A few interesting bits of PlayStation history have been unearthed including photographs of the “Nintendo PlayStation” a while back. This was a CD and cartridge based console Sony was developing with Nintendo and the prototype for what would eventually become the original PlayStation. I decided to take a look at a few other relics of Sony history, some that came out, and one that (thankfully) didn’t.
The Boomerang Controller
I don’t think too many people are broken up about this one. When the Playstation 3 was originally announced a prototype controller emerged that raised more eyebrows than the N64’s 3-handed approach did. It looked like half a steering wheel with some buttons on it. Mercifully, when the console shipped it came with the DualShock 3. I do kind of wonder if the Sixaxis controls might have worked better on a controller that looked like it was ripped out of an airplane.
When Sony announced the Wonderbook at E3 the timing couldn’t have been much worse. It was a peripheral for a peripheral during a time when people were getting really tired of peripherals, plus it had motion controls. It did end up releasing and you can even still find them out there (they were under $5 at WalMart at the time of this writing). While it may not have been the smash-hit success that Sony was probably hoping for, it did give us a glimpse into the alternate reality and augmented reality experiences that are popping up all around us lately. Maybe Wonderbook was just ahead of its time?
The PSP go is another great idea that came out about ten years too soon. It was a PSP system that you could download games on to, it didn’t take UMDs, and it was a lot smaller than the original PSP. Sadly, it didn’t sell well, partly because not enough people were comfortable downloading games, the PSP was so easy to jailbreak, and also because retailers didn’t want to sell something that might put them out of business. There is still a demand for these on the secondary market and it’s kind of ironic to look at it now since it’s successor, the PlayStation Vita, is sort of the king of digital gaming (thank you PS Plus).
When you play as many games as I do, it’s easy to forget that Sony does more than make games. They actually started out making rice cookers before they got into consumer electronics. These two worlds collided back in 2010 when Sony released the Xperia Play. It was an early attempt to tap into the mobile gaming boom that was just over the horizon around that time. I actually think if Sony had stuck with this product it would have found it’s niche in the mobile market today. Phone technology moves incredibly fast so it was likely too expensive to keep working on. The average cellphone has maybe 6 months to a year before it’s outdated, console life cycles tend to go on a bit longer than that.
This is the most recent item on this list, having only released in the US in 2014. I honestly have no idea why it didn’t fly off shelves. It’s basically a PlayStation Vita that also allows you to play PSP and PSone games on your TV. It’s like a Roku or an Apple TV that plays games. Who wouldn’t want that? These are still available online, but Sony quickly dropped support and moved on. I still use mine for playing some Vita JRPGs and watching Hulu.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick glimpse at some of the awesome, weird, and terrible things Sony has created over the years. What are some of your favorite video game relics? Let us know in the comments below!
Brett Medlock is one of our leads on video production here at Enthusiast Gaming. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll