Alternate Timeline: the Nintendo and Sony partnership

What if Nintendo and Sony had a successful partnership instead of the tale of broken agreements and the creation of Nintendo’s most successful competitor that most of us are aware of?

For those who are not let’s take a journey back to 1988.

A Sony engineer named Ken Kutaragi wanted to strengthen the partnership with Nintendo after Sony agreed to create a custom sound chip for the SNES known as the SPC 700. Kutaragi started developing a CD add-on for the SNES which would have made the device a dual format console. They contacted and showed Nintendo a prototype, Nintendo approved and signed a contract, forming a partnership between the companies and after years of development the “Play Station” was shown at the 1991 Consumer Electronic Show except the CD add-on had now become a stand-alone console still being co-developed between Nintendo and Sony as a device that could play both SNES cartridges as well as SNES-CD titles.

Remember all those amazing sound effects and compositions this little chip made it all happen.

However, this is where problems arise because Sony wanted the full rights to all games published for the “Play Station” and Nintendo decided they could not allow this and so at the same CES that Sony showed their prototype Nintendo announced an exclusivity deal with Phillips, a deal that eventually fizzled out, its only legacy being the terrible CD-i games based on Nintendo properties. Sony became furious after Nintendo broke their agreement shelved the PlayStation project and decided to forget about breaking into the videogame industry but, Ken Kutaragi persuaded the then-CEO Norio Ohga to turn the prototype into a full-fledged console thus the PlayStation as we know it was born.

The prototype Play Station, what if this had been a reality?

But what if this wasn’t the case, what if Nintendo and Sony continued to work on hardware together combining Nintendo’s magnificent game design and Sony’s forward thinking console designs as well as excellent 1st and 2nd party support, the software drought that has plagued Nintendo since the N64 days or maybe the separation between the two Japanese giants was inevitable it was better to happen early on instead of having complications down the line.

So what are your thoughts on this partnership falling through, do you think it would’ve had a huge impact or do you think it wouldn’t have made any difference? Let me know in the comments.

5 Responses to Alternate Timeline: the Nintendo and Sony partnership

  1. Lou says:

    With the rise of mobile gaming, maybe this still happens anyway. Why do we need three different consoles? There are only two major handhelds, and I’d say those games are better. With less hardware options, companies could devote more time to games, which is what we all want anyway.

  2. Stan says:

    The opening sentence to this article is a nasty run-on sentence! I don’t know how to qualify it, but you’ve switch the dominant thought behind the sentence from speculative to informative with the phrase “but for those that don’t…”

    Here’s a revision:

    What if Nintendo and Sony had maintained a successful partnership instead of the tale of broken agreements and the creation of Nintendo’s most successful competitor? Many of us know this tale, but for those that don’t, let’s take a journey back to 1988.

  3. Colin Crompton says:

    @Stan I appreciate the revision and I am grateful for any feedback, positive or negative. I will edit the post.

  4. Stan says:

    Nice, sounds much better. Great job!

  5. Colin Crompton says:

    @Stan

    hey thanks. I’m always willing to learn.

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