Sony jumps on the mini-console bandwagon with PlayStation Classic

Given Nintendo’s success with NES Classic and SNES Classic, it was only a matter of time before Sony jumped on the classic mini-console bandwagon. Now they have: PlayStation Classic will be released on December 3, with 20 games pre-loaded, including Final Fantasy VIIWild ARMs, Tekken 3Ridge Racer Type 4, and Jumping Flash.

The PlayStation Classic shares the same grey, bricky design as the original PlayStation (or PSX)  from 1994—not the most attractive console design by modern standards, but you can’t say it’s not iconic. It’s 45 percent smaller than the original model, making it roughly 2cm tall, 14cm wide, and 10cm deep. The “Reset” button serves as a sleep mode, and while the disc tray presumably doesn’t open, the “Open” button is the means by which you change virtual discs to swap between games. Saved games will be stored on virtual memory cards, though the unit still has (non-functional) memory card slots above the USB controller ports.

The controllers themselves are based on the original PlayStation controllers, meaning no Dual Shock or analog sticks (and no chance of Ape Escape, which was the one PSX game that made analog controls a requirement). Weirdly, it doesn’t include an AC adapter despite not being able to function without one, which seems an odd move for a console aimed at being something you can just pull out of the box, plug in, and play.

At the moment, the five games mentioned above are the only ones confirmed; Sony plans to announce the rest in the coming months. That leaves the door wide open to speculation, for the moment. Metal Gear Solid, a Crash Bandicoot, and a Spyro all seem like safe bets, given their prominence on PlayStation. Final Fantasy VIII would be nice, since it doesn’t look like we’ll get a remaster any time soon, but with only 20 games, I can’t imagine having two from the same series. Tenchu: Stealth Assassins could find a place, especially with the upcoming Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice channeling Tenchu‘s DNA. I’d be surprised if there isn’t a Gran Turismo, a Twisted Metal, or a WipEout, being Sony properties. These might be too niche for a console like the PlayStation Classic, but I’d love to see Klonoa: Door to PhantomileChocobo Racing, and Bushido Blade.

I’d also like to see some sort of DLC structure for buying additional games, which seems like the biggest missed opportunity with Nintendo’s mini consoles. No matter what games you pick, you’ll never be able to perfectly appeal to everyone’s tastes with the 20 games built in. Being able to buy additional games as DLC and curate your own personal nostalgic PlayStation experience, would be a wonderful thing indeed—and it could very lucrative for Sony. I’m probably reading too much into it, but I hope that Sony’s choice of “pre-loaded” as the word to describe the packaged games means downloadable ones might be an option. One can only hope.

PlayStation Classic is due out on December 3, 2018, at a recommended price of $99.99 USD / $129.99 CAN / €99.99 / $149.99 AUD / $169.99 NZD.

Matthew Codd

Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.