Amongst the many decisions Nintendo executives must have regretted over the years, the choice to abandon a collaborative project with Sony on a CD-ROM drive for the SNES must rank as one of the worst. Fired with anger and a burgeoning interest in the new world of games, Sony took the concept back to the drawing board and began work on a revolutionary 3D-focused architecture, then began sweet-talking the major third-party software houses in Europe and Japan to get them on board. The result was the PlayStation, and we all know what followed.
Launching in 1994 in Japan and 1995 in the US and Europe, the PlayStation was clearly the most powerful console on the market (Nintendo's own delayed N64 had left the field wide open for Sony). Launch games like Ridge Racer and Battlefield: Tohshinden demonstrated the system's 3D clout, while the likes of Wipeout and Tekken turned it into the pre-pub/post-club entertainment of choice for millions. Pairing a custom chip containing a 32-bit MIPS R3000A CPU plus dedicated geometry and data decompression engines with a specialized GPU, the PlayStation was built from the ground-up for 3D, supporting a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 and a palette of 16.7 million colours. A 24-channel PCM audio chip, 2MB of RAM and 1MB of VRAM rounded out the spec.
With over 100 million consoles sold worldwide over a decade the PlayStation revolutionised the industry and confirmed that CD-ROM and 3D, not cartridge or 2D, were the way forward. What's more, the PlayStation redefined expectations of what a console could achieve during its lifespan. A system that started off running 2.5D platformers and a rather basic port of Ridge Racer would end it running cinematic 3D action games like Metal Gear Solid and racing games as rich and detailed as Gran Turismo 2.