The design concept for the Sony PlayStation originated in the mid-'80s, when Sony employee Ken Kutaragi pitched the idea of a Nintendo console that could read CD-ROMs. Nintendo was keen on it, but president Hiroshi Yamauchi eventually scrapped the contract because he felt that it granted Sony too much copyright control. Despite legal threats from Nintendo, Sony continued with the project and finally released the PlayStation in 1994.
It faced immediate competition from the Sega Saturn, which also hit Japanese stores in 1994, but the PlayStation prevailed both in sales and critical reception due to its superior graphics. Since it ran CDs rather than cartridges, the PlayStation used memory cards to save data (an important feature, as some games took dozens of hours to complete).
Its game library was particularly exceptional: the Gran Turismo, Tekken, and Metal Gear Solid series all began on PlayStation. The console also took up the Final Fantasy franchise and released four of its most lauded installments in VII, VIII, IX and the turn-based Tactics.
The Sony PlayStation is the second best-selling console of all time, after only the PlayStation 2.