The PlayStation Classic is a Thing, and I’m Not Sure Why
I guess because Nintendo is already working on its third “classic” console, the other major gaming manufacturers feel like they need to get on this nostalgic train before the steam runs out? Sony just announced that it will launch the very-original sounding PlayStation Classic on December 3 in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australian—just in time for the holidays.
The $99 mini console will ship with 20 original “groundbreaking” titles including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. According to Sony, the console is around 45 percent smaller than the original PlayStation while still emulating the old school look and feel. It’ll ship with two original-style controllers, a USB cable, and an HDMI cable to connect the console to the TV (because 32-bit is going to look amazing in hi-def).
In theory, I get why Sony is doing this. They want to capitalize on a concept that has proven to be successful and lucrative for Nintendo. Margins on something like this have to be ridiculously high, otherwise I’m not sure these classic-branded products would continue to be a thing. And, of course, there’s the media buzz and excitement these things create within the gaming community—it’s easy, free press.
But still. Why?
PlayStation launched the original console not even 25 years ago, and the games aren’t nearly as culturally relevant as the ones Nintendo was able to roll out. NES Classic was celebrating 35 years since its launch and had titles like the original Mario Brothers, Pac-Man, Kirby’s Adventures, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Zelda, Tecmo Bowl, and more. Final Fantasy carries a lot of weight for Sony and its fans, but I’m not sure you could put it on a platform with any of those Nintendo titles as far as mass appeal goes.
What might’ve saved the PlayStation Classic for me is if Sony added disc compatibility to their new mini console. They’re already stealing one idea by launching a classic console, so why not go the distance and try something Sega already has and let me play my old games on it as well? Or, at the very least, let me know up front if I’m going to be able to load new titles onto the console or if you’re going to make me hack into the thing and work for it.
Really, I think for me the big problem is that this feels incredibly uninspired, unoriginal, and a little too late. Sure, it’ll probably sell out and be one of the hot items this year. But I really think Sony can do better. It feels like a total cash grab on their part, and that’s about it.