Sony-Nintendo Play Station allegedly uncovered

July 3, 2015 // 11:31 a.m.

Tags: #computer-history #console #nintendo #play-station #playstation #snes-cd #sony #super-famicom #vintage-computing

What appears to be a prototype of the unreleased Sony-Nintendo Play Station console has surfaced, seemingly courtesy a colleague of Sony Interactive's Olaf Olafsson.

The story of Sony's entry into the gaming market is the stuff of legend. The company had planned to work with existing gaming companies to create a CD-ROM-based console, and attended the Consumer Electronics Expo to hear Nintendo announce a partnership on a new piece of hardware: the Play Station, a combination of Sony's CD-ROM technology and Nintendo's Super Famicom (SNES) cartridge-based console. Nintendo, however, instead announced a deal with Sony rival Philips to create a CD-ROM add-on for the existing Super Famicom, and Sony would famously take its bat and ball home: the Nintendo Play Station became the Sony PlayStation, and launched in 1994 to propel the company to the top of the gaming tree.

A number of Nintendo Play Station prototypes were created during the companies' short partnership, but all were thought to have been destroyed after the deal blew up. That is, until Dan Diebold published shots of a console featuring Sony PlayStation and Nintendo SNES markings to Imgur, followed by posts to a web forum explaining his find. According to Diebold, the device - which features PlayStation branding and accepts both CDs and Super Famicom cartridges and controllers - belonged to his father, who discovered it when clearing out an old office and believed it came from a former colleague named 'Olaf.'

Olaf Olafsson was, at the time of the Sony-Nintendo deal, president and chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment and was responsible for the launch of the PlayStation in 1994. If anyone would have had a chance to take home a piece of history, it would be him - but firm details have yet to be provided by Diebold. While the machine in question appears genuine, some questions have been raised as to its legitimacy - in particular the modern-looking PlayStation logo, at a time when the device was to launch as the Play Station instead.

If genuine, Diebold has uncovered a major piece of gaming history - and the contents of the cartridge, marked 'Demo,' and CD-ROM discovered with the device could answer still more questions about the work of the two companies.
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