Ken Kutaragi, the former CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, has told that PlayStation never considered Nintendo as a competitor. During his visit to Bandai Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada’s bar, he has stated pearls such as that Sony’s first office in Japan was opened near a pub area. But he also had time to reminisce about the firm’s relationships with other companies such as Nintendo as a competitor. The video of the full interview can be found below; although the audio is in Japanese, it has English subtitles:
According to Ken Kutaragi the rivalry between PlayStation and Nintendo has helped the industry grow
Ken Kutaragi (who was also responsible for the design of the SNES’s SPC700 sound chip) expressed he greatly enjoyed his years working on the Nintendo team. Based on this, he believes that the media of those years misinterpreted those relationships between companies. In this regard, he argues that in the long run, that the competition between Nintendo, Sony, and Sega only helped the industry grow.
“Prior to PlayStation, I worked on Super Famicom with Nintendo, and I liked Mr. Uemura very much and his team very much, I was often with them and got along with them. But from the outside, we were regarded to be fighting. We were not fighting at all,” he stated.
“I’ve been asked only such kind of questions, “Is [PlayStation’s] competitor Sega or Nintendo?” they asked me, but we’d never thought who the competitor was because we were all workmates. However, people outside didn’t think so…they didn’t know the truth…They made our industry liven up,” he adds.
During the 1990s, it is understandable that the public perceived these business relationships in a less friendly way than today. Nowadays it is true that Sony and Nintendo occupy different niches within the video game industry, in those times the context was very different.
For example, after the announcement of PlayStation in 1991, Nintendo ended the Sony agreement with which they were going to implement the inclusion of a CD-ROM drive for the SNES and allied with the firm Philips.