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The Sony PlayStation is a video game system developed by Sony. Originally released in December 1994, the PlayStation is in its third iteration (known as the PlayStation 3 or PS3 for short).

PlayStation 1 (PSX)

The original PlayStation was released in December of 1994 in Japan, and in the United States in September 1995. The release was an enormous success for Sony, as it became the first video game system to sell over 100 million units nine years after its release. The success of the system also led to several popular game series, including the continuation of Final Fantasy, Ridge Racer, and Crash Bandicoot.

The original PlayStation supported CDs, as opposed to cartridges that were used by rival Nintendo. Games could be saved through a memory card that plugged into the front of the system.

PlayStation 2 (PS2)

The second iteration of the PlayStation was released in 2000. The PS2 became the best-selling console of all time, reaching 150 million units sold in January 2011. The PS2 boasted better graphics than its predecessor, the ability to play video DVDs in addition to video games, and later, online gaming.

PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Sony's most current version of the PlayStation system is the PS3. The PS3 initially launched in 2006. Initial reviews were critical, with most reviewers criticizing the high price point and a lack of high quality video games. However, the hardware and Blu-Ray capabilities were praised, as at the time, the PS3 was one of the cheaper Blu-ray players on the market.

The PS3 underwent several hardware revisions, including a removal of backwards comparability with PS2 titles, slimming the system down, and changing the size of the hard drive in the system.

Playstation 3 Controversies

After vulnerabilities were discovered in the PlayStation 3 firmware that allowed for unauthorized programs to be run, Sony forced a firmware upgrade that removed the option to install Linux on the PS3. The slim versions of the PS3 automatically came with this feature removed. This led to several class-action lawsuits being filed, the results of which are still pending.

In April 2011, the PlayStation Network, an online gaming network that allows users to download and purchase games from the PlayStation Store, as well as play against others online, was hacked. As a result, the network shutdown for over a month, leading to millions of dollars in lost income for Sony and video game companies. Following the restoration of the network, users were allowed to download two free games, were enrolled in identity theft protection for a year, and were given a free month of PlayStation Plus, a program that allows users to purchase certain titles at discounts.