From PS1 to PS4 – a history of PlayStation announcements

PlayStation – 27 October , 1993

The PlayStation story began, not with a multi-million-dollar mega-event, but with a simple press release, sent out on a Wednesday morning. Sony Corp told indifferent newspapers that it would “work toward marketing the new home-use game system domestically by the end of 1994 and overseas within 1995, priced competitively.”

A later announcement added detail, declaring that, “The next-generation games machine is expected to offer high-speed, simultaneous movement of characters and high-quality backgrounds together with powerful 3D computer graphics”. There was no release date and, amazingly, no name – although it was known that Sony had retained the PlayStation brand from its aborted project to design a CD-ROM drive for the SNES. It wasn’t until the following month that the working title PS-X or PlayStation-X was revealed.

PlayStation 2 - 2 March, 1999

Nearly six years later and with a reasonably successful console under its belt, Sony was a little bit more organised with PlayStation 2. The new machine was introduced at the excitingly titled PlayStation Meeting 99. Originally known as Next Generation PlayStation, the new machine promised a DVD player, powerful 64-bit Emotion Engine CPU and the capability to handle 20 million polygons per second.

On 13 September, 900 members of the press and public were invited to a Tokyo press event where PlayStation 2 was christened and its unique design unveiled. The likes of Tekken Tag Tournament and fighting game The Bouncer were shown off as potential launch titles.

PlayStation 3 - 16 May, 2005

This time round, Sony used its pre-E3 press conference in Los Angeles to officially announce PlayStation 3, after months of gossip and speculation. As well as unveiling its expensive Cell processor and Blu-ray drive, Sony also revealed the sleek new design. Famously, the company mis-stepped slightly with the original prototype controller (below). The crowds recoiled in horror and revulsion, and a revised design was on display at the following E3. As for games, the system was shown off with the likes of MGS4 and Heavenly Sword, plus
a tech demo of FFVII.

PlayStation 4 - 20 February, 2013

In something of a switch back to the PS2 launch model, Sony chose to officially announce PlayStation 4 at a dedicated PlayStation Meeting event – this time in New York. And once again, we got lots of technical detail and demos but no unveiling of the box itself. With over 1,000 journalists present and footage streaming live over the web, it was Sony’s most intense showcase yet. This was all about the future of gaming, with a powerful architecture, new controller and fresh digital distribution concepts dominating. “A console built by gamers for gamers” was the overriding message. Now? E3 awaits…

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