Ken Kutaragi designer of the Sony PlayStation # history

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Excerpt from The PC Pioneers

On this day in 1950, Ken Kutaragi was born, the Sony PlayStation designer

Back in 1986 Sony had applied its latest CDi technology in a liaison with Nintendo to create a CD-ROM version of the SNES. The company’s earlier systems had a rewritable disc which made more it more prone to being erased and had little security against piratical copying.

Sony planned to deliver its own version of the SNES using its new CD-ROM, but behind the scenes Nintendo could not reach agreement on a split of revenues with Sony. It felt that the earlier contract had given too much power across to Sony. So when Sony announced the details of its console, the very next day it soon became clear that Nintendo had moved across to a Philips technology.

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The Sony president was none-too-pleased and appointed Ken Kutaragi to use the company’s experience to develop a Sony console. In an early manifestation some two hundred Play Station units were created from this aborted Nintendo project, but Sony soon suspended this approach.

Kutaragi worked on to develop a new product called PlayStation, contracting it to one word. The outer design was created by Teiyu Goto. However there was not a widespread belief in the project among senior Sony executives. In June 1992 it came to a showdown meeting.

The outcome was Kutaragi moving to Sony Music, an autonomous though Sony-owned operation, where he was permitted to continue his work. PlayStation was launched in December 1994. It was the first successful disk-based system and became the first console to sell over 100 million units, in under ten years from launch.

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