Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sony x Nintendo

There is one missed opportunity that the company in question regrets to this day, 25 years later. It was an opportunity that they had, but due to greed and paranoia, they screwed up the whole deal and completely changed the video game industry.
I speak of this:
BEHOLD THE NINTENDO PLAY STATION!
In 1988, Nintendo began working with Sony to develop a CD-based add-on for their upcoming Super Famicom system (or SNES to us here in the States). The two companies worked out licensing deals and how to split revenue and what-not. Everything seemed great: Nintendo would market, develop, and license the games while Sony would build the hardware. This had the makings of an epic deal.
But, for some reason, Nintendo started to second-guess the deal. While the deal would have been incredibly favorable to Nintendo, they became worried that they would be giving too much of their technology to Sony. They worried that Sony was secretly trying to enter the video game industry (something Sony had no intentions of doing originally --they just wanted to make hardware). So, at the 11th hour (or in this case, the 1991 summer Consumer Electronics show), they pulled out of the deal and announced they were going to produce the CD add-on with Phillips, Sony's main rival.
This completely blind-sided and humiliated Sony. They had revealed earlier in the show that they were developing the Nintendo Play Station, and they had already received tons of interest. Now they looked like idiots who got played. Sony had all these finished prototypes and was about to start beta testing. All that was worthless now.
Initially, Nintendo thought they were in the clear, but Sony was not about to go down easily. At first, Sony approached Sega about doing a deal. Sega of America was interested, but the plan got nixed by their parent company, Sega of Japan (one of their many blunders in refusing to listen to their American division). Without the partnership of another game company, Sony decided to try going it alone. They already had the hardware developed and money sunk into the project, so what was there to lose?
So, in December of 1994, Sony launch their own console: the Playstation (they changed the name slightly, removing the space between Play and Station). The system became an instant success, and due to Sony's generous licensing agreements, video game developers flocked to the platform (developers liked the idea that a CD from Sony was a dollar, while a Nintendo cartridge was 10 dollars. Additionally many companies were tired of Nintendo’s strict policies and down right bullying. Lastly, from a cultural perspective, many of the Japanese companies were horrified by how Nintendo treated Sony, and they all feared similar treatment). The Playstation would go on to become the 2nd most-selling console of all time, after its successor, the Playstation 2.
So, that is the story of the biggest missed opportunity in all of gaming. Nintendo had a chance to make a super system and form a strong alliance with Sony. Instead, they created their biggest rival and set the stage for themselves to be 3rd place in the console industry (after Microsoft and Sony)

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