At the 1989 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nintendo of America’s then-chairman Howard Lincoln took the stage to reveal some unexpected news: the company was partnering with European electronics firm Philips to make a CD-ROM-based games console. While the announcement took everyone in the audience by surprise, Sony engineer Ken Kutaragi was the most shocked of all. Just the night before, he and several Sony executives had been demonstrating a product developed in partnership with Nintendo. It was to be the world’s first hybrid console, featuring an SNES cartridge slot and a CD drive, with both formats available to game developers. That product, called “Play Station” (with a space), would never see the light of day.
Industry lore suggests that only 200 of the Play Station consoles were ever produced, and hardly anyone has actually seen one of the fabled consoles in the flesh. However, pictures of the legendary original Play Station surfaced on reddit yesterday, showing the hybrid console in all its grey and yellowed-plastic glory.
Absolutely glorious. I could look at the pictures for hours.
Nintendo refused the license to Sony for the SNES-CD since they were getting a raw deal, where Nintendo would not get an Iota of game licenses revenue of the system, which instead would go to Sony. So they pulled the plug on the whole project.
Probably one of the biggest corporate mis-steps in recent history, but not giving Sony the shaft might not have prevented Nintendo being de-throned if they had still gone with a cartridge for the N64, rather than CD.
Sega would’ve still released a CD-based Saturn, and a lot of triple-A titles would’ve ended up there, taking advantage of the much larger amount of space CD afforded.