The PlayStation Classic is now discounted after less than a month in stores – here's why US$60 could be the right price for one

SonyThe best part of the PlayStation Classic is the hardware.
  • The PlayStation Classic is a miniature version of the original 1996 console – Sony’s response to the wildly successful NES Classic and Super NES Classic released by Nintendo.
  • Sony released the PlayStation Classic on December 3 for US$99, with 20 built-in games included.
  • Less than a month later, the PlayStation Classic is already seeing discounts of 40% at major retailers, bringing its price down to $US60, perhaps suggesting that the retro console has been less successful than anticipated at the original price point.
  • While the response to the PlayStation Classic has been underwhelming, retro-gaming fans have found interesting ways to put the console’s hardware to use.

The PlayStation Classic is considered one of the most underwhelming video-game releases of 2018, disappointing fans with a lacklustre list of built-in games and subpar technology. Now, perhaps in an effort to goose sales, the PlayStation Classic seems to have already gotten a price drop at most major retailers – from $US99 to $US60.

You can snag it at Amazon Australia for AU$89. Other retailers have similar deals, too. Sony says the discount is a special promotion running through January 26, 2019.

When Sony announced the PlayStation Classic in September 2018, it seemed to be an effort to catch onto the retro-console wave started by Nintendo’s NES Classic in 2016. Nintendo repackaged the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super NES for nostalgic fans, and both miniature consoles were major retail hits. Like Nintendo’s classic consoles, the PlayStation Classic was preloaded with 20 memorable, old-school games and two controllers, but it was slightly more expensive, at $US99.

PlayStation ClassicSonyThe PlayStation Classic is small enough to fit in your palm.

However, there were some stark differences in how the final product functioned when compared with Nintendo’s releases. First, fans were upset with the 20 games picked for the system, feeling that a number of can’t-miss PlayStation games were left off the final list. Later on, fans realised that different regions were getting different games; in Japan, the PlayStation Classic had seven games that were not on the American console, and vice versa. Then it was determined that several games on the American console were actually running the European version of the game – which, for technical reasons, means that they literally run slower than they should.

Read more:
The 7 best and worst things about using Sony’s $US100 mini PlayStation 1, the PlayStation Classic

Even more curiously, players eventually discovered that the PlayStation Classic was running a version of PCSC, a free emulator used to play PlayStation games on computers. Furthermore, the emulator menu could be pulled up using specific USB keyboards, allowing players to enter cheats and alter other hidden game settings. This was particularly confusing considering that, otherwise, the PlayStation Classic lacked many basic features as compared with the Super NES Classic.

PlayStation ClassicSonyThe PlayStation Classic’s menus are pretty bare bones.

Finding value in a botched launch

So now, after that lukewarm response to the launch, major retailers are offering the PlayStation Classic for 40% off. But even at the reduced price, the PlayStation Classic’s shortcomings haven’t changed. So why should you consider buying it at $US60?

The biggest benefit of buying the PlayStation Classic at a reduced price is the hardware. The PlayStation Classic’s replica controllers are regular old USB devices and can easily be used for PC gaming, too. Wired controllers of similar quality cost at least $US20 each and wouldn’t be this perfect of a match for the original PlayStation pad. While the lack of analogue sticks makes them less than ideal for everyday use, retro-gaming fans can probably get value from them.

Additionally, since the PlayStation Classic has USB ports in the front, modders have already found ways to change the games that are installed on the console. If one has the patience to find and implement the right hacks, they can customise the PlayStation Classic game list to suit their own taste, as with the Super NES Classic before it.

So, if you have your heart set on playing games from the original PlayStation, now will likely be the best time to buy the PlayStation Classic with a discount and get the full system for the price of a single game. Just remember, while nostalgia helps ease the memories, not every game from the late ’90s was a classic.

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