The PS development originally began as a joint venture between Sony and Nintendo to create a CD add-on to compete with the SEGA CD, and TurboGrafx CD. The add-on would give nintendo the ability to produce games that would greatly benefit from the space on a CD. Speculation, rumors, and insider information has lead to the belief that the add-on would have also given the SNES default capabilities similar to the Super FX chip. The "Play Station" was announced at the 1991 Consumer Electronics Show. However, Nintendo and Sony didn't see eye to eye regarding market and licensing plans which lead to Nintendo going to Philips for the CD add-on project...the CD-i.
This did not deter Sony from going ahead with the project. As of 1994/95, the PlayStation was a popular 32 bit console that had amazing 3D graphics for home games. Graphics that blew away everything that Nintendo and Sega were attempting with their Super FX chipset and 32x (respectively). The SEGA Saturn, which was released a year early in North America, still didn't have the 3D power that the PlayStation displayed.
As of June 30, 2007, the PlayStation worldwide library was an impressive 7,918 total titles. This number does not appear to include reprints, or reissued titles.
The original couple lines of the PlayStation suffered from a variety of problems. One being the laser unit for the CD-ROM being made entirely of plastic that lead to quick wear and tear. The other major issue was overheating due to the console not incorporating a fan, and not enough ventilation.
The PlayStation was also a popular device amongst pirates due to the ease of soldering on a modchip that bypassed the encryption software. Some companies were able to develop discs that managed to get around the encryption, but thanks to equipment attached via the I/O Port. The I/O Port was later removed on later revisions (SCPH-900x) to combat this, but new methods were devised, such as the GameShark going to "memory stick" style dongles.
The PlayStation controller offered one of the best designs in controllers. The design allowed the controller to sit comfortably in players hands, regardless of the size of their hands. Later additions of the Dual Analog sticks, and rumble did little to alter the size, and overall design of the controller. The design was so good in fact that it has changed very little to this very day on the PS4.
The peripherals released for the PlayStation include the Memory Card that offered save spaces for games. The Namco designed NegCon was the first analog controller for the PlayStation. It was intended mostly for the popular Ridge Racer franchise as a driving style controller. There was a couple variations of light guns released. Sony has also seen its share of arcade sticks, and steering wheel controllers, as well. However, one that has gained the most interest in North America, but never released was the "PocketStation" which was about the size of the standard Memory Card, but had a set of buttons, AND a screen...similar to the Dreamcast VMU's.
The PlayStation was finally discontinued on March 31, 2005 after selling 102.49 million units.