On Dec. 3, 2014, PlayStation turned 20. To celebrate two decades of revolutionizing the video game industry, Sony is releasing a special limited edition gray PlayStation 4 to pay tribute to the first PlayStation console that started it all.
The special gray edition will become available for pre-order starting Dec. 6, and gamers who would like to grab one of the 12,300 units that Sony will be selling can pay a premium price of $499 for what many gamers see as a collector's item.
Sid Shuman, social media manager at Sony PlayStation, says the gray PlayStation 4 will feature 500GB of storage, a PlayStation camera, a vertical stand and a limited edition DualShock 4 wireless controller featuring the classic X, O, square and triangle controls and the vintage four-color PlayStation logo.
"One thing I do want to point out is that this will be available in very limited quantities, just 12,300 globally," Shuman says (video). "And if you look at the lower right-hand corner of the PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition, you'll notice a small aluminum plate that shows which number unit you have."
Sony will also be holding a huge two-day fan event dubbed PlayStation Experience at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas starting on Dec. 6.
PlayStation software product development head Scott Rohde says it will be an "unprecedented" event that will give gamers first dibs on exclusive pieces of content, including still-to-be-released PlayStation games, and the opportunity to sit on live panels and meet developers. Participants will also get an "exclusive first look" at games set to come to PlayStation in 2015 and win or buy free collectibles from gaming studios.
The original PlayStation was actually a joint project by Sony, then seen as an electronics company and an outsider in the gaming industry, and then bestselling console company Nintendo. Both companies were working on a Super Nintendo equipped with CD-ROM and showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991. However, Nintendo was unhappy with the revenue sharing agreement and subsequently called off the partnership with Sony's division headed by Ken Kutaragi.
Notwithstanding Nintendo's desertion of the project, Kutaragi and his team struggled for a few more years before finally introducing the 32-bit PlayStation, which was equipped with the ability to run CDs and provide support for 3D game graphics. With developers looking to build games for an older audience and Sony offering the perfect 3D platform, the video game industry was reborn.
"I still remember when we were working on PSOne before the launch. We were a total newcomer in the game industry and I was one of the small groups who visited Japanese publishers and the major companies at that time," recounts Sony president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with PCWorld.
"The other major companies were very open to share their feelings about Sony, telling us that 'The video game industry is different from your industry and it won't be easy.' Some companies had management that told us, 'If you sell a million units of PlayStation, we will consider making games for your hardware,'" he says.
The PlayStation, which featured classic games such as Tekken, Wipeout and Crash Bandicoot, launched in direct competition with Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn, which were both dumped for PlayStation because of their poor 3D performance and high prices. The PlayStation is the first console to sell 100 million units worldwide, and the PlayStation 4 continues to be the best-selling video game console worldwide.