You may be surprised to see all Playstation Consoles & handhelds when you see just how many there actually are. I know I definitely was.
The numeric indicator on the latest “Playstation 5” is a bit misleading. With nearly 20 consoles on this list, you surely will see what I mean.
Besides Nintendo, Playstation is one of my favorite console series’, and I have had one in my roster since the first iteration.
So let’s jump right in. Get cozy, this will be a long list, but certainly worth the walk down memory lane. Here’s ALL Playstation consoles and handhelds ever.
The PlayStation was the very first home video game console from Sony, who was previously known for electronic technologies in other genres.
Historically, the Playstation has a pretty interesting origin story as the project initially was born from a failed collaboration with Nintendo.
Sony had hoped to develop a CD-Rom attachment for the Super Nintendo system similar to the Sega CD.
The original name for the Playstation was the “SNES-CD”.
But when that deal fell through, Sony opted to throw their hat into the video game console industry… and thank goodness they did!
The original Playstation gave gamers a 64-bit game system that felt a step above the competition at the time, especially with its incredible lineup of games.
Take a look at the 60 Best PS1 Games Of All Time. You might know a few of them.
The Playstation was a gigantic success.
If we look at the sales or the most popular 5th gen game consoles: The Sega Saturn sold 9.25 million, the Nintendo 64 sold 33 million, and the Playstation sold 102.5 million units!
Count that as an easy win for Sony in the 5th generation of video gaming.
And they clearly stepped onto the scene with a very strong effort that would set them up to be considered one of the “Big 3” (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft) for video game consoles to this day.
In conjunction with the original Playstation, Sony also released their first handheld game “console” of sorts (it was more of a peripheral with some game play functionality), the PocketStation in Japan.
We mention it, because we will later see their official first handheld console.
To celebrate the legacy of the original Playstation, Sony launched the PlayStation Classic in 2018: a mini console that came preloaded with 20 of the best games for the system.
The PS One was a smaller and lighter version of the original Playstation that was released in 2000.
It was released in July of 2000, which made it a good transition device as the Western market was still waiting for the October release of the PS2.
This was my first Playstation, and I remember holding it in my hands and thinking “HOW?!”.
Same games in a teeny tiny game console that could easily fit in your backpack to take to your homie’s house.
The PS One helped establish the standard of releasing a “Slim” type model of a game console several years after the initial iteration.
Which both contributed to the lifespan of the console for Sony, developers, merchants and players. And of course… make the company more dollars. Everybody wins.
If you can’t get your hands on a first gen Playstation console, you can revisit some of those game titles on any one of the 12 Best PlayStation Emulators.
The PlayStation 2 was first released in Japan in March 2000. It later came to the US in October and Europe in November.
The PS2 was part of the sixth-generation console era, and it’s competition was the Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Xbox.
And while those devices offered some strong competition, the Playstation 2 absolutely dominated the market.
To this day, it is still the number one selling game console of all time at over 155 million units worldwide.
It also took a pretty high spot on our list of the 10 Best Retro Games Consoles (that’s better than selling 155 million units).
And with a game library of over 10,000 titles, it is easy to see why the console was so popular.
Just take a look at the list of 53 Best PS2 Games Of All Time. Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy X, God of War, Dark Cloud, Devil May Cry…. come on!
The Playstation 2 had been in development since the release of the original console back in 1994.
Some of the big selling points for the PS2 were the built-in DVD player and internet connectivity.
Many people picked up a Playstation 2 based purely on those two things, even if they never intended to play games on it.
The Playstation 2 was absolutely one of the most exciting console launches of all time, and continued to blow people away years into it’s lifespan.
Twelve years in total until Sony decided to finally discontinue the Playstation 2.
That was six years after the PS3! That just goes to show the demand for the console.
We absolutely loved the Playstation 2, and it still holds a special place in our hearts and our gaming history.
Following the success of the PS One, Sony launched a smaller and slimmer iteration of the PS2 console: the PlayStation 2 Slim.
Of course, it was smaller, slimmer, and quieter.
And the Slim also came with a built in ethernet port and still worked with any of the 10 Best PS2 Accessories.
Through the years, Sony released a few iterations of the PS2 Slim, modifying ports, adapters, and of course… making it lighter.
The final model in the Slim series was released in 2008, which was two years after the released of the PS3.
As if creating one of the best home console lines wasn’t enough, Sony decided to double down and also create one of the best handheld consoles.
The PlayStation Portable (PSP-1000) was released in December of 2004 and competed with the Nintendo DS series.
Where the PSP had a strong advantage was in it’s form factor and its graphics capabilities.
The PSP also could connect to the PS2, PS3, a computer, other PSP devices and the internet through the built in WIFI.
This could be considered Sony’s first handheld console as the previously mentioned PocketStation was barely a game console. But it certainly wouldn’t be their last.
Several revisions of the PSP were released in its ten year lifespan, including the PSP-2000 aka the PSP Slim (PSP 1000 VS PSP 2000 – What Are The Differences?), PSP-3000 aka the PSP Brite, PSP Go, and the PSP Street.
Like with any Playstation console, the PSP came heavy with a list of amazing game titles. Check out our list of the 55 Best PSP Games Of 2022.
The PSP was truly a technical marvel at the time, and is still one of the favorite handhelds of the retro gaming community. It is not unusual to see a few on my Instagram feed daily.
Don’t worry, this won’t be the last time we will see a handheld console from Sony. Stay tuned for that…
You know what’s better than two? Three!
That’s right… The PlayStation 3 first hit the streets in November of 2006 and was direct competition to the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii.
As you might expect, it was a technological powerhouse at the time of its release.
The PS3 was the first home video game console that used blu-ray disks for game storage due to the sheer size of the game files.
The release of the Playstation 3 was met with some hesitation due to the high price tag compared to the competition, but slowly grew in popularity as hit game titles were released for the console.
And hits they were. Check out our list of the 25 Best PS3 Games Of All Time. Drooling? Us too.
The Last of Us, Portal 2, Dishonored, Killzone 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Uncharted 3. Wow.
The Playstation 3 was also the first home to something we would all know and love… The Playstation Network.
Much like Microsoft, Sony was moving towards an online universe for their consoles, making product updates and purchases easy.
This would be where you could download game demos, purchase full games, rent movies, or patch your games with the latest updates.
And they integrated social media type features into the console as well, encouraging gamers to stay connected and earning trophies!
The Playstation 3 was where we saw Sony’s line of consoles enter into the modern generation of home entertainment as we still know it today.
You should see this one coming now… In 2009, Sony introduced the new slimmer iteration of the PS3.
Slim models of home game consoles have always been hits with consumers, but the PlayStation 3 Slim sold particularly well at the time of its launch.
It was pretty much universally praised for the improvements made to the hardware and the new lower price.
Sony wasn’t done with the Playstation 3 yet. Stay tuned to see how much “slimmer” this thing could really go.
But first, remember we promised more handheld consoles?
The PlayStation Vita is the second generation handheld game console from Sony released in December 2011.
The Vita featured a 5 inch OLED touchscreen, bluetooth, wifi, optional 3g, and was powered with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU and a quad-core SGX543MP GPU.
It is said that Sony intended to bridge the handheld game console world with the growing mobile gaming world in one perfect portable gaming device.
While it’s first year sales were quite high, the interest in the Vita fell short of expectations after that.
The Vita is said to have sold around 16 million units in total.
Those sales numbers included the second iteration of the Vita, the PCH-2000 from 2013.
That updated model, or the PS Vita Slim, was smaller and lighter and swapped out the OLED screen for a more affordable LCD solution.
Are you a fan of the Playstation Vita?
Did you know that there is a pretty large community of gamers who still love the Vita and have even hacked them to emulate many of our favorite retro game consoles?
Learn more about that here: What Can A Hacked PS Vita Do?
And of course, if you missed some of the games from that generation and want to give them a try, you can check out the Best PS Vita Emulator.
For now, it would seem that Sony has put handheld gaming on the back burner.
They did recently announce a mobile phone peripheral that allows you to stream play games from your PS5, the Backbone One.
But a dedicated handheld console does not seem to be coming anytime soon.
The third and final iteration of the PS3 would come to us in 2012 as the “PlayStation 3 Super Slim”.
As you might expect… smaller, lighter, and the quieter.
Unfortunately, this slim model was not so well received compared to the previous PS3 Slim.
Critics called its design cheap and most people hated the new disc loading system.
Nonetheless, the new iteration of the PS3 managed to sell quite a few units in its short lifespan while eager gamers awaited the incoming evolution to the Playstation series.
What would that evolution be? Glad you asked:
Oh yeah baby… the Playstation 4. Sony’s latest and greatest home video game console in 2013.
The new design was modern and clean. The contrasting glossy and matte surfaces. Yummy.
Plus those new DualShock 4 controllers were absolutely awesome. Maybe the greatest video game controller of all time for me.
Launched in November of 2013, the Playstation 4 introduced a new AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) that was less complex than the PS3’s processor, but delivered some of the most powerful processing of that time.
As to be expected, the PS4 put further emphases on the Playstation Network and all of Sony’s many online services.
Social networking and game streaming was bigger than ever, and Sony was making themselves a comfortable home for those looking to keep their gaming social.
The launch of the Playstation 4 was very well received, and Sony seemed to listen to the desires of the gaming community and deliver something beyond their wildest dreams.
It was also noted that the PS4 had a very strong advantage over the performance of its competition, the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch.
Critics loved it. Gamers loved it. I loved it. My girlfriends (who were not gamers) loved it. Everybody wins.
Worldwide, the PS4 has sold over 106 million consoles to date. That puts it at the #4 spot on the highest selling game consoles of all time (fitting).
Yes, we also got a PlayStation 4 Slim in 2016.
You know how this goes by now: 40% smaller, some updated ports, same price.
And you can still play the Best PS4 Games… but now with less weight strain on your entertainment unit.
Oh… and it came in white! Something we will see again at the end of this list of all Playstation consoles.
If you loved the Playstation 4, and were not necessarily in any rush to go slimmer, perhaps a performance boost would be more your jam?
With the constant evolution of gaming technology advancing at an accelerated rate… it’s becoming more difficult for home console makers to keep a capable console on the market.
Well, Sony did not want the wait for the PS5 to give gamers reason to feel like the Playstation was a weak option in the 2016-2020 gaming landscape.
So in November of 2016 (Sony loves to launch consoles right before Christmas, huh?) we got the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Upgraded PS4 hardware, 4K rendering, better PlayStation VR performance, and all the internal power boosting you might expect.
This allowed for games to run faster, smoother, less stress on the hardware, and added a lot of upscaling and framerate boosts to older games automatically.
Your favorite games would look and play better than ever.
The launch of the PlayStation 5 in 2020 was not without the covid pandemic related delays and chip shortage issues we would come to see and expect for pretty much any technology launch that year.
Of course, we all knew the PS5 was coming… it was announced in 2019. Long before anybody heard of a “covid”.
Both Sony and Microsoft’s generation nine consoles faced the same kind of delays and shortages with their releases planned for 2020.
Delays and shortages aside, what was the Playstation 5?
Launched in November of 2020, the Playstation 5 was Sony’s latest and greatest home video game console.
Needless to say, the PS5 came jam-packed with all of the latest and greatest hardware technologies.
The Playstation 5 uses solid-state memory for faster access to game data, an AMD GPU, 4K resolution display at up to 120 frames per second, ray tracing, and 3D audio effects.
All of that power requires some pretty extensive cooling solutions, and in both the PS5 and Microsoft’s latests consoles, we see those cooling systems becoming almost the star of the show.
And a feature that is becoming a standard in the current generation of game consoles… the Playstation 5 is also backwards compatible with many PS4 game titles.
Annoyingly, we have to talk about covid again…
Due to the pandemic’s effects on the world, the economy, supply chains, marketing, and pretty much everything else… the current generation of home video gaming has been in a weird holding position.
It feels like we have barely even gotten any momentum yet, almost two years after the PS5 and Xbox Series S line officially hit the market.
I was only able to actually locate a Playstation 5 to purchase this last month. So almost two years had passed until I had even experienced the magic of the new technology.
And it’s not just hardware that has seen delays. Software developers have also had gigantic impact from the pandemic, which means game development moved much slower than anticipated, and we have yet to really see many game titles come to the PS5.
Of course, with it’s backwards compatibility, we have seen a lot of PS4 games be offered as dual PS4/PS5 compatibility.
But true current gen games that were made specifically for the technological advances of the PS5 are few.
So while the PS5 is here… we have yet to see the true potential of the device, and we can only assume that once we start seeing anticipated game titles finally released and consoles finally in the homes of gamers…
The Playstation 5 will surely shine and be remembered as one of the best home video game consoles of all time.
Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.