Wacky Week’s Alternate Reality: What If Sony And Nintendo Had Made A Console Together?
by Andrew Rainnie
Note: This silly bit of “news” was written as part of the Wacky Week theme. Don’t take it seriously. Check out all the wacky articles for this week’s theme over here at the Wacky Week hub.
Somewhere, in a parallel universe where everyone sports an evil goatee, there was a decision that split that timeline from our own, that ripped apart the very fabric of video gaming as we now know it.
Sony and Nintendo made a console together.
In the present day, it is almost unfathomable that the Playstation brand would never exist, but back in 1988, Sony and Nintendo bumped uglies to create a CD drive for the SNES, dubbed the PlayStation, in order to compete with Sega’s Mega CD. Due to a number of legal wranglings, Nintendo then left Sony for Philips, developing a CD drive for the SNES that would be compatible with Philips own console, the CD-i (That’s right people, someone used the ‘i’ before Apple). However, the add-on for the SNES never materialised, as Nintendo thought it cheaper to simply develop a new console, the N64, which directly competed with Sony’s new PlayStation console.
But imagine for a moment Nintendo and Sony had come to terms and released the CD drive for the SNES. With these two mighty giants it may have been a success, and led a joint console, which we will call simply, the Playstation 64. Rather than relying on cartridges for their 64-bit console, these two titans would have used existing CD technology, or possibly even a disc somewhere between the CD and what would become the DVD. The partnership would have been prosperous for both, enjoying the hit GoldenEye. By the time they came to make the Playstation 64’s successor, the Play Cube, Nintendo would have retained Rare as a developer, rather than having Microsoft steal them and lose the staff who had made the games that sold the Playstation 64. Sony and Nintendo’s partnership moved beyond games, with Sony pictures developing a number of films based on Nintendo games, including a CGI Super Mario Bros Film that beat Toy Story for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. They also created a successful trilogy based around The Legend of Zelda franchise, although a fourth film, based on Majora’s Mask, failed to find an audience, and is often rejected by film fans as being part of the series.
And what of the rivals of this harmonious partnership? Sega’s Saturn would have lost the console war against the Playstation 64, which in turn would have pushed Sega to seek a coalition with a technology giant to solidify their business in the next generation of consoles, especially as there were rumours that Microsoft were thinking of crashing that party with their Xbox. Enter Philips, still interested in the video games market despite the disaster that was the CD-i. They decided to push for a higher end console, more expensive than Play Cube (as Sony were still accepting of Nintendo’s pricing strategy). The new console from Sega and Philips was dubbed the Dreamcatcher, pushing the technological prowess ahead of both NinSony or Microsoft. Philips brought more interactivity to the console market, seeing the benefit, as Sega did, of online gaming.
In essence, gaming became a two tier market. At one end was the PlayCube, cheaper, more affordable, aimed at a younger audience, while at the other end was the Dreamcatcher, offering more expensive hardware but a more immersive, hardware accelerated experience. The Xbox sat uncomfortably in the centre of these extremes, and as a result, had the smallest share of the market. Microsoft considered the Xbox experiment as a lesson learned, and bowed out of the next round of the console wars, concentrating on PC gaming.
Spotting an emerging gap in the market, Apple, revitalised with its recent success of its iPhone and iPod products, made the iGame. Simple, easy to use, and offering interaction between all of their products, it was a direct challenge to NinSony’s next console, the motion control focused Whoosh, which featured both motion controller and an advanced camera system, allowing more seamless interaction in games. Apple attempted to mimic the consoles games by using the iPhone’s camera, but was a cheap imitation of a revolution in gaming.
SegaPhilips, enjoying a healthy share of the hardcore gaming market, held off on introducing their next child into the world, as the Dreamcatcher was still capable of competing with the iGame and the Whoosh in terms of technology. Two years passed, and people wondered whether Sega and Philips had parted company, as were the rumours flying around the InterWeb. However, they debuted their new console at the E6 show. They offered the world something it had never seen before; augmented reality holographic gaming. Although triple the price of the Whoosh, people flocked to buy the projection-pushed console, which used the visual equivalent of surround sound to create images and holograms in the gamer’s home.
The house of the blue hedgehog reigned supreme.
All of this, that could have been.