Former Sony exec reflects on original talks with Nintendo for cancelled SNES PlayStation - Nintendo Everything

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Former Sony exec reflects on original talks with Nintendo for cancelled SNES PlayStation

Posted on November 19, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Not too long ago, Polygon was able to speak with Shigeo Maruyama. Maruyama was previously the chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment and the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. He was present way back in the day when negotiations were taking place with Nintendo about working on a gaming system together.

As we know, Nintendo and Sony’s partnership wasn’t meant to be. Nintendo went in its own direction, as did Sony. Maruyama reflected on those initial conversations with Nintendo in a recent interview with Polygod, in which he stated:

“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.”

Kutaragi said that it was imagined as a hybrid, and he said that if Nintendo went through with it, “it would have been a lot easier for me.” That’s because he could have continued focusing “more of my career on music instead of spending 10 years developing the gaming division of the company.”

Thanks to Jake for the tip.


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  • ShonenJump


    • ben

      That is possibly the most inappropriate language ever used on this site.

  • Radish

    I’m so glad that hybrid system failed. It gave Nintendo a legitimate competitor in Sony after Sega lost their minds, and it pushed them to make outstanding games and innovations over the next 2+ decades. Likewise, Nintendo pushed Sony to make quality gaming experiences as well. We as consumers benefit from good competition.

    • GoldenTriforce

      Sega had always had lost their minds, it was just that Sega of America could only hold control over them for so long. Once Tom Kalinske lost his patience and left, it was game over for SEGA of America.

      • Radish

        The one and only Sega console we had was the Genesis, and I really enjoyed it. Thankfully we never heard of the Sega CD, 32X, or Saturn back then. Would have been severe buyer’s remorse.

        • Bart

          Saturn was awesome…

          Tempted to type out a list of games here to try and show you why but I just got out of bed so you’re off the hook. :p

          I’ll just say this, Camelot was in peak form back then, all their Shining games on Saturn are stone cold classics.

          Never owned a Sega CD, but 32X was my first time playing Doom and Virtua Fighter at home so I never really regretted that either… But yeah, I’ll give you those. xD

          • Force

            And now you look at Camelot, how they’re relegated to making Mario sports games…. *shakes head*

          • Bart

            Tell me about it, I hold out a vague bit of hope we might see a Camelot RPG on Switch (just port Wii U Mario Tennis and Golf and let them get on with it plskthx) but I’m not holding my breath…

          • Force

            It’d be nice if they got another shot on Switch. Imagine Golden Sun using the Switch as base!

          • Bart

            Oh I’ve imagined it…

            As I’ve dreamed about possible spiritual sequels to any of their older works… Does Nintendo even know these guys could make a pretty mean 2D Zelda-type game if they would just let them? Or a Fire Emblem type game? Or a dungeon crawler? They’ve already proven they can do all sorts of RPGs, and do them well… I mean, assuming that most or some of the same people who made those all those years ago still work there that is.

            Okay, Camelot fanboy rant over. 🙂

          • Force

            Maybe the last Golden Sun and it not performing as they wished, is lodged in the back of their skull, constantly echoing. Honestly, the Switch could do with more games of it’s kind, so I don’t know why not.

          • it’s not worth convincing that radish

          • Murdock Fraser

            Played Powerslave on psx1…loved it but wasn’t quite as smooth as the Saturn version that came out before it.Arguably,Ridge Racer,another psx game I loved,couldn’t hold a candle to Sega Rally on the Saturn.To this day racing games have difficulty conveying the weight of the cars moving through virtual tracks.Battle Arena Toshindin sucked in comparison to Virtua Fighter….yet Saturn failed commercially.By the time Dreamcast arrived it was too late for Sega.Dreamcast was an incredible machine but the company was bleeding cash and had made too many hardware missteps along the way.

      • ben

        Sega of Japan never lost their minds it was the conflicting efforts of Sega of America to make a console war when there was no console war in Japan.
        Nintendo and Sega were actually on good terms in Japan.
        Then Sony made it their mission to destroy the competition. Sony has no interest in sharing the hobby with other companies, which is why they will not agree to share play with other consoles, all they care about is selling as many mass produced boxes with mass produce designed games.

        • GoldenTriforce

          My comment had nothing to do with competition (though I should not there was some spite towards Nintendo from SEGA). SMS and Genesis failed in Japan. The only reason Genesis succeeded in America was because of SEGA of America (especially Kalinske)’s efforts, but there was some conflict between the two. Really the only person who was okay with Kalinske’s ideas was the president of SEGA at the time, and the conflict was enough that Kalinske left before the Saturn released, which led to SEGA of America having less control.

          (Also another side note, originally Kalinske wanted to use the SGI chipset for the console after the Genesis, but SEGA of Japan turned it down as they preferred their own internal chipset. Nintendo would end up getting the SGI chipset which was used in the N64, and the Saturn’s chipset was the main reason it had no chance of gaining traction anywhere outside of the west (and even then, it barely gained traction in Japan).

          I’m not saying every idea Kalinske had was great, he was a big supporter of the 32x and that obviously didn’t go too far, but SEGA really wouldn’t have gotten that far if he didn’t sell the Genesis the way that he did.

          • ben

            All this is true but both Sega and Nintendo were victims of the PlayStation success. The PS1 was huge and you could get every game for the PS1 pirated so it was just no contest. You could buy a N64 and only get access to a limited library at a high price or you could get a PS1 and get any game you wanted for free. The Saturn never had a chance either.

          • Force

            So what your basically telling me, is that the PS1 sold off of piracy?

          • ben

            Not entirely. But it was a large factor in its success. The ps1 sold off of being the best games machine at the time. It benefited from piracy.

          • Force

            Huh, pretty ironic when you consider how vehemently they fight it these days.

          • Radish

            If the PS1 was a piracy platform, Sony would have lost a ton of money during that period and I doubt they would have released a PS2.

            The Dreamcast was the pirate’s dream console, and Sega failed because of that.

          • ben

            The Ps1 only required you to put a boot disk in and you could play any copied game. Where I lived piracy was insane on the PS1. Not saying they did not sell enough copies of Ridge racer and RE games to make it profitable but a huge part of its success was piracy.
            The Dreamcast was a joke you didn’t even need a boot disk.

          • Radish

            Hahahahaha such an embarrassment to gaming xD

  • GoldenTriforce

    I love the passive aggression just peaking out in the last part.

  • ben

    “It is just a toy”

    This is why I hate Sony.
    They just want gaming to be a tech race where they can dazzle people with uncanny valley visuals and hide the game play.

    • Reggie

      Makes me wonder if they were living under a rock if the original Famicom’s success didn’t turn their heads…

      • Aline Piroutek

        And they Japanese as Nintendo and SEGA are. With a lot of videogame selling on the stores.

    • Eddie

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Aline Piroutek

      Nowadays not even visuals as they cannot compete with gaming computers and Xbox One X.

  • Jacob Groves

    Love my Switch + PS4 so much and they best. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Both Nintendo and Sony bought and bring us so many high quality games every years most of times. Microsoft is ewwww and rubbish. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Eddie

      I love my Switch and PC. I wouldn’t be sad if Sony left the gaming industry. Obviously that won’t happen. I’m just saying.

      • Aline Piroutek

        We all do know Sony’s strategy nowadays : buy all exclusives to their machines as they cannot make deliver innovation as a marketing as Nintendoes. To make them buy a PS3 on steroids.

      • Justin McQuillen

        *crosses fingers*

    • somebody’s forgetting about MINESWEEPER

      shut ya mouth boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  • JasonBall

    People need to let this go. I hear about it so often.

    • ben

      And yet every 6 months someone from sony brings this up.

      • Force

        Regret is a relentless pursuer.

    • Velen (Not WoW)

      There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing.

  • Roto Prime

    Always about the games first <3 This is why my heart belongs to you Nintendo!!!!

    • Eddie

      Same here. Nintendo rules.

    • for me, it’s about whether there’s a cd drive
      sega saturn forevaaaaa

      • Roto Prime

        Sega had cool systems <3

    • ShonenJump

      Yep that’s true!

  • FutureFox

    “Why would we be making a toy?”

    Such blasphemy!

    • Aline Piroutek

      The old president wanted to be the best on all “adults toys” market.
      Nowadays they aren’t the best in nothing except in overpricing their products.

  • Gamingfan

    good thing there is competition in the market because I dont want a portable.

  • nemo37

    Interesting read. I am curious if the SNES Playstation was an enhanced companion to the SNES (much in the same way Sega CD and 32X and later the Sega Genesis model that integrated them) or whether it was meant to be a successor to the SNES with backwards compatibility.

  • Kenshin0011

    I see an issue in the logic of both Nintendo and Sony….

    They both have good reasoning for what they think, but they both take their stances too far.

    Carts during the SNES era were totally the right call by Nintendo. They were quick, played great, and weren’t fragile.

    However, as Sony knew then, CD’s were the future. Nintendo should have moved to discs with the N64, but stayed stubborn with expensive carts.

  • Alt X

    People forget just how slow the 1x and 2x CDROM drives were back then!!

  • Justin McQuillen

    Nintendo was right about cartridges being preferable to CDs. All that extra space was only used for FMV videos which aged like hot garbage, and looked terrible even in the 90’s. Definitely not a good trade-off for loading/streaming speed. The in-game cutscenes in OOT look way better than the FMV cutscenes in Final Fantasy and it really shows in the atmosphere of the game.