The rise of PlayStation | Sunday Observer
Console Wars:

The rise of PlayStation

30 July, 2022

While the first, and greatest console war was waged in the 90s between Nintendo’s SNES and SEGA’s Sega Genesis, it was a relatively short period of competition with a swift and decisive victor emerging. However, due to the fast moving nature of the tech industry, consoles only lasted a handful of years before the next wave of competitors would create a whole new console generation.

Gaming was technically already in its fourth console generation when the classic Nintendo - SEGA war occured, and consumers would not have to wait long before the next great console war would start. This new war would spark one of the most iconic rivalries in gaming, spanning across two decades, Sony’s PlayStation vs Microsoft’s XBox.

Though most might assume that the PlayStation and XBox was always in competition with each other, it usually slips notice that the fight only began with Sony’s second console, the much beloved PlayStation 2. The first PlayStation debuted about six years prior in the fourth Console Generation, competing directly against gaming heavyweights like the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn.

Company begins to fade

While the Sega Saturn stumbled and ultimately caused the company to begin fading from relevance as a major game company, the Nintendo 64 was Nintendo’s best showing yet. The 64 was pumping out classics like Super Mario 64, Super Smash Brothers, Ocarina of Time and Goldeneye 007, games that revolutionized and codified their own genres. And yet, the PlayStation blew the Nintendo 64 out of the water, it wasn’t even close. The first PlayStation would go on to become one of the best selling consoles in history, selling over 100 million units, compared to Nintendo 64’s 32 Million.

The sixth console generation kicked off the turn of the millennium with SEGA getting a head start by making its last attempt at a major console release with the Sega Dreamcast. But with the lost goodwill and anticipation for the next Sony title, consumers were not willing to buy, and though it did better than its previous console, the Dreamcast was quietly discontinued before Nintendo or Microsoft even released their sixth gen consoles.

This generation was defined by the rise of online gaming but it seemed like Nintendo didn’t get the memo. Nintendo did as it always did and cranked out an iconic lineup of games for the GameCube, but it was clear it couldn’t compete.

Though this generation would mark the first time Microsoft would go up against Sony in the gaming market, this would not be where they would go head to head. While the XBox was a strong console, it lived and died by its killer app, Halo and Halo 2.

Unfortunately, no console could really compete in this generation, since it would be up against the PlayStation 2 (PS2), the single highest selling gaming console of all time. The PS2’s success was because of a myriad of reasons that created the perfect storm that led it to easily dominate all of gaming in its lifetime.


As it was one of the earliest tech to support DVDs, the PS2 was one of the cheapest DVD players at the time, which allowed for use beyond gaming. It was also one of the longest lasting consoles. Though it was introduced in 2000, before the XBox and GameCube, it outlasted both by six years.

This longevity also meant more games being developed for it. By the end of its lifespan, the PlayStation 2 had over 4000 games developed for it, the most out of any console, even at present. The PS2 would go on to sell 155 million units worldwide, demolishing the XBox and GameCube, each only barely surpassing 20 million units.

As the gaming industry got smarter, there would never be a more one sided console generation again. The PS3 and XBox 360 would be a much closer showing during the seventh generation, but despite selling well, both consoles would cause a net loss for their respective companies, letting Nintendo take the market with the completely unique Wii console.

The next few generations evened things out even further with more consoles and platforms entering the gaming market, and while this meant that two or three consoles would never have a stranglehold on the games industry again, things were ultimately healthier for gaming with more competition and options for gamers.