Take a journey with PlayStation.com New Zealand through 15 years of PlayStation innovations.
PlayStation has helped define an industry since its explosive arrival on the videogames scene 15 years ago. From the birth of the revolutionary PlayStation® games console to the advanced technology of PlayStation®3, there's always been something that has moved your entertainment experiences to the next level.
The PlayStation revolution
1995 saw the arrival of a fresh-faced machine called PlayStation; it sported an attractive design and the ability to play audio CDs. This merging of entertainment – music and videogames – in one system was a baton passed down to PlayStation®2 in 2000, which was the first home games console to offer in-built DVD playback, USB support for peripherals and full backwards compatibility. PS2 went on to be one of the most popular videogame consoles ever created, shipping over 145 million units worldwide to date – and still going strong.
With the seeds of multimedia planted, the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) arrival in 2005 combined powerful portable hardware and the ability to play Universal Media Disc movies, as well as MP3 music, photos and games. PSP also boasted built-in Wireless for web browsing and continued to broaden the creative diversity that PlayStation had become famous for.
PlayStation®3 launched during 2007. The world's most powerful entertainment system brought with it a host of new hardware features to once more alter the videogames landscape. PS3 offered things no other system could, with a built-in Blu-ray Disc™ player for incredible HD picture quality, connectivity with PSP via Remote Play and a unified online platform - PlayStation Network. This paved the way for downloadable games across PS3 and PSP (something especially significant for the pocket sized PSPgo), and more on demand across music, movies and television.
Put the power in your hands
Revolutionary hardware is nothing without precise control, and the evolution of PlayStation is rife with ergonomically-designed controllers. The roots for the famous DUALSHOCK controller were established by the original PlayStation controller which boasted four buttons on top of the controller instead of the standard two, giving developers the scope to explore more gameplay possibilities. Next came the twin analog stick wielding Dual Analog Controller, and then the original Analog Controller (DUALSHOCK). In 2000 the DUALSHOCK 2 for PS2 introduced vibration features and pressure sensitive buttons which transformed gaming from a visual and aural experience into a tactile one as well.
In 2007, PS3 signalled the arrival of motion control on PlayStation with the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller and later the DUALSHOCK 3. Tilt sensors, Wireless connectivity and the PS button for accessing the XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) user interface became standard, along with all the other advantages of the previous DUALSHOCK controllers.
Buzz! Buzzers introduced a brilliantly fun and simple way to play the accompanying quiz series, Buzz!, on PS2 and PS3 in 2005. Featuring big coloured buttons, the controllers make answering quick-fire quiz questions a blast!
In 2010, the PlayStation Move motion controller launched. Placing incredibly accurate motion control technology in the palm of your hand, changing the way you play games. Working in tandem with the PlayStation Eye camera, PS Move replicates your movements on-screen and puts you right in the action. Suddenly you don't just have a controller in your hand – you have a mighty sword, a powerful ray gun, a trusty bow and arrow... you have whatever you need for the game you're playing. Light and Wireless, PlayStation Move represents the epitome of how far PlayStation has progressed when it comes to videogame control.
The birthplace of gaming classics
Many blockbuster franchises started life on PlayStation and have since become household names. Tomb Raider became synonymous with PlayStation thanks to its impressive debut in 1996 which made Lara Croft a lasting and popular videogames figure across the globe. Solid Snake was reborn in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, providing a new look for the rugged hero as well as helping popularise stealth based gameplay. And who can forget the birth of the survival horror genre through Resident Evil and Silent Hill, both PlayStation titles originally.
Tried and tested genres also got a welcome shot in the arm with PlayStation. Role-playing games found a new way to portray cinematic storytelling thanks to the epic Final Fantasy VII, using the console's technology to realise narrative techniques which are still used today. Futuristic racing games flew out of the home and into nightclubs with WipEout offering blistering visuals and a dance floor filling soundtrack.
The world-beating likes of Tekken, Ridge Racer, God of War, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Killzone, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, Kingdom Hearts, MotorStorm, Resistance and so many more all became popular series that took off on PlayStation. And the fresh breath of innovation drifted into videogames through titles such as EyeToy: Play, EyePet, Grand Theft Auto 3 and the emotion driven storytelling of Heavy Rain, ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.
Fans of realistic racing games were put into the driver's seat with the emergence of Gran Turismo. In 1998, the Real Driving Simulator took us by storm by delivering the most stunningly realistic portrayal of racing ever seen in a videogame. Gran Turismo's sequels on PS2 set the bar even higher, leaving rivals in the dust thanks to a perfect combination of well observed physics, a massive range of selectable cars and a comprehensive career mode.
Critical and commercial acclaim has followed Gran Turismo on the track to success, which looks set to be repeated with the late 2010 arrival of Gran Turismo 5 on PlayStation 3. Over 1000 stunningly recreated cars, more than 70 track variations and unparalleled realism await, along with compatibility with another innovation – stereoscopic 3D. No other driving game can offer this sort of realism.
With the arrival of the PlayStation Move motion controller and experiences offered by related titles such as Sports Champions, Heavy Rain Move Edition, The Fight and SingStar Dance, PlayStation continues to be the home of memorable and genre changing fun for all ages.
Step into a wider world online
No glimpse through the defining moments in PlayStation history would be complete without PlayStation Network (PSN). Released in 2007, the online service took PSP and PlayStation 3 into the free to join entertainment world, where over 50 million users to date now regularly create their own colourful online IDs, play online at no extra cost, browse their favourite sites and use features such as the ever growing PlayStation Store. Offering a colossal range of downloadable content, PlayStation Store is open 24/7 for you to stock up on games, playable demos, themes, trailers, avatars and game add-ons.
PSN took another defining step with the arrival of premium subscription service PlayStation Plus, in 2010, which introduced exclusive discounts, services and content such as early access to beta trials and demos, and free games and downloads.
Snackable titles on both PS3 and PSP became all the rage with minis on PlayStation Store in 2009. Their bite-sized blast of addictive gameplay meant the range of game types and genres instantly increased on PlayStation.
Demand more from your machine
When it comes to entertainment services, PlayStation is ahead of the game. PlayTV unlocks the potential of your television by letting you watch, pause and record live HD TV. Planning television programmes around your life is easy with PlayTV and you can even use Remote Play to organise your viewing schedule on the go with PSP, VAIO laptops or compatible Sony Ericsson phones. And with an increasing range of catch–up TV on-demand services, such as TVNZ Ondemand, you don't have an excuse to miss your favourite shows ever again.
If movie madness is your thing, then you'll find plenty of opportunities for popcorn viewing on PlayStation with MUBI. MUBI reels in some of the most treasured film masterpieces and puts them on demand for your PlayStation 3 viewing pleasure.
Music maestros aren't left out either with VidZone streaming thousands of music videos to your PS3 absolutely free. VidZone lets you create your own playlists from hundreds of artists, with regular updates to keep your tunes fresh. You can even access the service on the move using Remote Play for PSP.
A world of comic books was also unleashed on PlayStation through Digital Comics on PSP, a service which lets you download some of your favourite comics and take them anywhere you go in the comfort of your pocket.
Fostering communities is something which has helped define PlayStation and PlayStation Home is a large social environment which no home console can compete with. Accessed through the PlayStation 3, this free to explore world has you creating a custom avatar before decorating your own personal apartment. Then you can venture out into PlayStation Home and interact with other users enjoying the constantly growing environments. Want to watch a trailer? Make new friends? Play games and take part in special events? PlayStation Home brings all these elements together for the perfect blend of videogaming and social fun.
3D: A new dimension to home entertainment
It may be relatively new technology, but stereoscopic 3D is already making waves with PlayStation.. Arm yourself with a 3D TV, compatible glasses and the 3D game or Blu-ray 3D disc movie of your choice and see the future of home entertainment pop out of the screen. Dive into new depths with 3D game titles such as PAIN, MotorStorm 3D Rift and WipEout HD, and 3D movies including Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Monster House.
Putting you at the forefront of PlayStation
Even before the arrival of stereoscopic 3D, PlayStation has looked at new and inventive ways of playing games. Augmented reality is one such area, showing a live version of the world around you on the screen and overlaying it with computer generated images which you can interact with. You become part of the virtual world and use your body and surroundings to alter the game.
PlayStation explored this exciting concept as early as 1999 with the announcement of the EyeToy USB Camera for PlayStation 2, pushing augmented reality gaming into the mainstream. Games such as EyeToy: Play thrust you on to your TV screen, while other titles like EyeToy: Kinetic Combat offer the opportunity to keep fit or jump into other activities.
With the success of these titles, PlayStation took the concept even further with the PSP camera. Games such as Invizimals give you a taste of what it's like to find and collect hidden creatures around your home, while EyePet lets you rediscover the world around you with an adorable new friend.
On PlayStation 3, augmented reality is taken to new levels thanks to a combination of the PlayStation Eye camera, PlayStation Move and stereoscopic 3D. Titles that use PS Move and the PlayStation Eye camera give you the chance to be on-screen and in the spotlight – Start the Party! and The Shoot are perfect examples of this magical way to play, while EyePet Move Edition adds stereoscopic 3D to really bring it all to life. Augmented reality is a defining moment happening right now – and you can be a part of it with PlayStation.
During its first 15 years, PlayStation has helped the videogames industry move into the mainstream and brought memorable and engaging entertainment into your homes. Where will the next 15 years take you? The journey starts here...
Post comments and share all the latest PlayStation happenings along with the rest of the PlayStation community at the Official New Zealand Facebook Fan Page.
Want to know what it's like to play some of the biggest games on PlayStation 4?
Sign up to PlayStation®Network today. FREE TO JOIN, FREE TO PLAY!