Original PlayStation Concept: The Mess it Could Have Been

December 31, 2009Written by Anthony Severino

Most PlayStation fanatics know the story of how Sony started its venture into the video game industry. For those of you who don’t know the story here is a brief history lesson. Sony was originally tasked with creating a CD player attachment for Nintendo’s Super Famicom (SNES here in North America) to rival the SEGA CD Genesis attachment. Along with this SNES-CD, Sony was to create a new console that also played SNES cartridges as well as the new SNES-CD discs. The move would have given Sony a great deal of control over Nintendo’s licenses, an idea that the then industry leader, wasn’t too keen on. The new SNES-CD was to be announced at CES 1991 as a joint-partnership between Nintendo and Sony. Instead, Nintendo announced a new partnership with Phillips and was abandoning any plans to work with Sony.

Sony first considered scrapping their entry into the gaming industry but eventually reached an agreement with Nintendo after a legal battle (Nintendo even tried filing an injunction to obtain the PlayStation name, which Nintendo claimed to have owned) to create a CD-based console that would also play SNES cartridges. Below you can see the concept of what the PlayStation almost was.

Thankfully Sony, still bitter over Nintendo’s betrayal proceeded without the SNES cartridge port, and went CD-based console only. Thus the original PlayStation was born.