It’s rare for a company to have such a strong entry into the games market as Sony did with the original PlayStation. What started as a collaborative project with Nintendo in the late ’80s soon turned into its own product, taking the market by storm in 1994 in Japan and much of the rest of the world the following year. In March 1999, Sony told investors that it had shipped 54.42 million consoles, a figure that went north of 70 million over the following 12 months.
But the people heading up Sony’s brand new video game venture knew that it wasn’t enough to just do well the once — you needed to land another smash hit in the bag before you could consider yourself successful. Going into the PlayStation 2’s launch, there was a degree of trepidation among Sony’s leaders, all of whom had been in the industry for a while and knew what a fickle beast it could be.
“It was always in the back of my mind,” says Chris Deering, who was Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Europe’s boss at the time. “If PlayStation was ever successful, the real proof would be to have the follow up come out and do as well or maybe better.”