As gaming collaborations go, Nintendo and Sony might seem unlikely bedfellows, but the discovery of one super-rare console proves it wasn’t always that way. The Nintendo PlayStation was to be a grand coming-together of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and a CD component built by Sony for a new type of SNES CD game. The deal eventually soured, and Sony went its own way on the PlayStation project, but not before a small number of prototypes were constructed.
It’s just one such example of those rare prototypes that Reddit user Analogueboy says he unearthed at his father’s house. According to the tale, his father worked at one point with a man called Olaf, who was employed by Nintendo, and the console was in among a box of supposed-junk.
According to gaming lore, around 200 units were constructed to test out the system. Unfortunately this particular example doesn’t have a power supply, though there’s a cartridge and possibly a CD game to go with it.
Nintendo’s fears around who would control the different portions of the system were what killed the deal. The original intent was that, though Nintendo would have retained responsibility for the SNES slot, Sony would have ruled the CD drive.
Fearing how much licensing control it was signing over to another firm, Nintendo secretly cut a deal with Philips instead, and revealed the SNES-CD attachment at CES 1991, only a day after Sony unveiled its own “Play Station” with SNES and CD slots.
As chunks of gaming heritage go, this is a pretty big deal assuming it’s all as legitimate as it appears to be. The rift caused between Sony and Nintendo stoked the impetus for the creation of the Sony PlayStation, which has of course been hugely successful for the company in the decades since.
Although in 1992 the two firms did salvage a deal in which Sony could produce a console capable of playing SNES games, Nintendo would have kept control over both the titles it ran and the profit from them. Sony eventually gave up on the idea, and in 1993 began in earnest to develop its own CD-based PlayStation.
The PlayStation as we generally know it was launched in 1994, taking on the Nintendo 64.