When PlayStation first hit the market in the mid-’90s, Sony famously didn’t want to call it a toy. That was Nintendo’s territory, after all. And PlayStation, the theory went, was something different. Something more powerful. Something targeted at an older demographic. Something that would create its own market rather than fight for the existing one.
It was a sentiment that began in the company’s early behind-the-scenes discussions about collaborating with Nintendo and carried through into the PlayStation’s marketing once it became its own thing.
And to a significant degree, the approach paid off. Sony built its own playground, customers and third-party studios graduated to it from other platforms, and over the years Sony’s reputation as a major electronics company even began to loosen, with many thinking of it as more of a games and entertainment company.
This all came to mind earlier this week, after checking out the new PlayStation Classic mini-console at a Sony press event. Because from the size to the weight to the price to the way the games hold up today, and the simplicity of the whole package, I couldn’t shake one thought: Sony has finally made the PlayStation into a toy.
And its best and worst qualities all seem to hover around this idea.