Jun 262010

Someone who is clearly prophetic is responsible for this amazing PhotoShop job.

Many, many years ago Nintendo wanted to produce a CD add-on to compete with the Sega CD, despite the fact that Sega’s hardware had mediocre sales at best. They turned to none other than Sony to produce the SNES CD, and through a series of strange and unfortunate events, Sony ended up making the first PlayStation instead. Since that ill-fated partnership, fanboys from the camps of both video game creators have been wildly slinging rumors and accusations around about each other. Considering the obvious design similarities between the Wii remote and Sony’s newest peripheral, the PlayStation Move, a fanboy war will inevitably ignite somewhere. It is worth exploring some of the other conflicts between these two colossi of the gaming industry, even if it’s only so the waring factions can get their facts straight.

1. Sony got the idea for force feedback (rumble) in their controllers from Nintendo. TRUE

Nintendo released the first Rumble Pak in July of 1997, bundled with Star Fox 64. It was a clunky looking, battery-driven gizmo that connected to the memory card slot on the N64’s controller. It meant you couldn’t use a memory card and a Rumble Pak at the same time (unless you had a third party Rumble Pak with a built-in memory card), but most considered that for the level of immersion it offered that this was a fair trade. In an article written by IGN’s Levi Buchanan to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the Rumble Pak, he described the device as “an industry standard within a single generation”. It wasn’t until almost an entire year later in May of 1998 that Sony released it’s first DualShock controller, which was simply a DualAnalog PlayStation controller with vibration motors built in.

2. Nintendo invented the analog control stick as we know it today, then Sony stole it. FALSE

The thing closest resembling what we know as an analog stick was actually first seen on Western Digital/Smith Engineering’s Vertex which was released in 1983. This sort of control mechanism was widely ignored until 1996 when Sony utilized it in the PlayStation’s FlightStick controller, which featured two joysticks that were analog based. It was in the same year that Nintendo launched the N64, and its controller featured a thumb control stick, but it wasn’t analog. Instead, it was a digitally operated device that worked on technology closer to a computer mouse. So, even though Nintendo wasn’t the first to use a true analog stick, they were the ones who brought a thumb operated control stick back into a modern generation of gaming.

The FlightStick from Sony, which was the first modern era analog controller for PlayStation.

3. Sony stole all of the third party developers. FALSE

This argument dates all the way back to when Final Fantasy VII was still in development. Square Enix originally planned the game for the SNES, but later delayed production so it could be released on the N64. As the development process went along, it was determined that the amount of space available on the N64 cartridge simply wasn’t enough to accommodate the scope of gameplay they had planned for Final Fantasy VII. This lead the game’s developers to take the title to Sony’s PlayStation so it could be released on the console’s CD-ROM discs that offered vastly increased storage space. Overall, the PlayStation was just easier to develop for and people in the gaming industry were quick to recognize it. There are no credible reports or articles to be found which state that Sony made any deliberate attempts to “steal” developers from Nintendo — it’s just the way that things ended up.

The GameCube and PS2 era of game consoles brought very little to the table in the way of true innovation. Instead, these consoles focused on building upon the tried and true technology of the previous generation. Tons of graphical horsepower was added to both systems, and Sony began to get their toes wet in the online multiplayer arena. Other than the continued lack of third party support for the GameCube, and Nintendo’s apparent refusal to have anything to do with the internet, this was a peaceful time for in the world of video games. Things stayed calm for a while until the Wii and PS3 came into play, then the poo really hit the fan.

4. Sony took the idea of motion control from Nintendo. TRUE

This brings us up to present day, and the clash of the gaming titans has begun again. A mere eight months after Nintendo announced that the Wii would have a very unique motion sensitive controller, Sony announced the poorly received, albeit cleverly named, SixAxis controller. As the name indicated, the controller detected motion on six different axises, but had no means to detect the controller’s position in relation to the screen like the Wii remote did. In June of last year, information on a new motion-based controller for the PS3 called the Move began to surface. This controller takes a lot of Nintendo’s technology and expands on it, making the Move what some journalists have called “the Wiimote in HD”. By utilizing the PlayStation Eye instead of an infrared sensor bar, the Move claims to offer better detection of distance between the wand and the television. The Move doesn’t even need to be pointed at the screen for the console to be able to locate it in a room. Also, improvements in the accelerometer and gyroscopes promise to provide true 1:1 motion support much like the Wii MotionPlus add-on.

At first glance, it's nearly impossible to determine the difference between the Move and the Wii remote.

5. The next PSP will borrow heavily from the DS and 3DS line of consoles. OPEN FOR SPECULATION

When he was asked if Sony was planning a direct competitor to Nintendo’s 3DS, Sony Worldwide Studios vice present Scott Rohde dismissed the idea by saying, “No, no plans for that.” As of now, there are hardly even any rumors regarding the next

handheld from Sony, but given the lessons that history has taught us about their relationship with Nintendo, and despite Rohde’s denial, one doesn’t have to stretch their imagination too far to hypothesize about what’s to come. Visions of 3Ddisplays (with or without ocular aids), analog sticks, motion sensing, and built in rumble should be dancing in PSP owners’ heads. Of course, Sony would likely try to one-up Nintendo if any of these ideas were “borrowed”. Perhaps the PSPi 3DXL Lite will push the envelope of Nintendo’s innovation once more and we’ll be treated to tiny holograms of Kratos in God of War V: 3D.

Could it be....the PSP9000?!

Standing on Nintendo’s shoulders hasn’t been the only brick in the foundation of Sony’s business, but it certainly has been a key piece of their plan. This isn’t to say the rivalry and “copycatting” don’t have at least a small positive effect on video games and consoles as a whole. With a company like Sony right on Nintendo’s heels, constantly duplicating and building upon their ideas, Nintendo doesn’t get the chance to rest on their laurels. Both companies have demonstrated a penchant for keeping a very dedicated fan base, but they must keep changing, growing, and innovating like they have been in order to cement their place in the upcoming 7th generation of consoles.

  25 Responses to “Does Sony Really Take Everything Nintendo Creates?”

  1. I disagree with Sony stealing motion idea, as they were  the ones who started it. Sony’s R&D team were the first to create motion gaming with the idea, and reveal of the idea behind motion gaming around 10 years ago, or further back, starting with a big slue stick with and orange ball, being tracked to play games, long before Wii was even thought of, before even Eyetoy, which was released shortly after the new motion demonstration. Then, with the release of Eyetoy came many tech demos, and new possibilities, with full body tracking tech demo, basically was ricochet as shown with Kinect, almost exactly the same , but on Eyetoy, and the idea of motion gaming progressed as now all that was needed for the motion gaming was a very small stick, with a green ball on top. Sony had the ideas and projects first, just, unlike Nintendo, they waited for the right time, and the technology they visioned their motion control system working off of, and the PS3 allowed for them to do that. Sony i would say didn’t steal 3rd party developers, as the developers went to them, and made deals with Sony themselves, as choice, say similar to Hideo Kojima, they looked for the best, and most powerful, such what they are doing today, with Wii developers now moving towards Move, and multiplatform developers, moving toward PS3 in general, as Sony has always had Hardware ahead of Nintendo, and other competition. I would only consider “stealing 3rd party developer” under things such as Microsoft, who bought Bungie to have Halo exclusive, and, have money to throw out and spend to make deals, and at least get games multiplatform, or timed exclusive. Also, PSP 2 is confirmed  not to have 3D, and will be its own system, as companies don’t share their info, especially within just months of reveal, and i’m pretty sure Sony has the PSP 2 idea, and console specs near completion if not done already, and what does 3DS has that Sony wants?  And the idea of the store, and friends list is not considered copying, as PSP was acknowledged by Sony to get friends list and trophy for a next iteration of PSP, before 3Ds announcement in March. Also, during the PS2 era, innovation was shown with singstar, Eyetoy, and other things.  And, i may be mistaken, but i think the SEGA Saturn came out before Nintendo 64, and it had an analog stick for Nights on like a game specific controller.
    In the industry you can’t say anyone hasn’t taken ideas from another company and built upon it, Nintendo has done it, Sony’s done it, and Microsoft arguably, most of all done it the most, yet having their own innovations, like achievements and Live, and maybe even HDD in consoles.

  2. @yami930
    First of all, thank you for commenting on my article!  I’d like to take just a second to address a few points from your comment.
    -You are right: Sony did do a few things with the EyeToy, but since this is an editorialized piece I took some liberties with interpretations.  Games in the EyeToy PLAY line of games (Hero was a sword fighting one in which the EyeToy tracked a green foam sword, and I remember a hoverboard EyeToy game whose name escapes me) are definitely more closely associated with Kinect game play rather than the Wii remote and nunchuck setup.  The Move, however, is a direct “offspring” of Nintendo’s Wii remote/nunchuck and that is why it was the only example presented in this piece.
    -NiGHTS Into Dreams did in fact launch with an analog controller, but it was a month after the N64 came out.  Besides, as I stated, Nintendo’s N64 controller didn’t actually have an analog stick, but rather it was a digital control stick.
    Everything else you said is basically restating what I have already written, so I’ll just say thank you for being such an attentive and thorough reader. ^_^

  3. Lol the writer is such an idot.

  4. Your information regarding the SONY rumble is completely wrong.  Are you not aware that the first Dual Analog Controller…launched in Japan in April of 1997 (pre dating the rumble pak) INCLUDED rumble?  Do some research.
    Both your TRUE arguments fail.
    Also, regarding motion controls…are you not aware of the Xavix?  The Wii motion controller is a direct rip of this company’s product.  So why is SONY’s MOVE then not a copy of Xavix rather than the Wii Remote…because it doesn’t fit your thesis?

  5. The Motion control was already being developed back in PS2 eyetoy days 2004 it was a alittle crude but 100% not stolen at least so how you can say Sony stole it ?
    Look it up on youtube youll even see the tech demo 😛
    I think you need to research your work. instead of going for as many hits as possible, your making yourself look bad

  6. Like Mark H said… It has been in development for over 5 years CONFIRMED by Sony and there are videos around youtube that demonstrate it.
    You did some research on the analog but I doubt you really looked it up… Let me guess… You were arguing on Youtube videos or something on who did what first and who copied who and someone pulled that out of no where and then you looked it up, noticed it was true, and started using it? Cause if you came up with analog story then how come you didn’t know about Sony working on a motion controller at least a year before Wii was even announced?

  7. What a joke of a nintendo’s blind fan.  🙂

    eyetoy, bluray, 3D and so say hello…(+ sony has always 5 to 10 years of technological advantage over nintendo)

  8. The first patent related to the move that I am aware of was filed July 21, 2000. Long before the Wii was likely even a concept, let alone a product.It even shows a drawing that is almost exactly what the wand controller is today.

  9. People, in the end of the day, it always strikes as weird that Sony follows suit closely whenever Nintendo innovates on anything. It’s not to say that Sony didn’t invent the thing first or anything, it’s just that they keep things in a shelf, along probably a gazillion other nice things with potential(which comes when you’re a powerhouse with enough money to maintain costy R&D).
    Stating facts is one thing. Another completely different is blindly defending a company that, independently of having developed something first, only decides to take a risk when the risk has been taken.

  10. @#8
    that is the smart move, they just wait to see a reason for using it.
    would blindly march into the fight?
    i guessed so

  11. First of the first console that ever had a CD is Turbo16GFX. Sega copied that from them creating the SegaCD add-on to compete with them. But we all know what happened to it.
    3DS’ 3D tech already existed in smartphone’s before. Not as direct and widely used and known as 3DS today. Do more research rather than jumping the gun on who copy who.

  12. @ #8
    The reason Sony and other companies come up with pattens and keep them on the shelf is because of technology. Either it’s too expensive or the parts to create that product aren’t readily available. It’s not for the reason you state.

  13. Who cares if you made the thing first, if you suck at what you do then that’s too bad.

  14. @#9: Well, Nintendo does. They take risks and innovate, at least input-wise, where other Sony waits and sees, until they feel they MUST come out with their technologies in order to keep up with Nintendo’s innovations.
    It’s not about having the technology or not. It is about having the common sense to admit, as much of a fanboy one is, that the timing of Sony’s announcements tend to be a little curious. Even if they already tried the technology before, they only implement it fully after Nintendo does. It’s not about INVENTING something. It’s about making if viable, appeasing and functional videogame-wise.
    And to everyone citing the Rumble Pak coming out after the Dual analog controller, don’t be moronic to the point of believing that a console unveiling to the public doesn’t take longer than a new controller. Ultra 64 was presented to the public in february 1995 and the Rumble Pak was shown as a feature, if not then, slightly later.

  15. Hello!  Good morning everyone!

    I do in fact know about the tech demo everyone is referencing right now, but as I told the first commenter the gameplay for that is more closely related to the Kinect. Since there isn’t an actual controller involved.  That’s why it wasn’t addressed in this article.  Even the patent discusses a “prop input device”, meaning a stick with a ball on the end.

    @Tarbis…I’ve never seen a smartphone with a 3 dimensional display.  What carrier is it for?!  Where can I get one?!
    I attempted to present this article in an unbiased tone as I possibly could.  I meant in no way to inflame!  I appreciate everyone who feels so passionately about Sony coming out to put in there two cents.

  16. And don’t get me wrong, I love me some PlayStation. I played the hell out of the first one, certainly even more than my N64, PlayStation 2 is on my top 3 of favorite consoles ever, alongside NES and SNES and the PlayStation 3 is a technical marvel. Seriously, the Cell brilliant. If only they would shove in a better GPU to keep up with the brilliantly powerful CPU… I know I’d ditch my PS3 to buy it.
    But when it comes down to it, Nintendo does the things that really push the WAY you play the games forward. It’s hard for me, from the top of my head, to think of a single input (r)evolution that Sony promoted. We’re not arguing the best console. We’re arguing who brings to the table the elements that refresh the way we play games.

  17. Lol no wonder he’s a nintendo fanboy

  18. @Aron: Jesus Christ, why did you even bother writing this up? Honestly, people are so incredibly dumb and blind they don’t even dignify themselves to argue anything.
    I’m sorry for everyone posting stupidities here, mate. Keep ’em coming.

  19. Thanks for your support Julian.
    I really don’t know why I feel the need to defend myself, but I will about the “fanboy” comment.
    I do enjoy Nintendo products, but could hardly be considered a fanboy.  I owned a Wii and a PS2 until just recently when my PS2 bit the dust.  I have also owned an Xbox.  I don’t discriminate, I love video games no matter what system they’re for.

  20. I dont know why everyone forgets about this…   but the first motion controller was the power glove for the NES, am I right? And the first try for 3D was the virtual boy. Failed experiments? True. Maybe the wrong era

  21. It’s the tech industry. Everyone borrows/advances/steals ideas and tech from their competitors. This ‘argument’ will never end until someone throws down with “The DDR dance mat is a rip-off of the World Class Track Meet control pad”. Sony might have had the motion controller idea first, but Nintendo capitalized on it before them. It’s the ‘App’ store argument. Apple CLEARLY did not invent the idea of apps, however their marketing and consumer penetration has stopped anyone from ever associating small applications with anyone other than Apple and the iBrand.

  22. @ Jeff

    Heh…. you said ‘consumer penetration’….

  23. A very well written article. The content seemed fair and objective, and thank goodness there is still  a site with a writer who has some semblance of grammatical prowess.

  24. Good article but unfortunately about 1/2 the comments provides clear reasons why fanbois should be shot in the head.
    I truly hate to think how low your self-esteem is given that any hint of criticism, percieved criticism or simply pointing out something neutral (such as not bringing out “X” first) about whatever corporation you’ve attached your ego to results in you acting like a wounded high school kid being rejected by the girl he’s had a crush on for years.

  25. Wow, what feedback!
    Sure it may be easy to say “Sony stole from Nintendo” and the facts and research can go either way. But you can’t honestly look at the Wiimote and the Move Wand and NOT think there was no inspiration from Nintendo. Even if Sony had a motion controller in advance from Nintendo it would have been more in line with their own Eyetoy tech. Once Nintendo’s Wii took a hold of the world its easy to see how Song could have grafted their ideas onto a similar design.
    You could argue either side of the debate, but you can’t argue that Sony (and Microsoft for that matter) both seem to be biting at Nintendo’s massive money pile.

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