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Sony Playstation

After the release of the SNES in 1991, Nintendo started thinking of developing a CD-ROM version of their console because of the medium's advantages and in order to compete with rivals (Sega and NEC) who were all heading down this path.  They got together with Sony, which eventually came up with the Playstation: A CD-ROM extension that sat beneath the SNES console and allowed 680MB CD games to be played.  After Nintendo realized that Sony had a cleverly-worded agreement that allowed them to license all SNES CD-based games, the two companies abandoned the deal.

Not wanting to trash all their hard work on the Playstation, Sony continued developing it on their own.  The new 32-bit standalone Playstation was built from the ground up and was not an extension of the one developed for Nintendo's SNES.  In fact, so much work had been put into it that the end result in 1994 was completely different than the initial concept drawn up in 1991.  The PS had the advantage (over the Saturn) of an extremely easy development environment, which attracted many third-party games developers.  It also sold for $100 cheaper than the Saturn in the US, which attracted consumers.

The Playstation was released in 1994 and enjoyed great success, mainly because of the company's strong financial back enabling it to market the PS widely and its ability to get hundreds of developers to license games for the console.  Playstation sales figures were concrete proof that Sega and Nintendo had to be on their guards and start worrying about their latest and most dangerous competitor.

The Playstation retailed for $299 and has sold over 50 million units worldwide.  Its library contains almost 1000 games!  In 1999, Sony released an updated version of the PS dubbed the PSOne that was both cheaper and smaller.

Technical Specs:

CPU: 32-bit RISC (33.9MHz)
RAM: 2MB, 1MB Video RAM
Graphics: 3D Geometry Engine, with 2D rotation, scaling, transparency and fading and 3D texture mapping and shading
Colors: 16.7 million
Sprites: 4,000
Polygons: 360,000 per second
Resolution: 640x480
Sound: 16-bit 24 channel PCM

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