Last updated: August 31, 2021

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Since video game consoles have invaded the entertainment industry, the big brands have striven to offer attractive, easy-to-use, and accessible models for every family and every home. Japanese giant Sony's popular console, the PlayStation, has probably become the most critically acclaimed worldwide. And you, have you ever used one?

We've designed the following shopping guide to teach you about the most relevant aspects of this video game console. Through its history and its various generations of models, the PlayStation has earned a pride of place in our homes. We'll also evaluate their most attractive features and understand why these consoles have gone on to be known as the best on the market.




Summary

  • Officially abbreviated as PS, the PlayStation is a hugely popular gaming brand that consists of four models since its introduction in the 1990s. Its first generation – the PS1 – became an instant success, and each new generation has led the video game market in terms of units sold.
  • Like any game console, the PlayStation is an electronic device that allows you to play thousands of video games once you connect it to a television or another device featuring a screen, and to the mains for power (except portable models).
  • Over time and generations, the features, functions and accessories of the PlayStation have greatly evolved. The latest version now allows you to do much more than simply play video games: the Internet connection means you can use applications, browse multimedia platforms and access virtual stores, amongst other things.

The best Playstation: Our Picks

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about PlayStations

Game consoles are particularly varied and versatile devices, even in the PlayStation universe alone. This is because Sony and its competitors haven't targeted a single type of audience, but rather aim to satisfy gamers with different profiles. You may therefore have some questions regarding which model will best suit your needs. The following section was written to answer all doubts you may have when you're on the hunt for the right PlayStation.

Boys with playstation

While home PlayStations are the most popular and best-selling models, Sony has also launched other types of game consoles on the market. (Source: Białasiewicz: 65429262/ 123rf.com)

What is a PlayStation exactly?

The PlayStation, or PS, is the name given to a series of video game consoles created and marketed by Sony, a Japanese multinational video game developer. This brand of consoles has been a real game changer in the history of gaming, and it has constantly revolutionised the market.

Did you know that the PS1 has sold over 100 million units?

What type of game console is the PlayStation?

While Sony has created and developed different variants of this video game console, the PlayStation reference remains the desktop or home console. Four different generations have been released onto the market, all of which for the backbone of everything PlayStation stands for. The latest model is the Playstation 4 – or PS4 – and it hit stores in 2013.

As we briefly mentioned above, Sony has also released other type of PS besides the standard desktop game consoles. You can also find two models of portable PS, a digital recorder (PSX), a Sony Bravia television and a PS-oriented VR system (virtual reality). While none of these has ever gained the popularity of desktop PS, they have still been huge commercial successes.

Andrea PirloItalian Former Professional Footballer, World Champion in 2006
"After the wheel, the PlayStation is the best invention of all time."

How were PlayStation game consoles born?

The origins of the PlayStation go back to 1988, when Sony and Nintendo were working together on a Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) console with a CD-ROM drive. For over a decade back then, consoles had been using cartridges, which were expensive to produce and offered little storage space. The affordability and large storage of CD-ROMs were about to revolutionise the industry.

But an incident would change the history of video games and gaming consoles: Nintendo chose to develop a CD player with Philips, leaving Sony empty-handed with a half-finished console. The high level meeting that followed between Sony President Norio Ohga and his board members transformed the company forever.

They were originally reluctant to make the company enter the video game industry. But a virtue so deeply rooted in the Japanese business culture honour ultimately prevailed: honour. Sony had been humiliated when Nintendo chose to work with Philips, and the company decided to launch its very own console to uphold the company's honour. The PlayStation 1 was born.

Why did first PlayStation start a revolution?

The father of PS consoles, Ken Kutaragi made the most of what he had learned while working on the joint project with Nintendo and developed his own console, the Sony PlayStation. The console was a double revolution: it added a CD-ROM drive and a 3D graphics chip.

The PlayStation opened the gaming world to the modern era. It had the ability to generate 3D graphics, and the greater space available on the CD led to the addition of voices and cinematic sequences to games. This is why the first PlayStation titles, such as the futuristic races of Wipeout, had a huge impact on gamers.

Consoles by other developers, such as Sega, had similar technologies, but the great majority of their games were Japanese-themed. PlayStation won gold by bringing together great Japanese games with themes that would interest the Western market. They quickly developed videos games in the United States, France of the United Kingdom.

Boys playing playstation

The PlayStation is a fantastic gaming console, but its potential is greatly reduced without the right accessories. (Source: Scyther5: 73651069/ 123rf.com)

What are the differences between the PS generations?

Time is the best answer to this question. Any video game console ever released by any company is sorted into a generation. This classification takes into account the year of release and available technology – number of bits, graphics processors, etc. The first PlayStation came out during the fifth generation of gaming consoles. Here's a quick comparison table of every PS model ever released:

PlayStation model Generation of video game consoles Technological features Units sold
PlayStation 1 Fifth Systems similar to PCs. 32 or 4 bits. First 3D environments. 104 million
PlayStation 2 Sixth Ergonomic joysticks and external memories. Internet connection. 128 bits. Over 150 million
PlayStation 3 Seventh Multi-core technology in the central processing unit. Format integration. Blu-ray, wireless controllers and joysticks. Digital games. Over 85 million
PlayStation 4 Eighth Internet as the central axis of its functionality. Use of multimedia and applications. Development of streaming. Over 90 million

What is DualShock?

DualShock is the name of a line of PlayStation analogue gamepads or joysticks. While they aren't the original controllers, they have been by far the most successful. As you can imagine, these accessories are the most fundamental when playing any gaming console, be it from Sony or any other brand. DualShock controllers are incredibly popular amongst gamers.

On top of being wireless and presenting a truly ergonomic design, DualShocks now have a built-in vibration function and buttons on each stick – L3 for the left stick, and R3 for the right one. The most recent model, the DualShock 4, also has buttons to navigate on Internet and watch movies, for example.

Men playing games

For over a decade back then, consoles had been using cartridges, which were expensive to produce and offered little storage space. (Source: Kantver: 69949499/ 123rf.com)

What is the PlaySation Store?

Sometimes called the PSN Store, it is an online digital media service available to anyone using a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable (PSP) or PlayStation Vita console – the two latter being portable devices – via the PlayStation Network (PSN). This shop offers a wide range of downloadable content, either for purchase or for free.

You will need to have a master PSN account in order to gain access to the contents of the Playstation Store. Each user also has a download list where he or she can view all items previously purchased. Guest users can use their master account to download free content or to purchase content on another console.

Toshihiro NagoshiCreator of the Yakuza franchise
"If you would pour its power into graphics, it'll be the best that we've yet to see, and I think everyone is thinking about in what way we should use this power. I think artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to evolve."

You can use each account on a maximum of two consoles. Remember that having the latest PS firmware is essential if you want to access the PlayStation Store. This shop uses each country's local currency to set the price of content.

Can I use my PlayStation to do other things besides playing?

Of course! The best thing about the latest PS generations is that the arrival of the Internet on the devices has opened up a new world of possibilities. Now that PlayStations allow us to connect via Wi-Fi, manufacturers don't focus exclusively on video games. Here is a table with more details on the different uses of your video game console:

PlayStation function What it's for
Multimedia You can read multimedia files (compatible music, photos and videos) stored on your hard disk or USB memory sticks.
Internet browsing Compatible with PS controllers, the virtual keyboards of certain models allow you to surf the web, exchange messages and voice chat with friends and family.
Applications You now have access to a wide range of platforms, that include Netflix, Spotify, Rakuten TV, Filmin, RTVE, HBO, and Amazon Prime Video. This is on top of the games, movies and series available on the PS Store.
Online services and online shops As mentioned above, you can buy a wide variety of digital content on the PlayStation Store.

What are features offered by non-desktop PlayStation devices?

As we've explained before, desktop PS models have been the most popular and best-selling models. However, that doesn't mean Sony hasn't launched other types of game consoles onto the market. These have also created their own little revolutions in their sectors by offering incredible and innovative features. Here's what you need to know about the two other types of PS gaming devices:

  • PlayStation Portable: The PSP device reversed the trend of making handheld game consoles smaller and smaller by featuring a much larger screen. It's naturally designed to be taken everywhere we go, and it can also perform many of the functions that a desktop game console or a smartphone can.
  • PlayStation VR (virtual reality): the PS RV is the newest addition to the PS4 family. You can use this virtual reality device with any of the PS4 versions available on the market. Simply connect the headset to your PS4, add the PlayStation Camera and discover new realities. You'll have a 5.7-inch OLED screen and a 360-degree view.

Shopping Criteria

If you're thinking of stepping into the world of video games, opting for a PlayStation is a great decision. The history and prestige of the brand are a guarantee of quality. That being said, you still have to decide on which generation you want to use. In the following section, we detailed some key shopping criteria to help you make the right decision.

Disk capacity and processors

This will naturally depend on which generation you settle for, but modern high-end video game consoles need a large capacity. This is why we encourage you to choose a model with no less than 500GB. This will save you the trouble of running out of space for all your games and other multimedia files. If you're also expecting exceptional graphic and sound quality when playing, you should pay attention to the graphics processors of the device.

Internet connection

It has become particularly hard to live without an Internet connection, and this naturally applies to gaming consoles too. If you want to take full advantage of what PlayStation has to offer, you should also go for a model that is compatible with a Wi-Fi connection. This will grant you access to an incredible catalogue of of digital content, and you'll also be able to play multiplayer games online.

Mark CernyLead Architect & Producer of Sony's PS4 and PS Vita
"As a gamer, it’s been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4,” he said. “With the next console, the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it."

DualShock controllers

While the PlayStation is a fantastic video game console, it's practically useless without high quality accessories. In that regard, you won't get better than a DualShock. You'll have to make sure the model you buy is compatible with your PlayStation, and we encourage you to go for wireless controllers if possible. Your gaming experience will be all the more thrilling.

Multimedia functions

As you know, console entertainment isn't just about video games. Nowadays, PlayStations allow you to do much more than simply play, and you should really take advantage of their latest features. These range from various useful applications and the PlayStation Store to social media, music and video platforms. So you might want to check what the PS model you're interested in has to offer besides the very best video games.

Game compatibility

It is important for you to know that video games tend to lose compatibility with the latest consoles when a new generation comes out. This means that you may not be able to play your favourite games if you buy the latest PlayStation. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you check which are the key video games you want to play. This will be key when you're picking your very own PS.

Summary

Sony's PlayStation is a series of video game consoles that have completely revolutionised the industry since their inception in the 1990s. The PlayStation 1 was part of the fifth generation of consoles, and it became an instant sales success. Nowadays, four desktop PS models exist, as well as handheld and virtual reality devices.

All you have to do is connect your PlayStation to a screen and a power source, and you're good to play. Handheld devices can even be played on the go. What's more, playing isn't the only thing you can do with your console anymore. At a time when connection is key, you can browse the Internet, listen to music and take full advantage of many more features. You can, for instance, use streaming applications to watch movies and series.

If you liked our shopping guide on PlayStations, feel free to share it on your social media. Help us let others know everything about these video game consoles! You can also leave us a comment in the section below. We'll be happy to answer any question you might have.

(Source of featured image: Scyther5: 93002399/ 123rf.com)

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