Before the PlayStation was ever conceived, Nintendo and Sony were in talks to make a console that would play Super NES games and support CD-ROMs at the same time. The prototype is called the Nintendo PlayStation by fans. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the deal fell off and Sony ended up making the PS1 years later.
Former Sony Computer Entertainment Chairman Shigeo Maruyama, who was also the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, is a name that one would rarely hear in the gaming sphere. Maruyama however played a major role behind the scenes during talks with Nintendo as well as the creation of the PS1.
For the first time Maruyama has shared his thoughts on the initial collaboration with Nintendo. See what he has to say below.
When we started talking with Nintendo about collaborating, the original Famicom was already on the market. We were shown an early version of the Super Famicom … but the Super Famicom was nothing more than a toy. There was tremendous potential in the product, obviously, but it was just a toy. As a major electronics company, Sony’s standpoint was, “Why would we be making a toy?”
When Nintendo was working on the Super Famicom, Kutaragi went to Nintendo asking if Sony could collaborate with Nintendo. Kutaragi’s proposal was that Nintendo shift from making games on cartridges to making them on CD-ROMs. Nintendo’s response was that it was faster for cartridges to start the game. With CD-ROMs, when it was demonstrated to Nintendo at the time, I don’t know specifically, but it took around 20 to 30 seconds for the game to load. But with cartridges there’s almost no delay to start a game. Nintendo said that kids can’t wait that long for a game to start.
So, Kutaragi countered with a proposal of a system that took both the cartridge on top with a CD-ROM drive on the bottom. Nintendo agreed to this and at one point they decided to move forward with this idea.
Yes, a hybrid that took both a cartridge and the CD-ROM. … [That didn’t end up happening.] If they had gone ahead with that hybrid system, it would have been a lot easier for me. I could have continued to focus more of my career on music instead of spending 10 years developing the gaming division of the company.
Check out the full interview here.