Back in 1988, Nintendo had signed a deal with Sony that would see the companies collaborate to develop a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). But, it never saw the light of day.
After Nintendo encountered licensing disagreements with Sony, they approached their rival Philips to negotiate a more favourable deal. After Sony revealed the ‘Play Station’ at 1991’s Consumer Electronics Show, Nintendo took to the stage a day later to surprisingly announce that they were to instead work with Philips to produce the SNES-CD add-on moving forward. However, that collaboration didn’t happen either and Nintendo instead went on to create the Nintendo 64.
But, after all these years a rare prototype of Sony’s SNES-CD has been discovered. One of several prototypes, the Sony PlayStation SFX-100 was a cartridge and disc-based system that would have ultimately seen the games industry walk an entirely different path to the rivalry between Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo that we see today.
The prototype model was found by Reddit user ‘analogueboy,’ whose Dad had once worked for a company alongside ex-Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Olaf Olafsson. When it became bankrupt, his Dad “found it in a box of junk he was supposed to throw out.”
Whether it still works is unknown, as a power cable needs to be sourced that will allow the prototype to be tested. But still, another piece of games industry history has been uncovered, and a reminder of what might have been.