It’s a question that I have thought about many times over. It isn’t a heavily discussed topic, but it is certainly an intriguing one. What if Nintendo and Sony managed to partner up back in the 90’s and actually moved forward in the gaming industry together?
Just for the sake of “in case you didn’t know,” back in the early 1990’s, Nintendo had tapped Sony to build a CD-Rom variant for the Super Nintendo console. Nintendo then backed out of the deal and went with the company Philips, to develop for them instead. From there, Sony further developed their CD-Rom and the PlayStation was born.
Sony has always been a very different company than Nintendo. From the moment the first PlayStation console dropped, Sony was offering content that was more mature for gamers. Nintendo was and still is considered the more family friendly console.
Sony carved a space for the PlayStation brand in the gaming industry and changed everything. Sega was seemingly pushed out of the console making space and became a third party developer after the Sega Dreamcast failed to make sales needed to keep the company a float.
We watched as Nintendo began to struggle and Microsoft entered the gaming space with the highly successful Xbox, thanks to the release of the PlayStation 2, which still holds the record for most units sold as a single console. The PS3 had a staggering start when it released one year after the Xbox 360 and came with an extremely high price tag. What may have very well ended another company, Sony came back with additional models of the PS3, lowered the unit price and did manage to outsell the Xbox 360 in lifetime sales.
While Sony and Microsoft battled it out for the market, Nintendo did manage to comeback with the Wii console and of course, dominated sales in regard to handheld devices. Since then, Sony has dominated the market with the PS4 and both Nintendo and Microsoft have managed to stay in the game… No pun intended, but it is fitting.
Now in present day, we prepare to see the Playstation 5 revealed and by holiday this year, the ongoing battle for top console sales will start over once again. With that, I circle back to PlayStation’s beginning. What if Nintendo didn’t back out of the deal it had been working on with Sony? Let’s speculate, shall we?
There are many possibilities to what could have happened. In all actuality, we will never know, but here is how I imagine things could have gone down.
After Sony had gone ahead and announced a partnership with Nintendo, the big N, graciously confirms said partnership. With excitement in the air, Nintendo and Sony make waves in the gaming industry. The tides are turning and not only does this partnership excite gamers around the world, but SEGA is getting excited too!.
SEGA was far ahead of the curve when it came to video game tech. Maybe too far ahead, but finally, Nintendo introduces something that puts them somewhat on the same level. Competition has always been good for the gaming industry and these results would stand true for SEGA. The SNES – CD would not only compete with the SEGA dreamcast, but help elevate SEGA to new heights without harming the Nintendo brand.
Sony would not be as voicetrus as the company is now. Instead, they would simply boast that they are the developer of the technology that gives Nintendo the boost it needs to play CD based games.
What I think would eventually had happened is Sony and Nintendo would have a falling out. Instead of Microsoft coming to the table with a console of their own, Sony would be the one to announce that they were entering the market with a new device and the Xbox would probably not exist as a solo brand.
In fact, I imagine that after a very public falling out, Sony could have very well partnered with Microsoft to bring us the PlayBox! Probably not the name they would have come up with, but you see my point.
Moving forward, The PlayBox would eventually dominate the market and instead of putting Nintendo out of business like some might assume, I believe Nintendo would do exactly what it did when their company began to have financial troubles. Lean on its handheld market as a crutch until it found a way back to a steadier console sales market.
Over the course of time, Sony and Microsoft get accused of holding a monopoly over the gaming industry (MS has been down this road before) and eventually, Sega and Nintendo team up to try and earn back their place in the market. Who knows? Maybe Sony and Microsoft would have a falling out and the Xbox would still wind up on the market. The possibilities seem endless, but this is how I imagine things might have turned out.
How do you think the game industry would have shaped up if Nintendo and Sony had actually fulfilled their partnership? Let me know in the comments, I’d really like to hear your opinion. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you online!