So 90's: SNES CD vs. Playstation... Eh?

Kilrogg

paid requisite penance
#1
So, once and for all, I'd like to settle this:

What's the big deal behind the SNES CD and the fact that Nintendo ended up going with Philips instead of Sony who then created the Playstation on its own?

Every once in a while I come upon an article, video or post that says how Nintendo betrayed Sony OMGHAILSONY****NINTENDO, then I read how Sony was too greedy, hence Nintendo's refusal.

But seriously, who knows what this story is all about?

I remember a thread where someone (ruby_onix if my memory serves me well) explained that a bit, quoting the book "Game Over", but if someone could tell us what was going on in detail, please do.

[EDIT] @Anihawk : bu-bu-but the monies! I have no monies :[. And when I say "no monies", I don't mean "I only have a few grands left", I mean "no money", period. Plus, if I had to buy one book on video games, I'd go for Game Over first.
 
#4
It happened.
It was gonna be the Nintendo Playstation.
In the agreement, sony had rights over the drive, or something like that. I guess that can be considered "greed".
Nintendo got scared, went to Philips behind Sony's back.
At CES, Sony was ready to present the Nintendo Playstation.
Nintendo announced they were with Philips.
This pissed Sony off, and they made the Sony Playstation for the 5th Generation.

Look up The History Of The Sony Playstation on youtube.
 

Kilrogg

paid requisite penance
#5
DeathNote said:
It happened.
It was gonna be the Nintendo Playstation.
In the agreement, sony had rights over the drive, or something like that. I guess that can be considered "greed".
Nintendo got scared, went to Philips behind Son'ys back.
At E3 I think, Sony was ready to present the Nintendo Playstation.
Nintendo announced they were with Philips.
This pissed Sony off, and they made the Sony Playstation.
I'm asking what the backstory is, not the mere facts. I already knew them.

Thanks, Notorious_Roy, reading it right now.

[EDIT] Isn't Steven Kent that guy who's been talking nothing but bullsh*t lately?

DeathNote said:
Look up The History Of The Sony Playstation on youtube.
See? That's EXACTLY the kind of biased document I was talking about. Basically, this program says "Nintendo is mean". Not interesting.
 
#7
All I know is that, as a result, we got a much crappier version of Secret of Mana for the SNES instead of the SNESCD.

Secret of Mana was awesome on the SNES, but imagine how much better it would've been on the SNESCD. I wish Square would release some shots on what they had done before converting it to a cart...I'd love to see the difference.
 
#13
The funny thing is that in retrospect, whichever way it went didn't really matter - the history was decided at the point when Sony decided that they wanted to games business. There was two options on the table:

#1 - Nintendo would release Play Station together with Sony. Nintendo would be ****ed for years to come because Sony would take their marketshare with their CD-ROM licence terms.

#2 - Sony would release PlayStation alone without Nintendo. Nintendo would be ****ed for years to come because Sony would take their marketshare with their CD-ROM licence terms.


Kinda like today, except that today every iteration leads to Sony = doomed.
 

Kilrogg

paid requisite penance
#14
The other funny thing is that Nintendo, at some point, was interested in creating a convergence platform. As it can be read in the n-sider article, no wonder why Nintendo now tends to dislike this idea...
 
#15
Sony tried to rape Nintendo, wich backfired big time around the unveiling of the SNES CD.
Nintendo announced a partnership with philips and Yamauchi just ignored the contracts he signed.

With a knife in their back Sony released the PS1, and became a symbol for many other's who were bending over paying fees and licenses. Square Enix, Namco and many others jumped ship to Sony, while Nintendo just sat there and said they were superior to the competition with the help of their "Dream Team".

Even if their games were better at that time, they lost every third party support, and the remains of what was left of the N64 3rd party's went bancrupt just after the GameCube launch like Acclaim. The other "Dream Team" members weren't much of a dream team either and most got bought out or formed new companies.
 
#16
the deal/contract between Nintendo-Sony for the SuperFamicom/SNES CD-ROM 'Play Station' was made in 1988, before 99.999999999% of gamers even knew the SNES itself was coming.

There were at least 3 different sets SNES CD-ROM machines/specifications worked on. not counting different configurations of the same machine.
(i.e. seperate add-on Play Station and all-in-one Play Station+SFC)

*16-bit Play Station (SuperDisc)
*16-bit Plillips CD, compatible with CD-I.
*32-bit Nintendo-Phillips-Sony CD-ROM XA (Nintendo-Disc)

Several shells/mock-ups of the 16-bit Play Station have been seen, both the add-on and the standalone all-in-one unit. Only the 16-bit Sony machines were called 'Play Station'. the other SNES CD-ROM systems (16-bit Phillips, 32-bit Nintendo Disc) were, of course, not Play Stations.


some resources/ articles
http://www.nintendoland.com/home2.htm?snes/snescdr.htm this one seems pretty accurate & complete other than one error as far as timeline, which i fixed

To sort things out there were 3 different Nintendo CD consoles:
1. The Playstation which Nintendo and Sony were planning on based on the their deal with Nintendo from 1988.
2. The Nintendo/Philips CD-ROM add-on based on the agreement between Philips and Nintendo around the time of the C.E.S. in June 1991.
3. The Philips CD-ROM XA / SNES Nintendo Disk which were a product of the cooperation betwen both Nintendo, Sony and Philips. Based on a deal struck around October - November 1992.

EGM
http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/1838/earlynowsnes16bitcdcrop686x916.jpg
http://img428.imageshack.us/img428/4968/16bitplaystationnintendocdcrop.jpg
http://img316.imageshack.us/img316/126/snescdeditedme6.jpg
http://www.gamersgraveyard.com/repository/snes/history/images/egm_snes_cd_article.jpg
http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/5643/dsc088504ua.jpg
http://img433.imageshack.us/img433/5230/dsc088512ik.jpg
http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/1121/dsc088567gp.jpg

a good USENET post on the subject

Lots of time and research has gone into this, so I hope I make someone's day
with this story. Not only is it full of information, but it also shows that
Nintendo didn't really abandon Sony - but Sony forced Nintendo into a
situation in which abandonment was necessary for their corporate wants and
needs (of course, an agreement was reached, and Nintendo did eventually back
out, but they had good reason...) Read on, my friends.
__________________

The Truth, The Whole Truth...

Back in 1991, Philips and Nintendo were developing the SNES CD-ROM that
was going to be compatible with Philips's CD-I machine. Nintendo would (as
usual) have complete control over licensing the games for their SNES addon,
and Philips would supply the CD player. Philps also got the rights to some
of Nintendo's characters for some of their CD-I games. A Mario game and
three Zelda games were released, nothing special. Nintendo was planning to
introduce the machine on the CES in June, but unfortunately the deal they
had struck with Philips conflicted with a previous deal (1988) with Sony...
Nintendo, not wanting to cancel the project, switched to Sony, and
instead the Nintendo PlayStation was introduced at the CES! The machine was
playing both special "Super Discs" (680 MB) and normal SNES games. All was
great until Nnitendo discovered that the 1988 deal granted Sony, not
Nintendo, the rights to control and license all the CD based games for the
PlayStation. Sony was also the only supplier of the special sound chip that
was used in the SNES, putting Nintendo in a ... situation. Nintendo quickly
announced that they had allied themselves with Philips once more, because
"Philips's technology was superior" - more accurately, though, to give
Nintendo back it's control on software and gracefully drop Sony!
Sony tried to make Nintendo change their minds by threatening to sue,
but Nintendo insisted that their cooperation wouldn't interfere with Sony
and Nintendo's CD project (the PlayStation). However, at the next CES press
conference concerning the Playstation, Nintendo abruptly changed sides once
more. Sony expected Nintendo to promote the Playstation, but instead
Nintendo announced their plans to work exclusively with Philips. Sony
claimed that they had an exclusive deal with Nintendo and that Nintendo had
violated it!
Because both companies were Japanese, there were no lawsuits, but
negotiations took place in other ways. There was an "unspoken rule" among
Japanese business partners not to turn against one another if benefits were
misplaced, such as in the hands of competitors. Sony had options besides
making things worse with Nintendo because of the PlayStation's ability to
play SNES games. Besides, Sony developed the SNES sound chip, and Nintendo
didn't need a vital ally to turn against them.
Had Nintendo been able to achieve control over the CD games, all would
have been fine and lovely, and the Nintendo PlayStation would have become a
reality. But because of the ambiguity of the Japanese contracts, Nintendo
managed to extricate itself from the negatives of the contract continued to
work with Philips. When it was clear to Sony that Nintendo would not support
the PlayStation without having full control over the software for the
system, Sony took the project into their own hands and continued to develop
the project on their own.
At the Tokyo International Electronics Show in October, Sony presented
the PlayStation as a console both for gaming and education. Various
educational multimedia titles were announced, but no real games were
presented. However, Sony was making deals game developers, and the
Playstation would still be able to run SNES games. When the Sega CD was
released, Sony paused their PlayStation development and began making games
for the Sega system.
At the January 1992 CES conference, Nintendo officially announced the
diminished partnership with Sony. Nintendo also announced that their CD
system (by Philips) would be released by Christmas 1992 (soon after pushed
back to January 1993) and that licensing for the system would be handled in
the same manners as with the NES and SNES.
In an attempt to keep disc media under control, Nintendo and Sony met to
negotiate once more. By October 1992, the two companies had finally reached
an agreement: Sony would be in control of all non-game softwares, and
Nintendo would be in charge of all the games - including Sony's own games.
Sony commented that the alliance was necessary once they realized that
Nintendo would be the "clear 16-bit winner." It was also decided that the
machine would be 32-bit.
Nintendo continued to cooperate with both Sony and Philips, and the
project was transformed once again, becoming the Nintendo Disk (SNES ND), or
the Philips CD-ROM XA. In April 1993, Nintendo released specs on the SNES ND
and set a release date for early 1994. The system was supposed to have a
32-bit coprocessor to assist the original SNES processor; the extension was
also to increase system speed from 3.6 MHz to 21.5 MHz (wow?). In order for
the addon to work, a "system cartridge" would be placed in the SNES
cartridge slot that would allow the SNES to read from the ND.
Nintendo was expected to unveil the system at the SCES conference in
Chicago in late 1993, but not a word of any CD system was mentioned at the
conference. Weeks later Nintendo announced that they had abandoned the CD
project altogether. Reasons for their abandonment included loading time
issues and issues with a read-only medium (this was before the time of
memory packs), not to mention the advent of copying CDs. Nintendo also
believed that they stood to gain more from the cartridge-based model and
shifted focus to the development of their 64-bit project
To clear any confusion, there were actually three separate Nintendo CD
projects: the Nintendo/Philips CD addon in 1991, the Nintendo/Sony
PlayStation later in 1991, and the SNES Nintendo Disk (or Philips CD-ROM XA)
of late 1992. The Sony PlayStation that we all know today uses none of the
hardware or technology that was planned for any of the Nintendo systems
(hence no lawsuits) - Sony rebuilt the project from scratch.

Questions? Comments? Mistakes? Let me know!


pictures:


all-in-one standalone 16-bit Play Station~Super Famicom often called the
"Nintendo PlayStation"



the add-on version of Sony's 16-bit Play Station



development unit of one of the SNES CD-ROM add-on systems, don't know which one it is though.



Super Famicom with Phillips-Sony 32-bit Nintendo Disc addon sitting under it



The 'Nintendo Disc' cartridge inside a caddy for the 32-bit Nintendo Disc system add-on
 
#17
[Nintex] said:
Sony tried to rape Nintendo, wich backfired big time around the unveiling of the SNES CD.
Nintendo announced a partnership with philips and Yamauchi just ignored the contracts he signed.

With a knife in their back Sony released the PS1, and became a symbol for many other's who were bending over paying fees and licenses. Square Enix, Namco and many others jumped ship to Sony, while Nintendo just sat there and said they were superior to the competition with the help of their "Dream Team".

Even if their games were better at that time, they lost every third party support, and the remains of what was left of the N64 3rd party's went bancrupt just after the GameCube launch like Acclaim. The other "Dream Team" members weren't much of a dream team either and most got bought out or formed new companies.
Um, yeah..that's not Nintendo's doing.
 
#18
[Nintex] said:
N64 3rd party's went bancrupt just after the GameCube launch like Acclaim.
Actually, N64 saved Acclaim. They were in financial trouble before the N64 launch due to a string of failed licensed SNES drivel. It was N64 hits like Turok and Extreme-G that kept them out of bankruptcy for awhile, until they gutted Iguana and Probe studios and went back to their old ways.
 
#19
argon said:
Actually, N64 saved Acclaim. They were in financial trouble before the N64 launch due to a string of failed licensed SNES drivel. It was N64 hits like Turok and Extreme-G that kept them out of bankruptcy for awhile, until they gutted Iguana and Probe studios and went back to their old ways.
Yeah, Acclaim's PS2/Xbox/GC stuff didn't match up to its N64 games, for sure... well, a few games did (XGRA was every bit as good as XG1 or 2), but most didn't, most obviously Turok.

It is true that some of the N64's main Western supporters had problems last gen though -- Midway closing its arcade unit and nearly falling apart as a result (I have more Midway games for N64 than from any publisher other than Nintendo...), Acclaim going bankrupt, 3DO going bankrupt, Lucasarts cutting back some Nintendo support, etc... but I think what really did in the GC's Western support was the release of the Xbox, not those issues; had the GC done as well in America as the N64 had, it'd have probably gotten that level of support too... (20 million vs. 12 million is a big difference... Midway, Acclaim, and Lucasarts were good supporters of the N64, but they all cut back GC support partway through the generation, and the only reason they would have done that is sales.)

As for the SNES CD, I know that if they'd released the thing they probably would have won that gen handily and all, but even so... I like the N64, I like its controller and its lack of load times... I can't say that Nintendo was wrong for doing what they did, even knowing that it lost them their lead.
 
#20
Whoa, nice post, IkariWarrior.

One thing that I've been wondering is that how come there is no single picture of a physical mock-up of the CD-ROM drive that attached below the Super NES, only artists drawings. Was the design thought to be so straight forward that they didn't bother to do mock-ups before the project was canned or what?
 
#21
Chittagong said:
Whoa, nice post, IkariWarrior.

One thing that I've been wondering is that how come there is no single picture of a physical mock-up of the CD-ROM drive that attached below the Super NES, only artists drawings. Was the design thought to be so straight forward that they didn't bother to do mock-ups before the project was canned or what?
yes I've been wondering about that myself. I really have no answers :/


other pictures





more b&w patent pics (RAR)


center-left, see the unit on top of the SNES





 
#22
I had heard somewhere that Sony had also dropped out of the Nintendo/Sony CD-Rom system project, regardless of Nintendo's decision to continue with carts.
 
#23
cartman414 said:
I had heard somewhere that Sony had also dropped out of the Nintendo/Sony CD-Rom system project, regardless of Nintendo's decision to continue with carts.

I dunno about that. it was always a case of Nintendo dropping out of CD-ROMs not Sony dropping out, they wanted into the game industry.
 
#24
Kilrogg said:
I remember a thread where someone (ruby_onix if my memory serves me well) explained that a bit, quoting the book "Game Over", but if someone could tell us what was going on in detail, please do.
Yay! I'm memorable! I've ranted on this a few times in the past, but GAF seems to have me covered today.

Basically, Sony got exclusive permission to put Super Nintendo's into CD devices (and vice-versa) without needing to bother Nintendo with little details like manufacturing, apparently because they claimed that Phillips was threatening their 100% marketshare on CD-encyclopedias, way back when Yamauchi and the president of Sony were deciding over drinks that Sony should design the sound chip for the SNES.

At some point Sony realized that they could make an SNES CD and try to take over Nintendo's position, so they did that. Sony was pursuing Nintendo's third party support, and someone ratted them out. Nintendo asked Sony to stop, but Sony just waved the contract in their face.

Nintendo quietly had Phillips make an SNES CD based on the Phillips CD-i to compete with Sony, and unveiled it at Sony's big "Play Station" unveiling at CES. Sony was pissed, called it a "stab in the back", and pointed to the exclusivity clause of the contract. Sony took Nintendo to court, but Sony's "exclusive right" to use the SNES didn't override Nintendo's original right to use the SNES. If Phillips was making the SNES CD there would be a problem, but Nintendo was making it (with Phillips' help). And even if it did, Sony might be breaking the vague "good faith" clause.

After a year of stalemate, Sony caved and agreed to Nintendo's terms.

TheIkariWarrior said:
I dunno about that. it was always a case of Nintendo dropping out of CD-ROMs not Sony dropping out, they wanted into the game industry.
I thought I had found a report of Sony dropping out of the Nintendo/Sony/Phillips partnership one month after it was formed, which suggested to me that it was just a ploy to get a closer look at Phillips/Nintendo's paperwork, before going forward with the PlayStation-X.

Kilrogg said:
[EDIT] @Anihawk : bu-bu-but the monies! I have no monies :[. And when I say "no monies", I don't mean "I only have a few grands left", I mean "no money", period. Plus, if I had to buy one book on video games, I'd go for Game Over first.
Have you checked your local library?
 
#26
TheIkariWarrior said:
development unit of one of the SNES CD-ROM add-on systems, don't know which one it is though.
That's the Sony version. Sony later showed a pad identical to that one amongst their prototypes. (except it had proper button labels etc)
 
#31
I remember wanting the SNES CD soooo badly, especially after playing the SEGA CD and hearing about games like F-Zero, a new PilotWings, new Super Mario World, Final Fantasy, Kid Icarus 2 :)D), Castlevania rumored to be "in development" for it *thanks EGM/GameFan*

I often wonder how different the industry would be now if that would have worked out back then?
 
#32
Who knows? Rondo of Blood might have been on the Nintendo CD-Rom system instead or in addition to the Duo, and there wouldn't have been the half-baked "Vampire's Kiss" version.
 
#33
I wonder if Howard Lincoln and Yamamuchi ever wonder what would have been if they kept the partnership with Sony? Would we be looking at the Nintendo Wiistation3 with Blu Ray and Wiimote??

All kidding aside though, I wonder if they ever think that was a big mistake severing ties with Sony...
 
#34
aparisi2274 said:
I wonder if Howard Lincoln and Yamamuchi ever wonder what would have been if they kept the partnership with Sony? Would we be looking at the Nintendo Wiistation3 with Blu Ray and Wiimote??

All kidding aside though, I wonder if they ever think that was a big mistake severing ties with Sony...
Hard to say. A year ago I would have considered it something of a mistake if it was definitely possible to continue with Sony and not lose on the game software royalties. After witnessing the current gamble they're taking with the PS3 + Blu-ray, even after taking losses throughout their other divisions, I'd say Nintendo's a little more golden for it. Not to mention that they've wisened up these past several years in various ways.
 
#35
cartman414 said:
What was Steven Kent's account of the scenario like in Ultimate History?
- Nintendo announces plans for CD-ROM.
- Partners with Sony
- Winter CES, Jan. 92, Nintendo says it will be good to go in a year.
- Sony proves 'dangerous partner' -- execs there plan to release their own CD-based game system, Nintendo execs concerned about providing access to SNES
- Nintendo lets Sony announce plans for drive at CES, then drops la bomba de Philips the next day.
- Sony shut out, Kutaragi pleads to keep PS project going. Gets OK from Sony CEO and project lives on although most of the company's board doesn't like the idea.