1 could not have achieved its 100M+ milestone without these pirated games.



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A bunch of reasons:

1) Sony were big in electronics and the PS1 offered a CD player as well a console from a world class brand. Sony has the best TVs, Laptops, headphones and walkmen.

2) The PS1 hit kinda at the peak of the arcade scene where you had street Fighter, Tekken, Time Crisis etc and it offered the arcade magic at home from light gun games, racers, beat em ups and dance mat games.

3) it was cheap

4) it had better tech than the N64 and the Saturn couldn't compete with soul caliber, ridge Racer, time crisis etc. Whether it was due to being in direct competition with Namco or Sony. Sega got hit from all angles.

5) it was the first easy to play pirate games. I knew over a dozen people who had pirate games for it and it was so easy and risk free.



RolStoppable said:

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

You say that, but it really is hard to imagine that a newcomer would just come out today and outsell the PS5 and Switch out of the gate.



chakkra said:
RolStoppable said:

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

You say that, but it really is hard to imagine that a newcomer would just come out today and outsell the PS5 and Switch out of the gate.

Well, it's been pointed out before Sony wasn't actually a newcomer. They had been dealing with SEGA and Nintendo for years in both hardware and software prior to PS1. Microsoft was not a newcomer either. From the MSX in Japan in the 80s. From PC gaming to working with SEGA on Dreamcast and then using DC's in focus tests for Xbox. (hell,XB was almost BC with DC games) Nintendo had arcade experience. Game & Watch. Pong clones. SEGA had arcades. So each console maker had a warm-up period before entering console gaming.

Google Stadia does not understand it's the audience. It was created by executives with no knowledge or interest in gaming. Google had no real experience. They hired the Vince Russo of console launches with Phil Harrison to be in charge and yet wonder why it struggles lol. For context. Vince Russo destroyed wrestling companies like WCW and TNA. Phil Harrison helped with the disastrous launch of PS3, Xbox One, and now Stadia. Only after Phil left Sony and MS did things start to improve.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

chakkra said:
RolStoppable said:

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

You say that, but it really is hard to imagine that a newcomer would just come out today and outsell the PS5 and Switch out of the gate.

Times have certainly changed, so yes, it wouldn't be possible today like it was back in the day.

The 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s were full of companies who tried their luck in the console business, but by the late 1990s just about every notable company had given it a shot and failed (except Nintendo, Sega, Sony), so the only big new entrant after 1994 was Microsoft in 2001 and nothing since.

Corporations like Amazon, Google and Apple have lots of money, but no expertise in game making whatsoever. That makes them different to Nintendo and Sega who had experience in making arcade games before making their own console, different to Sony who were already a game publisher on consoles, and different to Microsoft who gathered major experience in the PC market.

The PS1 also had the benefit of a ~18 month headstart over the N64, so this allowed Sony to establish a game library and lower the price of their console by the time Nintendo was ready. If I remember correctly, the PS1's headstart amounted to only ~8m shipped by June 1996, so it wasn't a winner right out of the gate. Sony needed time and they got it, so they had sorted out their major issues by the time Nintendo showed up with their own early console struggles, most notably the N64's release schedule that was a trickle.

Throw in Sony's widespread moneyhats that surprised both Nintendo and Sega, and it's easy to see why the PS1 got rolling after a rather rocky start. A notable side effect of the moneyhats was that the developers who went exclusively with Sony tried to convince other developers to go with Sony too, because the more successful the PS1 would be, the more successful the moneyhatted third parties could become. Final Fantasy VII stood at the center of all this, but it must be noted that Squaresoft as a whole went exclusively to the PS1, so it wasn't just about one game, but the entire publisher with its full portfolio of IPs.

Sony leveraging their other divisions to subsidize the PlayStation business early on (console sold at loss to offer better technology at a lower price than the Sega Saturn, moneyhats for third parties) was not only an aggressive strategy to get their foot in the door, but also an absolutely mandatory one.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

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I think the biggest factor was Sony being such a gigantic conglomerate at the time. They had their hands in music, movies, electronics, television. They had the marketing dollars, clout, and a distribution network that permeated a huge chunk of the globe. I think having such a huge global presence also helped persuade 3rd parties.



Leynos said:
chakkra said:

You say that, but it really is hard to imagine that a newcomer would just come out today and outsell the PS5 and Switch out of the gate.

Well, it's been pointed out before Sony wasn't actually a newcomer. They had been dealing with SEGA and Nintendo for years in both hardware and software prior to PS1. Microsoft was not a newcomer either. From the MSX in Japan in the 80s. From PC gaming to working with SEGA on Dreamcast and then using DC's in focus tests for Xbox. (hell,XB was almost BC with DC games) Nintendo had arcade experience. Game & Watch. Pong clones. SEGA had arcades. So each console maker had a warm-up period before entering console gaming.

Google Stadia does not understand it's the audience. It was created by executives with no knowledge or interest in gaming. Google had no real experience. They hired the Vince Russo of console launches with Phil Harrison to be in charge and yet wonder why it struggles lol. For context. Vince Russo destroyed wrestling companies like WCW and TNA. Phil Harrison helped with the disastrous launch of PS3, Xbox One, and now Stadia. Only after Phil left Sony and MS did things start to improve.

But still, at this point in time Nvidia, Intel, AMD, Atari, Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, etc, have all had experience in gaming before, but it is still hard to imagine that any of them would release a full-on gaming console next year and it would manage to outsell the others out of the gate.



Leynos said:
chakkra said:

You say that, but it really is hard to imagine that a newcomer would just come out today and outsell the PS5 and Switch out of the gate.

Well, it's been pointed out before Sony wasn't actually a newcomer. They had been dealing with SEGA and Nintendo for years in both hardware and software prior to PS1. Microsoft was not a newcomer either. From the MSX in Japan in the 80s. From PC gaming to working with SEGA on Dreamcast and then using DC's in focus tests for Xbox. (hell,XB was almost BC with DC games) Nintendo had arcade experience. Game & Watch. Pong clones. SEGA had arcades. So each console maker had a warm-up period before entering console gaming.

Google Stadia does not understand it's the audience. It was created by executives with no knowledge or interest in gaming. Google had no real experience. They hired the Vince Russo of console launches with Phil Harrison to be in charge and yet wonder why it struggles lol. For context. Vince Russo destroyed wrestling companies like WCW and TNA. Phil Harrison helped with the disastrous launch of PS3, Xbox One, and now Stadia. Only after Phil left Sony and MS did things start to improve.

Sony hadn’t made a home console prior to the PS1, so yeah, Sony was a newcomer to the home console market.



Hynad said:
Leynos said:

Well, it's been pointed out before Sony wasn't actually a newcomer. They had been dealing with SEGA and Nintendo for years in both hardware and software prior to PS1. Microsoft was not a newcomer either. From the MSX in Japan in the 80s. From PC gaming to working with SEGA on Dreamcast and then using DC's in focus tests for Xbox. (hell,XB was almost BC with DC games) Nintendo had arcade experience. Game & Watch. Pong clones. SEGA had arcades. So each console maker had a warm-up period before entering console gaming.

Google Stadia does not understand it's the audience. It was created by executives with no knowledge or interest in gaming. Google had no real experience. They hired the Vince Russo of console launches with Phil Harrison to be in charge and yet wonder why it struggles lol. For context. Vince Russo destroyed wrestling companies like WCW and TNA. Phil Harrison helped with the disastrous launch of PS3, Xbox One, and now Stadia. Only after Phil left Sony and MS did things start to improve.

Sony hadn’t made a home console prior to the PS1, so yeah, Sony was a newcomer to the home console market.

You are not understanding what is being said but then again probably just wanting to argue again so meh.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

Hynad said:

Final Fantasy VII

This. Playstation was completely out of my mind until I learned that one of my favorite series was going to appear exclusively on PS1. I rented the console and FFVII for a weekend, played like a madman during those two days and the deal was done. I needed to buy a Playstation ASAP!



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