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The SNES Playstation would have had a Super FX chip built inside

Another glimpse of what could have been

The video game industry would have been a much different scene if Nintendo actually ran with Playstation and allowed the SNES Playstation to release. Unfortunately, Nintendo decided to skip out on the deal, paving the way for Sony to release a standalone Playstation. The rest is history, as they say.

What would have happened if Nintendo and Sony actually continued that partnership and saw the hardware through to release? According to a Nintendo Life interview with Argonaut's Jez San, the console would have included a Super FX chip built right inside.

When we designed the Super FX chip for Nintendo, It was too late to make it into the Japanese version of the SNES. But with the American version, they were contemplating having it built in, which would have made the games cartridges much cheaper, and would have also meant that 3D was a standard in the console. In the end, we missed out on that. But then, initially, Nintendo and Sony were going to do a PlayStation with a CD attached to a SNES, with our chip in it – ours was going to be the 3D chip inside the original PlayStation. Then Sony and Nintendo fell out.

Categories: Consoles
Tags: snes

Comments

Top Rated Comment
nik
Sat Nov 30 19 09:03pm
Rating: 4 (Updated 1 time)

Sony didn't "try" something underhanded. They actually succeeded in deceiving Nintendo with the SNES CD add-on contract. It's probably what ultimately led to the discontinuation of the CD add-on development and Nintendo defecting to Phillips.

Time hasn't been kind to Nintendo regarding the SNES Playstation deal that fell apart. It's easy to point to Nintendo and say they're at fault because they made a deal with Phillips "behind Sony's back." But I actually believe Sony was the "bad guy" in the entire deal - they had ulterior motives through the entire development process. They lied and deceived in contract negotiations and then took sensitive, expert industry knowledge from Nintendo to create a direct competing product with the partner they were just working with...

But hey, if you want to succeed in business, you have be shrewd. And the Playstation division took that all the way to the bank.

jd
Sat Nov 30 19 06:01pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

Unfortunately? Umm... correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't part of the deal that Nintendo surrender all publishing rights--and profits made through publishing--to Sony, including for the games Nintendo made? I mean, Nintendo would have effectively been reduced to just another developer under Sony, wouldn't they?

It was certainly bad that Sony put that in the contract without Nintendo knowing but Nintendo really messed up by going behind Sony's back and signing a contract with Phillips instead of attempting to rework the contract with Sony in the first place. It could have been very possible that they had worked out a better deal had they bothered to ask in the first place.

Hmm yes, and no. I believe Sony spun the SNES Playstation as an CD add-on that had nothing to do with games, and the deal was originally made with the intention of having karaoke and encyclopaedias on it with all royalties going to Sony... including video games (that were mysteriously absent in the contract)...

I also believe that I had read somewhere/sometime (long ago so not entirely sure on this) that Sony wanted unrestricted rights to develop games using any Nintendo IP they wanted... In the end the deal fell apart and Sony took every scrap of industry knowledge they gained from Nintendo and developed the Playstation. Harsh lesson learned from Nintendo.

I’m never quite sure what to believe. Sony could have been trying something underhanded but Nintendo was pretty shrewd back in the day too. I believe they lost some court cases regarding unfair business practices, after all.

nik
Sat Nov 30 19 09:03pm
Rating: 4 (Updated 1 time)

Sony didn't "try" something underhanded. They actually succeeded in deceiving Nintendo with the SNES CD add-on contract. It's probably what ultimately led to the discontinuation of the CD add-on development and Nintendo defecting to Phillips.

Time hasn't been kind to Nintendo regarding the SNES Playstation deal that fell apart. It's easy to point to Nintendo and say they're at fault because they made a deal with Phillips "behind Sony's back." But I actually believe Sony was the "bad guy" in the entire deal - they had ulterior motives through the entire development process. They lied and deceived in contract negotiations and then took sensitive, expert industry knowledge from Nintendo to create a direct competing product with the partner they were just working with...

But hey, if you want to succeed in business, you have be shrewd. And the Playstation division took that all the way to the bank.

ridleysaria
Sat Nov 30 19 10:03pm
Rating: 1

How did Sony lie exactly? I know the contract Nintendo signed wasn't favorable to them but that was really their fault for signing something they didn't understand the implications of.

nik
Sat Nov 30 19 10:56pm
Rating: 1

Well, let's say "lie by omission"... I believe that Kutaragi was the most ruthless of businessmen (which has been claimed), even more so than Yamauchi. And he used every stratagem possible, (fair or immoral) to get his foot hold in the games industry. We probably don't even know the half of what went down from all sides of this.

ridleysaria
Sun Dec 01 19 12:49am
Rating: 1

No I won't say that. If it's in the contract it's not a lie. It's right there in writing. Someone who signs a contract should read and understand it first.

Fair enough. In black and white terms - it's not a "lie." From my point of view of all that I've read about this subject, it was still deceptive and drawn up by Sony in bad faith - But not a lie... But what does it matter anyway? Sony now has the PlayStation brand name loyalty and dominant market share. Competition is always good for progress.

I just think both companies have done things that are pretty messed up. I hate to label either one of them as the bad guy in the situation when I wasn't there and we don't know the definitive truth. Sony wrote up a contract that was good for them but not favorable to Nintendo. Nintendo did what they could to get out of a bad deal. Everyone is the hero of their own story, you know?

Seems like Sony put Nintendo in a Rumpelstiltskin contract that didn't pan out. If Nintendo kept their end of deal, sure Nintendo would have had a CD format but Sony would have all access to all of Nintendo's children and showing how profitable IPs can be I think Nintendo was wise to back out any way they could.

Ahem... to get back on topic, I wonder if that's true, that story about the Super FX being in the add-on. Should be easy enough to prove, the working prototype is out there, there should be a chip in there that reads GSU-1 or M.A.R.I.O. or something similar.

kutaragi was also... well... not nice at the very least towards saturn architect Hideki Sato , he told the guy to just develop for playstation they'll make them a good deal ... also he just made up polygons numbers " that was ultimately a bunch of lies"

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