On December 3, Sony ($SNE) will release the PlayStation Classic, a miniature videogame console pre-loaded with 20 games that originally came out for the first PlayStation. While the full list of games has yet to be announced, the console will include Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII, regarded by many video game critics as one of the best role-playing-games of all time.
It's a similar concept to what Nintendo ($TYO:7974) did with the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES Classic consoles, as it is set to bring a wave of nostalgia to those who owned an original PlayStation as a kid or teenager. Gamers got their first taste of the classic console when PlayStation announced it on September 18.
Right when it was announced, the console was available for pre-order at Gamestop ($GME) for $99.99. It was so popular that it sold out at several online retailers at times during the month.
When it was in stock, it outsold everything else at the nation's top video game retailer when looking at the store's best-selling items in September. That includes gift cards — AKA the gift non-gamers give to their friends and family when all else fails — as well as Nintendo's much anticipated video game Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
|Name||Category Rank (Average)|
|PlayStation Store $20 Gift Card||2.166666667|
|PlayStation Store $10 Gift Card||2.833333333|
|Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition Console||4.6875|
|PlayStation Store $50 Gift Card||5.875|
|$20 Xbox Gift Card||9.25|
|$10 Xbox Gift Card||13.33333333|
|$5 Xbox Gift Card||13.79166667|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Special Edition||14.54166667|
|$50 Xbox Gift Card||15.91666667|
Another interesting quirk in the PlayStation Classic's release is that it come during a new era for video game emulation, one where Intellectual Property law is rearing its ugly head. Recently, Nintendo cracked down on emulator websites by suing those who offer copies of retro Nintendo games in the form of "read-only memory" (ROM) files for free on their websites. Gamers argue that these ROMs are essentially the archives for video game history, and the emulators are key to preserving its history. IP law says otherwise.
Currently, it is possible to emulate the original PlayStation on a computer with good enough hardware, an Xbox One, or ironically enough, an SNES Classic. It is also possible to create ROMs of old PlayStation games, or even download these ROMs for free to play on these emulators. But we're a data company, not a "show you how to get Final Fantasy VII for free and get sued by Square Enix" company.
Furthermore, there is currently a selection of original PlayStation games that can be bought on the PlayStation Network, Sony's virtual video game marketplace, and played on the PlayStation 4, Sony's current console. Of course, Sony allows itself to do this for its own benefit, and not all games on the PlayStation Classic are also available on the PlayStation Network (i.e. Tekken 3) as of this writing.
While Sony has done far less than Nintendo in claiming copyright within the minefield of fan-created emulators, it will not only be interesting to see how the PlayStation Classic sells after its release — if any more consoles are available, that is — but also if it will enter that legal arena when it does come out.