Sony didn’t believe PlayStation would be a viable business at the start
Sony was sceptical of the PlayStation project at the start, even going as far as to say it didn’t want such a brand in its ‘DNA”.
It’s difficult to think of the gaming industry without consoles like the PS4 and PS3, but it the entire platform might not have existed if it weren’t for a small passionate group of Sony employees.
Speaking at the Develop in Brighton conference, Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment admitted when the PlayStation project first started, Sony didn’t want anything to do with it.
“I was already working at Sony Corporate as a corporate Sony PR guy and PlayStation originally came along as a secret project called PSX,” said House. “It’s really hard to think now about how it was viewed within Sony and it was viewed extremely negatively by a large part of the corporation.
House himself volunteered for project PSX from the beginning and became one of the small group of founders for the PlayStation platform, but he is still shocked when he thinks of what Sony execs thought of it at the beginning.
“When I eventually made the switch over to SCEE, my then boss said I was an idiot and why would I go work on a toy. Another great quote was that ‘this will never be a serious part of Sony’s business’.”
“I guess there was a bit of rebelliousness in me that wanted to prove them wrong.”
The company apparently saw video gaming as merely an extension of the toy market, something designed exclusively for children, and “not what should be in Sony’s DNA”.
Thankfully for us, House and the original founders including Ken Kutaragi saw a strong future for the PlayStation brand.
“One of the visions that convinced me to make the move was that [Kutaragi] had a fully baked vision for what this was going to be and it all centred around moving games, in terms of the distribution model, to CDs.”
“What went with that was what I would call a philosophy of inclusivity – that if you disrupted the market and moved away from cartridges to CDs you could lower the cost of entry for people. That would lead to a far wider variety of game teams and game development taking place.”
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