Previous Life of PS4
- May 11, 2019-
In 1988 one company sat firmly on top of the home video gaming market: Nintendo. The 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) had ruled for years, despite competition from Sega and Atari. And with the Super NES in the wings for its 1990 premiere, it looked like Nintendo would never topple.
Especially not because of competition from Sony; in fact, Sony was Nintendo's partner.
Back then the days of cartridge gaming were waning as the CD-ROM was being embraced. Sony, working with rival Philips, had already created the CD-ROM/XA format, discs that supported compressed audio and video and could be easily read with extra hardware. Computers were using it, so naturally game systems would be next. Sony was going to be there to bring that format to the Super NES. They called it Super Disc.
The problem was, Nintendo and Sony never trusted each other—not in the least. Sony's planned development was to make a Super Disc that would read everything and make Sony the only licensor of the tech. Nintendo didn't like that. (Sony and Philips, likewise, couldn't get along. Sensing a pattern? Sony doesn't always play nice with others.) It all came to a head in June 1991 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago. Sony announced the Play Station (with a space), which was the Super Disc, but so much more: it could also read Super NES cartridges and play music. Being the behemoth it is, Sony had a whole music division and movie studio (Columbia Pictures) to work with.
The day after the Play Station was unveiled, Nintendo said it was working with Philips on the CD-ROM drive for the Super NES; Sony looked like dupes. CEO Norio Ohga was furious.
But like good businessmen, they had to work together. Sony still wanted to port Super NES cartridges and Nintendo was using Sony's audio chip in the Super NES—a chip Ken Kurtaragi himself had developed in secret for Nintendo while working at Sony.
But Ohga was still smarting. He told Kutaragi to get working on something new, and that something is why Kutaragi is now known as "the father of PlayStation."