How the PSOne redesign made the original PlayStation console design worse

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The 2000 redesign of the PSOne made sense, but was flawed. Here’s why...

Almost every console from SEGA and Sony have seen a smaller version appear during their lifetimes, with Nintendo only doing their own spin with the re-releases of the NES and SNES in the last few years.

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But Sony have always had a way of re-jigging their consoles into a smaller form-factor, ever since the original PlayStation.

The PlayStation 3 saw the most re-designs, with five releases throughout its lifetime, while the other consoles only saw two releases.

But the PSOne is an oddity for many reasons, from its timing, to its strange accessory, here’s why I believe they were too late with this...

Background

Twenty years ago we were all watching SEGA try to tempt anyone away from the announcement of the PlayStation 2. In March of 2000, the PS2 was confirmed to have DVD-playback, backwards-compatibility with most PS1 games, and it was due to come out that same year.

At the same time, Sony wanted to slightly extend the original PlayStation. The idea, to them and others at the time, was to have it even more affordable, while having its own features.

With that, a redesigned ‘PSOne’ was released in July of 2000, with a rounded design this time, and a creamy-white colour scheme that also extended to the Dual Shock controller it was packaged in.

I remember first seeing this in a magazine at the time, and just wondering; ‘Why’. Granted, myself and friends had our own original PS1 consoles, and we were pretty much doing odd-jobs and saving our pocket money for the PlayStation 2. We didn’t see the point for it then, and I still don’t see the point now.

READ MORE:Which PS1 games can you play on PS4?

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PS1 original playstation console design
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The original PS1 - did it really need changing?

PSOne features

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When you consider a last-generation product getting a facelift and a lower price, you see it as the norm when it comes to smartphones and tablets, similar to how a new iPhone is announced. You see the ‘iPhone 12’ available, and then you see a price drop of the previous models, with your apps and games still compatible.

But for 2020, that makes sense. For 2000 and a new console on its way, it seemed like the ship had sailed. With the PlayStation 2 also touting backwards-compatibility, it seemed redundant to release it in that year. It may have been more beneficial to have seen this at the height of the console’s success, perhaps in December of 1998. Being released in the Christmas season, and also when Crash Bandicoot 3, Tomb Raider 3, and a few months later, Metal Gear Solid, it could have been even more of a success.

Granted, the PSOne did sell well, but I can’t help but feel that it could have done even better if it was released during that Christmas year. But even with this, I haven’t even gone into the LCD attachment.

Released in November of 2000, I remember it being priced at £100, and it would turn the console into a George Foreman grill. You could attach it to the console, and when you were done, fold it in, ready to take it on car journeys and camping holidays at Butlins.

READ MORE: The pure frustration of the Dreamcast controller

PSOne console redesign
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The PSOne...

Right place at the wrong time

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For scenario’s like that, I can concede that the console and its LCD screen was justified, especially if it was a ‘second’ PlayStation console in the household. All you had to do, was to take out your memory card and into this ‘PSOne’ to continue your progress on Silent Hill for instance.

But again, I feel as though it was badly-timed. Everyone had read about the games coming to the PlayStation 2, everyone had watched the tech-demos of what it was capable of, and everyone felt like they were being taken care of thanks to it’s backwards-compatibility.

People wanted something else in the millennium, they wanted something that could equal that hype of ‘Y2K’, and this was just badly timed for expectations.

But granted, later iterations of the PS2, PS3 and PS4 were released at points where it made sense, of where it pro-longed the consoles without feeling like it was the one in the wrong crowd.

But we can see just what began the ‘slim’ line of PlayStation consoles, and just why there was ever a need for an LCD screen...

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