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The Week in Games
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PlayStation joins the battle!
It’s August 1995, and you’ve just turned on your TV to find a BBC news report discussing Sony’s imminent arrival on the UK gaming scene. People are excited. The Japanese electronics giant was already a leader in many sectors and wanted a piece of an expanding market worth more than $20 billion worldwide.
In just a few weeks’ time, the PlayStation would launch.
Sony’s earlier attempt to collaborate with Nintendo on a SNES add-on tentatively named the “Play Station” or “SNES-CD” didn’t quite go to plan when Nintendo pulled an 11th-hour U-turn and backed out of the deal - a move sometimes referred to as “the industry’s greatest ever betrayal” (if you don’t know the story, you can find all the details about how Nintendo created its own fiercest rival in this excellent Vulture Beat article from 2018).
Following brief discussions with Sega that also amounted to nothing, Sony decided to go it alone, drawing upon their vast research and development departments and the talents of “The father of PlayStation” Ken Kutaragi to create a CD-based console. CDs were cheap to produce, and Sony’s music division already had experience and expertise working with them.
This format choice would prove instrumental in the success of the PlayStation not only because the games could be sold at a lower price than Nintendo’s (who would stick with cartridges for their competing console, the N64), but because it was also capable of playing audio CDs - a trick Sony would repeat to even greater success with the DVD-playing PlayStation 2 five years later.
More important than the choice of format, however, was the quality and quantity of games, and perhaps most of all, the genius of Sony’s marketing teams. The PlayStation was pitched directly towards teenagers and young adults via edgy and often controversial TV and print ads, as well as through collaborations with the likes of Ministry of Sound and graphic design house The Designers Republic.
By 1997 there were 52 nightclubs across the UK with dedicated PlayStation rooms, and games like WipEout became a permanent fixture in post-pub routines.
Although many iconic PlayStation games such as Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and even WipEout itself were also available on Sega’s Saturn, Sony’s marketing gurus created an aura around their console that felt new and exciting, and played a huge role in changing the perception that video games were just for kids.
They were for grown ups now too. They were for cool people.
There’s an alternate timeline where Nintendo didn’t back out of their deal with Sony and the Nintendo Play Station was born. We’ll never know how that one would have turned out. What we do know however, is the fallout from that deal meant Sony entered the market on its own terms with a point to prove and a fire in its belly, and changed gaming forever.
It’s perhaps a bit much to suggest the introduction of the PlayStation is the biggest thing to happen to the games industry. But few events before or since have had such a sudden, sizeable and lasting impact on it as Sony’s little grey CD player.
BBC Archive
#OnThisDay 1995: Electronics giant Sony had eyes on the UK games console market, with PlayStation due to launch in just over a month. Can it really compete with industry behemoths Sega and Nintendo? https://t.co/M237FbXSt7
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Take care everyone, I hope you enjoy the rest of the newsletter.
Jeff
NEWS
Deals!
  • PlayStation’s Summer Sale rolls on with a huge selection of titles available for up to 75% off. Last week saw big guns Horizon: Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7 added to the selection.
  • Sony are also offering a 7-day free trial of their new Extra and Premium PlayStation Plus tiers.
  • Xbox are running an Action RPG sale and a Super Saver Sale with up to 80% off in each, plus an Ultimate Game Add-on Sale with up to 50% off DLC and season passes.
  • The Nintendo eShop Showdown Sale is now live, with up to 80% off a range of competitive and co-op multiplayer titles. But only until August 14th.
  • Fanatical’s Summer Sale is now on, with offers on thousands of PC games.
  • You can currently pick up 12 Resident Evil titles for £24 in Humble’s Decades of Horror Bundle.
More!
The Switch Weekly newsletter is fast approaching an incredible 300 issues. Switch Weekly brings you the best Nintendo articles, reviews, videos, news stories and upcoming games, and this week has teamed up with The Week in Games to help share each other’s work!
If you’re not already a subscriber, it comes highly recommended. You can sign up and view previous issues here.
NEW RELEASES:
This week saw the release of Two Point Hospital follow-up Two Point Campus. A college-themed entry in the ever growing series of Theme Park/Theme Hospital-inspired ‘Two Point’ management sims.
This week also saw Marvel’s Spider-Man swing from PlayStation across to PC. Digital Foundry have yet to give a final verdict, but have discussed the day-one changes you can expect to find in this new version.
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – August 9
(Switch, PC) – August 10
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – August 11
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – August 11
(PC) – August 12  – Read review
UPCOMING RELEASES:
(Switch, PC) – August 16
(PS4, PS5, PC) – August 16
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC) – August 18
(Switch) – August 18
(PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) – August 18
(PS4, PS5, Switch, PC) – August 18
(PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC) – August 19
GAME OF THE WEEK
A randomly selected game each week! Any and all games are eligible for selection regardless of age, platform, popularity, or otherwise.
This week, the honour goes to…
Abzu (2016)
With a team that included several developers who had previously worked on ThatGameCompany’s Journey - including its art and sound directors - its perhaps no surprise that Giant Squid’s Abzu was a meditative and utterly gorgeous underwater explore-em-up with an environment filled with spectacular sights.
Abzu is a unique and highly compelling delight throughout, and a truly lovely way to spend a lazy afternoon.
RECOMMENDED READS
By Patrick Klepek - Vice
Cats are undeniably cute, but that hardly explains why grandparents who haven’t touched a video game in decades are interested in Stray.
By Dean Takahashi - Venture Beat
We’ve got a simple message for gamers harassing game developers for perceived slights. Be nice. Be kind. And be patient.
By Willa Rowe - Inverse
The original ‘Street Fighter’ was admittedly a flawed game, but it created the blueprint for the entire fighting game genre.
By Dan Driver - The Mega Driver Mega Blog
This week Dan talks about the Virtua Gun, or Sega Stunner as it was known in the US, and why he feels the Saturn Light Gun was the best there ever was.
By Justin McGee - Nintendo Watcher
Justin looks back at what made the Nintendo 64 so great, and details everything you need to know about playing N64 games on the Switch.
By Sam Naji - GiBiz
Video games analyst Sam Naji looks at the changing price of video games and suggests why they may be relatively cheaper than in past generations.
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(These newsletters are part of a cross-promotion. Clicks/sign-ups directly help The Week in Games to grow)
CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS
Abyssal Archive
Tune & Fairweather - Pre-orders close August 14th
Kloa - Child of the Forest
Wildpad Games - Campaign ends August 18th
Game Boy & Virtual Boy Anthology
Geeks Line - Campaign ends August 21st
PIXELS FOREVER
Red Right Hand - Campaign ends August 24th
Nara: Facing Fire
Glowing Glade Studio - Campaign ends September 2nd
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…and that’s it for this week!
I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Week in Games! I’d be delighted if you would consider forwarding this email to anybody you think may like it, by sharing this link on social media, or simply telling people about it!
I’m always looking at ways to improve this newsletter, so if you have any comments, suggestions or enquiries, please reply to this email directly, write to jeff@jeffsayhi.com, or catch me on Twitter!
Thanks again, see you next week!
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The Week in Games
The Week in Games @jeffsayhi

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