Daily Reaction: The History of PlayStation Launch Lineups – PSOne, PS2, PS3, PS4

November 14, 2013Written by Dan Oravasaari

House PS4

With the PS4 set to hit stores in the US in only a matter of hours, the Daily Reaction crew of Sebastian Moss and Dan Oravasaari break down each of Sony’s launch lineups and see just how tomorrow will compare to almost two decades of console releases.

PlayStation – U.S. launch: September 9, 1995 – 10 Titles

Battle Arena Toshinden * ESPN Extreme Games * Kileak: The DNA Imperative * NBA Jam Tournament Edition * Power Serve 3D Tennis * Raiden Project * Rayman * Ridge Racer * Street Fighter: The Movie * Total Eclipse Turbo

Dan: Looking back at the first set of PlayStation games to ever hit the US market, it is hard to imagine that it has become the power-house that it has. But, if you remember back when these titles were released, they were in a market where 3D gaming as we know it was still mostly limited to the arcades and extremely high priced hardware like the 3DO. As the rise of the CD format was just starting to emerge as a gaming medium, it was Sony’s entry into the market that really gave it a home in the mass market and helped facilitate the industry we currently have. So, no matter what these games might look like now, they were the first of a new breed of gaming and should have a place in the heart of anyone lucky enough to have experienced them.

But, as a launch line-up goes, this isn’t actually that terrible of a selection, even though there were only 10 games to choose from.

Seb: The PS1 was new, unproven in the US and with only a few months of breathtaking sales in Japan to prove its worth. While many of the launch titles have slipped out of memory, hits like Rayman and Ridge Racer remain popular to this day. Importantly, what made the launch so special was that nearly every genre and game type that was around at the time was covered. But one blight on the launch was the console release of Street Fighter The Movie (the game), which, despite intriguing characters that used real pictures, was a terrible game.

PlayStation 2 – U.S. launch: October 26, 2000 – 27 Titles

Armored Core 2 * DOA2: Hardcore * Dynasty Warriors 2 * ESPN International Track & Field ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding * Eternal Ring * Evergrace * FantaVision * Gungriffon Blaze * Madden NFL 2001 * Midnight Club: Street Racing * NHL 2001 * Orphen: Scion of Sorcery * Q-Ball: Billiards Master * Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 * Ridge Racer V * Silent Scope * Smuggler’s Run * SSX * Street Fighter EX3 * Summoner * Surfing H3O * Swing Away Golf * Tekken Tag Tournament * TimeSplitters * Unreal Tournament * Wild Wild Racing * X-Squad

Seb: Now it’s time to hear about the king – the best selling console of all time, managing an unbeatable 150 million sales and 1.5 billion game sales on over 3850 titles.

Coming riding off of the smash hit that was the PS1, everyone knew that the PS2 would be a big hit, but concerns existed over the Dreamcast’s fierce competition – it had sold half a million units in its first two weeks.

But no one should have held any concerns, as sales of the PS2, games, and accessories raked in a whopping $250 million on the first day, easily outpacing the Dreamcast’s $97 million. The PS2 was on fire – everyone wanted one, even taking to a circa-2000-eBay to purchase the console at an exorbitant price.

Dan: It is hard to say how much of the PS2’s success was due to its strong launch, but looking at the number of titles, as well as the diversity, it is hard to find much fault with it. Sports fans had more than enough options to choose from, RPG gamers had new franchises seemingly pop out of nowhere, shooter fans had one of the highest regarded shooter franchises kick off with TimeSplitters and even puzzle fans got FantaVision. The PS2 launch simply spoiled the industry, you simply cannot find a lineup that has ever been met with so many games that became cult-classics – SSX, TimeSplitters, Midnight Club: Street Racing and Tekken Tag Tournament to name a few.

PlayStation 3 – U.S. launch: November 17, 2006 – 14 Titles

Call of Duty 3 * Genji: Days of the Blade * Madden NFL 07 * Marvel: Ultimate Alliance * Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire * Need for Speed: Carbon * NBA 07 * NBA 2K7 * NHL 2K7 * Resistance: Fall of Man * Ridge Racer 7 * Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 * Tony Hawk’s Project 8 * Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom

Dan: The PS3 was completely behind the competition, released during the Wii/motion craze and was more expensive than any of its competition. So, the titles that it came out with needed to make sure it captured a piece of the market right out of the gate. Sadly, most of the launch lineup was filled with sports titles that were available elsewhere and its biggest title was blown up to be the ‘Halo killer,’ a title it couldn’t live up to. This left the PS3 in a bad situation as most people couldn’t afford the system, and a number of adopters were simply using it as an affordable Blu-ray player, meaning game sales couldn’t match the install base.

As we are starting to say our goodbyes to the console that has been with us for the better part of a decade, it is good to see that the PS3 had eventually found its stride and place within the market. This is something that has shown the industry that no matter how bad you kick off a console launch, there will always be time to redeem yourself if you have a loyal enough fan base and you learn from your mistakes before it’s too late.

Seb: Yeah, the PS3’s launch was not pretty… God, people were so negative, and the insane price (especially in the UK) drove people away, and Sony did little to try to attract them back. For a launch line-up, most of it was pretty dull, just rehashes of sports games with marginal graphical upgrades.

The clear highlight was Resistance: Fall of Man (and Motorstorm in Europe), which, while it didn’t topple Halo, as Dan says, was still a damn good game. Unfortunately, after such a sparse launch, the drought didn’t end. Few games were released, moral was low, and PlayStation went through its darkest years.

But now PlayStation is on the way back up, and is preparing for a rebirth.

PlayStation 4 – U.S. launch: November 15, 2013 – 23 Titles

Angry Birds Star Wars * Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag * Battlefield 4 * Blacklight: Retribution * Call of Duty: Ghosts * Contrast * DC Universe Online * FIFA 14 * Flower * Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition * Just Dance 2014 * Killzone: Shadow Fall * Knack * Lego Marvel Super Heroes * Madden NFL 25 * NBA 2K14 * Need for Speed: Rivals * Resogun * Skylanders: Swap Force * Sound Shapes * Super Motherload * Trine 2: The Complete Story * Warframe

Seb: Ah, welcome to now. The PS4 is ready, you’re ready, and the shops are almost ready. Of course, while we don’t know exactly how the launch will go, it’s clear that it’ll be a roaring success. Selling out constantly, causing Sony to raise sales estimates and raking in over a million pre-orders worldwide as of August, no one doubts that sales will be through the roof.

After a masterful performance at gaming events and on social media, highlighted all the more by Microsoft’s baffling ineptitude, Sony is riding on a high like never before. Nostalgia is in the air, the fanboy fires have been stoked, Cerny has been declared a deity, and everyone is ready for some greatness.

But the question is, can the PS4 really live up to the hype?

Dan: Fans have been chomping at the bit for any morsel of news regarding the PS4 and its upcoming lineup of games, but sadly as reviews slowly start to trickle out, we have seen a dip in expectations. Looking at the lineup of titles, I think most people shouldn’t feel like we aren’t seeing a decent selection of games, even though it might be heavy on the shooter genre.

The PS3 generation was defined by a handful of titles that we are seeing now on the PS4, and while many complain about the abuse of sequels, if we look back at the previous launches, this is standard form. It is just that with the prevalence of the shooter genre over the past few years, it was only a matter of time until we saw that shift move onto the next generation of consoles. Thankfully, as the PS4 launches, we are not only seeing a number of solid established titles, we are also seeing the emergence of free-to-play and a push of independent titles to the mass market.

The PS4 launch, while probably not able to make everyone happy, is still a solid launch lineup and one that is only the beginning of what could be an amazing console cycle.

Which PS4 launch titles are you picking up? How do you think the PS4 release lineup compares to the previous generations? Let us know in the comments below, email us at [email protected] or send us your picks at Seb and Dan.