Some 15 years ago today, the original PlayStation went on sale in North America. Though it had Sony behind it--a brand revered in electronics circles--the console was no sure thing. It had, in fact, been created almost by accident, after a proposed deal between Sony and Nintendo fell apart famously in 1991.
At that year's Consumer Electronics Show, Sony announced it had struck a deal with the Mario Factory to provide the SNES with a CD-based game-media reader. The following day, though, Nintendo announced that it was opting to have Netherlands-based Phillips make the peripheral, forging one of the more bitter rivalries in game-industry history.
The PlayStation 3 has lagged behind Nintendo in the current generation of consoles, with Wii sales topping 74 million worldwide versus just 38.1 million PlayStation 3s sold. The original PlayStation had sold more than 102 million units as of mid-2005, and the PlayStation 2 had sold more than 145 million as of July 2010.
However, Sony was not shy about using the PlayStation brand's anniversary to throw around its platforms' impressive statistics. To date, PlayStation-branded hardware--including the original PlayStation, PS2, PSP, and PS3--has sold some 377 million hardware units and more than 2 billion software units worldwide. In the US, some $63 billion of PlayStation-branded products have been sold since 1995, making up 40 percent of all domestic game sales, according to Sony.
To commemorate the North American anniversary of the PlayStation--which first went on sale in Japan in December 1994--Sony is releasing a series of free PSP and PS3 themes, as well as weekly discounts on PSOne digital downloads from the PlayStation Network.