Gentle Bamboo Solutions

The unlikely success story of Sony PlayStation


I have an unlikely success story to share with you today. This one is about Sony PlayStation, the most successful console of all time. Yet, it was never meant to be an independent console. It was made just to play games designed by Nintendo – the video games giant of those days.

Sony and Nintendo signed an agreement. Sony did all the research and most of the investments. At the last moment, Nintendo backed out of the deal. Of course, Sony got really angry about this. They considered scrapping the project altogether, but (almost out of spite) decided to take a chance and launch it.

They were allowing games to be on CD’s which allowed more storage space that Nintendo’s cartridges. They approached many top-tier game designers and signed them up one after the other.

Nintendo always sent spiral bound booklets of their platform’s technical specifications document to their game designers. Since, console technology was always under development, it made sense for Nintendo to do this.

One of the tactics Sony used was to send their tech spec doc in a high quality hardbound book. Game designers saw this and felt it was a more stable platform (because of, frankly, a trivial investment in better quality book). This meant potentislly lesser rework on games due to less frequent platform changes.

This perceived feeling of stability led to many of the best designers signing up with Sony.

There are many stories about how PS became such an iconic pop culture symbol over the past few decades which I highly recommend you research. There’s loads of great ideas there on how a company with no knowledge of the industry took on the best of the best, and succeeded at such a scale.

In these difficult times, we all need some tactical and practical ideas, along with some motivation and hope. Sony PlayStation will give you both.

Playing at my station,