Sony Unveils PlayStation Classic

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Following the ongoing trend of late that has been running for the last few years, Sony Interactive Entertainment have entered the fray and this morning announced their own entry in the seemingly never-ending swathe of mini-consoles when they unveiled the PlayStation Classic. This small form factor version of the original PlayStation is set to launch worldwide on 3rd December 2018 (24 years after the original release in Japan) for £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99.

What Is The PlayStation Classic?

As with similar consoles, the PlayStation Classic is a cut-down mini plug and play console. In this particular instance, it’s based on the original PlayStation first released in 1994. It will ship with 20 pre-installed games, and two recreations of the original PlayStation joypads. As with its peers, it connects to any modern television by way of the included HDMI lead and is powered via USB with the included cable (although it doesn’t come with an AC plug).

PlayStation Classic - what's included

The Games

20 licensed games will be included with the PlayStation Classic although Sony have only unveiled five of these so far. These are Final Fantasy VII (Square Enix), Jumping Flash! (Sony Interactive Entertainment), R4 Ridge Racer Type 4 (Bandai Namco), Tekken 3 (Bandai Namco), and Wild Arms (Sony Interactive Entertainment). While the others have yet to be named, Sony have hinted that not all games will be the same for all regions for the console.

Adding More Games

It’s no secret that owners have been able to mod the NES and SNES Mini to add additional games to them. Sony have hinted that this won’t be possible with the PlayStation Classic. Disappointingly, there won’t be the opportunity to add games to the machine through any official channels either. This is something that has surprised us for one simple reason – the existence of PSOne Classics.

For over a decade, the PlayStation Store has been offering original PlayStation games as digital downloads for use on the PlayStation Portable, PS3 and PS Vita for as little as £1.99 each. With around 200 titles available this would be an incredible opportunity for Sony to not only expand this service but to open this up to PlayStation Classic owners. Marketed properly it could give gamers the chance to expand their consoles legitimately and from a huge library of great games. Sadly this is a missed opportunity.

PlayStation Classic - size comparison

Availability

Sony have indicated that there will be limited quantities at launch. Remembering the retail fiasco that was the NES Mini, this is likely to lead to supply shortages. It already seems that scalpers are attempting to monopolise stocks for profit so I’d strongly advise pre-ordering quickly if you want one or waiting until after the Christmas rush. Knowing Sony, it won’t be a limited run product though so don’t pay exorbitant prices – just wait for stocks to become available.

Verdict

On a personal level, I’m a fan of these Mini consoles. They’re a great way of introducing people to games and systems they may have missed first time around. They’re also a cheap and convenient way to play hard to find games legitimately without having to resort to illegal emulation and downloads. Just looking at the initial line-up, it’s certainly going to be cheaper than buying a PlayStation and games separately so there’s no denying the value for money on offer.

It must be said that I am disappointed with the choice of controllers. Ridge Racer Type 4 makes use of analogue controls so I would have felt that including the DualShock controller would have been a better option. Understandably this has been done for commercial reasons but at least it uses USB connectors so third party controllers should be able to be used.

Regardless, I’ll still be in line for one of these come December. I love the convenience that these offer and already have an array of them under the main family television. With the right games, this could be perfect for quick gaming sessions on a mix of classic PlayStation titles while leaving my original hardware for more dedicated gaming when I have more time to spare.

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