‘A monster’ at Sony was born after Nintendo’s Yamauchi severed ties
Phil Harrison, the former head of Sony Worldwide Studios, has given his account of the falling out between Sony and Nintendo during the SNES-CD negotiations.
Before PlayStation went on to revolutionise the world of electronic entertainment, Sony had tied itself to a deal with Nintendo to jointly work on a CD-ROM add-on for the SNES.
At the time, Harrison joined what was then called Sony Electronic Publishing, and the firm had just started releasing cartridges for the SNES and Sega Mega Drive.
But in a dramatic turnaround that spun two electronic empires into opposition, Nintendo’s ex-president Hiroshi Yamauchi announced at CES – to the surprise of Sony as well as onlookers – that the firm would be partnering with Phillips for its SNES-CD platform.
“[Sony and Nintendo] fell out over the way the royalties were divided up,” Harrison told Develop.
“That was very embarrassing to Sony and it’s not how you do business with companies of that size and stature.
“What it ended up doing was creating a bit of a monster in terms of the passion and drive within Sony, particularly Ken Kutaragi, to prove everyone wrong.”
A year later, Sony asked Harrison to join a new top-secret team known as Project One…
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