A special present for the exact day of the PlayStation’s 24th birthday.

Back in 1994, it was seen as a risky move when newcomer Sony jumped into the video game console business with both feet by releasing the PlayStation on December 3. It turned out to be one of the smartest decisions in the history of the industry though, so this year, Sony is doing it again.

The company has just announced that it’s developing a PlayStation Classic mini console, following in the footsteps of recently released retro machines as Nintendo’s NES and Super NES Classic Editions, as well as SNK’s Neo Geo Mini. The PlayStation Classic launches worldwide on December 3, the PlayStation’s 24th birthday.

In keeping with the trend, the PlayStation Classic is a reduced-scale version of the original, 45 percent smaller than the angular first-generation version of the first-generation PlayStation. Its controllers are also replicas of the original no-analog stick pads, though you do get two, despite the 1994 PlayStation being packaged with only one.

But while the PlayStation Classic is releasing on the same day as the original PlayStation, its library won’t be limited to launch titles. Sony is promising 20 pre-loaded games, and has revealed the list will include the world-changing Final Fantasy VII, speed-and-sound sensation R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, third-round Rave War Tekken 3, adorably quirky Jumping Flash, and underappreciated fantasy cowboy sleeper hit Wild Arms.

Modern conveniences include HDMI output and, to the relief of busy modern gamers, a save state/suspend play function, activated by hitting the console’s “reset” button.

Instead of a powered CD tray, the original PlayStation had a clamshell design with a spring-loaded cover. For the PlayStation Classic, Sony says that pressing the “open” button allows you to change “virtual discs.”

It’s a little unclear exactly what this means, though. Does pressing the “open” button bring you back to a central hub menu where you can switch to playing another game? Is it how you make the emulated games recognize that you’ve inserted the original version’s second or third disc for multi-disc games like Final Fantasy VII? Or could this perhaps be a built-in method by which gamers can select other titles to be released in future software bundles for the same piece of PlayStation Classic hardware?

Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to have to wait a little longer for more details regarding the virtual disc function. It’s also mum about the remaining 15 included games, which may very well differ by region, since high school dating simulator Tokimeki Memorial is about as popular outside of Japan as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was within it.

▼ Japanese PlayStation Classic announcement trailer, with pricing information

On the other hand, Sony has let us know how much the PlayStation Classic will cost: 9,980 yen (US$90) in Japan, US$99 in the U.S., 99 Euros in the EU, and AU$149.99 in Australia, which is about a third of the cost that the PlayStation (which didn’t include a pack-in game) cost at release in 1994.

Sources: YouTube/PlayStation Japan via Otakomu, YouTube/PlayStation, YouTube/PlayStation Australia
Top image: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Images: YouTube/PlayStation, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he really wishes Sony would bring back black and blue discs for PlayStation games.