Celebrating 29 Years Of Sony PlayStation: The Almost Nintendo PlayStation Story

Before the Sony PlayStation, there was the Nintendo PlayStation.

Story Highlights

  • Since its release in 1994, the Sony PlayStation has dominated the console market for 29 years.
  • Initially, Sony partnered with Nintendo to develop a CD-based add-on called the Nintendo PlayStation.
  • Due to licensing issues, the partnership crumbled which led to the birth of the PlayStation.

Since its release on December 3, 1994, the Sony PlayStation has achieved an incredible milestone of 29 years. This iconic console has captured the hearts of gamers worldwide, revolutionizing the way we play and experience interactive entertainment. However, beneath its remarkable triumphs lies a fascinating tale of how the console almost became the Nintendo PlayStation

The Failed Partnership Between Nintendo & Sony

The unreleased prototype console, the Nintendo PlayStation
The unreleased prototype console, the Nintendo PlayStation

It all began in 1998 when Sony embarked on the development of a CD-based add-on for the Super Nintendo. The two companies were initially friendly and worked well together during the early stages. Countless prototypes were created and tested, fostering a promising future for both Sony and Nintendo.

Despite a promising start, the partnership would soon start crumbling as Nintendo feared that Sony could get more control over the partnership as the company wanted to control licensing for the CD version of games in the Super Nintendo’s disk format. As no mutual agreement was made, Nintendo contacted Phillips to co-develop a CD-ROM enhancement for the Super Nintendo without Sony’s awareness.

In June 1991, Sony announced their partnership with Nintendo at the Consumer Electronics Show, revealing their development of a new console add-on called the PlayStation for the Super Nintendo. The idea received a lot of positive feedback. However, during Nintendo’s press conference the next day, when asked about the PlayStation add-on, Nintendo claimed that the Super Disk was being developed by Phillips.

PlayStation: The Console That Changed The Gaming Industry Forever

The Sony PlayStation changed the gaming industry with its strong exclusives
The Sony PlayStation changed the gaming industry with its strong exclusives

Having felt betrayed by Nintendo, Sony decided to make its console. While Nintendo’s partnership with Philips was a failure, Sony made history with the PlayStation as popular exclusive titles like Tekken, Crash Bandicoot, and Tomb Raider, received widespread acclaim. The Sony PlayStation dethroned Nintendo with a masterful blend of tech, timing, and developer love.

While Nintendo clutched onto outdated cartridges, Sony embraced the power of CDs, unleashing sprawling narratives, cinematic cutscenes, and mature themes that resonated beyond Nintendo’s family-friendly bubble. Moreover, Sony wooed developers with low licensing fees and creative freedom, building a powerhouse third-party library that Nintendo couldn’t match.

Finally, it targeted a maturing market with edgy marketing and a grown-up console image, siphoning away Nintendo’s loyal base. The PlayStation’s impact wasn’t just commercial, it redefined the entire console landscape, leaving Nintendo scrambling to catch up and forever altering the balance of power. Sony didn’t just win, it deconstructed and rebuilt the game in their image, leaving Nintendo with the echoes of a bygone era.

While Sony was enjoying its success, what would’ve happened if the partnership between the two companies succeeded? Interestingly, in 2015, a YouTuber named Dieb0ldly showed the unreleased prototype, and it worked. It can run both cartridges as well as CD-ROM games after some tinkering. The hybrid console showed potential if it was launched. Luckily, we still got to see what could’ve been if the deal was a success.


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The story of the almost Nintendo PlayStation is a stark reminder of how pivotal moments, big and small, shape the world we live in. We might’ve lived in a world where the rivalry between Sega and Nintendo was still going and played the successors to the Nintendo PlayStation or the Sega Dreamcast. It makes you wonder how different the Console Wars could’ve been if there were no disputes between the two companies.

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VentureBeat

Ahmed Mansoor is a News Writer who has a deep passion for single-player adventure games. He loves to keep tabs on the gaming and technology industries and loves to break stories that interest his audience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and several years of experience writing for games. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Written 600+ News Stories.

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