Editors' Choice

A Look At The Sony PlayStation Throughout The Years

Shelby Chau / November 13, 2016




The original PlayStation. Source: wikimedia (Evan-Amos)



The redesigned PSone. Source: wikimedia (Evan-Amos)


Sony’s foray into the video game market started with the release of the original PlayStation console on December 3, 1994, in Japan. It wasn’t until later in 1995 that the rest of the world got a chance to play on the new system. It focused on 3D polygon graphics and played games off of CD-ROM media.


The first generation controller for the PlayStation took inspiration from the Super Nintendo controller. The directional pad and input buttons were laid out in a similar fashion, but the console’s first controller added two additional trigger buttons to be used by a player’s middle fingers. The Dual Analog Controller (featuring two analog sticks) was released in 1997, but was discontinued in 1998 in favor of the new “DualShock” controller. Here are some key differences between the DualShock and discontinued Dual Analog controllers:


  • The hand grips are 35 inch (1.5 cm) shorter
  • The analog sticks are textured for a better grip
  • Two more buttons – the L3 and R3 buttons which trigger when depressing the analog sticks



Dual Analog Controller. Source: wikipedia (Bollinger)


On July 7, 2000, Sony released a redesigned version of their original PlayStation, calling it the PSone.


The original dimensions measured 2.38” tall, 10.75” wide, and 7.5” deep. It weighed 3 lbs. and was reduced to 1.21 lbs. with the introduction of the PSone. The PSone was 1.496” in height, 7.6” in width and 5.67” deep.


Combined, the two units have shipped 104.25 million units worldwide.
By doing so, the PlayStation became the first “computer entertainment platform” to reach the 100 million units shipped milestone, taking only 9 years and 6 months to hit since it launched. 


PlayStation 2



PS 2 (left) Slim PS 2 (right) with DualShock 2 controller.
Source: wikimedia (Evan-Amos)


The next generation PlayStation was released in Japan on March 4, 2000. The North American release took place in September and the PlayStation 2 was released in Europe and Australia in November of the same year. The unit could read data from CD-ROM and DVD-ROM media, so not only could it play games, but it doubled as an audio CD player and tripled as a DVD player. By also featuring backwards compatibility with PS1 titles and a stand to let the console stand up on its side, the PS2 demolished the record set by its predecessor to ship 100 million units in just 5 years and 9 months. 


With the new console, an updated version of the DualShock controller was shipped along with it. Named the DualShock 2, there wasn’t much difference from this and the previous version, though, it does feel lighter in comparison. For a more personal touch, the DualShock 2 was offered in different colors such as ceramic white, emerald green, slate grey, satin silver, crimson red, candy pink, ocean blue, and of course, black.


As with it’s previous console, Sony decided to give the PS2 a slimmer look. Made available by October 2004, the slimline PlayStation 2 model was noticeably more compact, but it was also quieter and came with a built-in Ethernet port. Another slimline model was released in 2007 and again in 2008.


The original Sony PlayStation 2 measured 12” x 7” x 3” and weighed 4.85 lbs. The slim measured 9.1” x 6” x 1.1” and weighed 1.98 lbs.

The success of the PlayStation 2 cannot be understated. By selling 157.68 million units worldwide, The PS2 is reigns as the best selling video game console of all time (as of June 2016). 


The PlayStation 2 was discontinued worldwide by January 4, 2013.


PlayStation 3



PS 3 (left) Slim PS 3 (right) with DualShock 3 controller.
Source: wikimedia (Evan-Amos)


The PlayStation 3 was once again released in Japan first, this time, on November 11, 2006. North America saw the PS3 on November 17, 2006, and Europe and Australia got the PS3 on March 27, 2007.


Adding to the capabilities of the PlayStation 2, the PlayStation 3 was the first console to use Blu-ray discs as their primary medium.
Sony released a “slim” model of the PS3 in 2009 featuring a 33% reduction in size, a 36% reduction in weight, and was engineered to consume 34% to 45% less power. By 2012, Sony was able to improve on the “slim” design and introduced the “Super Slim” PS3. In this version, they were able to shed almost 3 pounds from the “slim” model and overhauled the case design entirely.


As you can see, the Super Slim design is much lighter than the first version:



  • Super Slim PS3: 11.42” x 2.36” x 9.06”, 4.63 lbs
  • Slim PS3: 11.42” x 2.56” x 11.42”, 7.05 lbs
  • First PS3: 12.75” x 3.86” x 10.8”, 11 lbs


The PlayStation shipped with updated wireless controllers called SIXAXIS which incorporated motion-sensing technology. Due to a legal battle with Immersion in a patent infringement lawsuit, haptic feedback technology was removed from the SIXAXIS controllers. In March 2007, Sony settled and this paved the way for haptic feedback to return in DualShock 3 controllers.


The PS3 has sold more than 86.46 million units around the world. 


The system ceased production on September 29, 2015.


PlayStation 4



PS 4 with DualShock 4 controller. Source: wikimedia (Evan-Amos)


For the first time in the console’s history, the PlayStation 4 saw its North American release come before the Japanese release. It was made available on November 15, 2013, while Europeans, South Americans and Australians got them on November 20, 2013. It was finally released in Japan on February 2014.


Featuring strong lines, a completely different look that the curviness of the PS3, the PS4 still continues to play Blu-ray, DVD, and CDs. The system measures in at 12” x 2.09” x 10.83” and weighs in at 6.1 lbs.


The PS4 comes with DualShock 4 controllers. While similar to the DualShock 3’s, the DualShock 4 has some noticeable differences.


  • A touch pad was added on the front, which can be clicked.
  • A light bar was added on top which can assist with gameplay
  • There’s a 3.5mm stereo headset jack
  • There’s a mono speaker.
  • The Start and Select buttons were replaced with an OPTIONS buttons
  • There’s a PS button and a new SHARE button
  • Pressure sensitivity has been removed except for the L2/R2 buttons


The unit has sold 40.75 million units worldwide as of June 2016.