Sony's PlayStation Classic dropped to half-price at most retailers a mere few weeks after its release - and that's a perfect representation of its failure. In recent years, video game developers and publishers have been mining their libraries to produce a copious amount of remasters and remakes, and console manufacturers have now taken that trend to the next level. Instead of remaking each individual game, they've begun selling "classic" versions of old systems. It all started with Nintendo's NES Classic in 2016, which immediately became an enormous success.
Since then, Nintendo has gone on to release the Super NES Classic in 2017 and then re-release the NES Classic in 2018, with many people still believing (and possibly hoping) that the company will release an N64 Classic in the near future. But they're no longer the only ones capitalizing on nostalgia for these old consoles; Atari is currently building the Atari VCS, which is a Linux-based console based on the Atari 2600 design but is aiming to support modern games. While that system is still in development, Sony announced and released the PlayStation Classic this past fall.
Priced at $99.99 for its hardware, the PlayStation Classic released on December 3, 2018 - on the 24th anniversary of the original PlayStation console's release in Japan in 1994- and while it instantly sold quite well in Japan, the PlayStation Classic hasn't seen the same success in other countries. And now, over Christmas, Sony dropped the PlayStation Classic's price by almost half (it's currently $60 at some retailers), just a few weeks after its initial release.
Where The PlayStation Classic Went Wrong
Sony's PlayStation Classic could've been great, but its lack of "classic" games, its price, and its poor use of a popular and free emulator is what ultimately led to its middling sales outside of Japan. To begin with, the PlayStation Classic was one-third of the price of a brand-new PlayStation 4 ($299); considering that the NES and Super NES Classics were cheaper and contained games that people were excited to play again, it seems that the PlayStation Classic's price was a turn-off for potential buyers.
As for those games, the PlayStation Classic came bundled with 20 games. Great, right? Actually... no. Among those 20 games were titles such as Destruction Derby, Revelations: Persona, and Twisted Metal. Of course, Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil were there as well, but what about WipeOut, Spyro, and even Tomb Raider? A lot of the games people would associate with the original PlayStation were omitted from the PlayStation Classic. Even though it wasn't entirely Sony's fault, the fact that they released the PlayStation Classic with such a barren lineup contributed to the console's negative reception.
Plus, rather than building their own emulator to better optimize and display their classic games, in the same vein that Nintendo had done for their remade systems, Sony used an open-source emulator for the PlayStation Classic. While that isn't necessarily bad, in and of itself, the sheer act of doing so while still charging people $99.99 (for everything that we've mentioned) highlights Sony's apparent apathy for the PlayStation Classic, which ultimately makes its release nothing more than a pure cash-grab. Overall, the PlayStation Classic lacked everything that would've made it a classic experience in the modern age.