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Sony's Playstation 1 Accomplished Something No Other Console Could Up Until Then

It's no secret that the 90's were a tumultuous time for video games — as the industry started to recover from the Video Game Crash of 1983, the home console market became oversaturated with contenders from now unlikely-sounding companies like Philips, Commodore, Panasonic, Fujitsu, and more, all scrambling to make the most of ongoing developments in computer technology (per the Video Game Console Library). 


According to the University of Michigan Library, three consoles came out on top of the sea of competition to mark the start of the 3D generations in games: The Sega Saturn, the Nintendo 64, and the original PlayStation. With Nintendo deciding to stick to cartridge-based games, the Saturn and PlayStation were left to compete over which was the best CD-ROM console — and, as history can attest, the PlayStation won by a landslide. 

There were many contributing factors to this, of course, including but not limited to its innovative Memory Card system, black-painted CDs, immersive 3D-enabled storytelling titles, and the fact that it managed to poach "Final Fantasy 7" from the Nintendo 64, which went on to become one of its best-selling and most iconic games. 


But while why — or even if — the PlayStation was the best console of the 90's is a matter of debate, no one can deny that there's one milestone in video game history that it was the first to break: it was the first ever home console ever to break 100 million units in sales.

It had lasting popularity that broke the record for the first time

At first, it can sound a little anticlimactic that the PlayStation only broke the 100 million mark in 2005, 11 years after its release in 1994 (per GameIndustry.biz). At least, until you realize that the Nintendo 64, the other famous and fondly-remembered console from the 90's, was only released two years after the PS1 but has only managed 32.93 million sales to date (via IGN). 


To put it into further perspective, 100 million is an impressive number even for modern consoles, despite how much the industry and market have grown since the 90's: The Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 sit at 17 and 25 million respectively, with the Nintendo Switch being the only "current" console to have broken the PS1's record at 114 million sales. For the PS1 to have broken such a milestone five years into the appearance of a strong new competitor and three years past the release of its own successor is, perhaps, a testament to the lasting impression it left on gamers and the gaming industry alike as the staging ground for the birth of many beloved franchises today.