Saturday, June 8, 2019

Gaming Ads: Sony Computer Entertainment America

This post is going to include Sony Computer Entertainment, 989 Studios, and 989 Sports ads, and just about any other Sony-related game ads except Sony Imagesoft which will be posted next week. I did already post about Sony's entry into video games way back in the ads for CSG Imagesoft which was a collaboration between CBS and Sony Group. Some of that will overlap here though I'll start with a quick overview of Sony before video games. Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K., also known as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, was founded in 1946 by Masaru Ibuka. In 1947 it successfully launched a power megaphone, completed a magnetic tape recorder prototype in 1949, and in 1950 released the G-Type recorder and a recording tape dubbed Soni-tape in 1950.

A Sony logo went into use in 1955 but the company name wasn't changed to Sony until 1958. However, Sony's corporate history page doesn't actually say why it changed its name to Sony or what the name means. According to the Sony Wikipedia entry the word is a combination of sonus (root of sonic and sound) and sonny (young boy, and in Japan sonny boys were presentable young men). To summarize the pre-game stuff quickly, Sony began making radios in the '50s, televisions in the '60s, VCRs (using Sony's Betamax format) in the '70s, the Walkman in 1979, and the first CD player in 1982. Sony opened Sony Corporation of America in 1960 and the aforementioned CBS and Sony collaboration began in 1968. Sony Electronic Entertainment was founded in 1991 and CSG Imagesoft was renamed to Sony Imagesoft.

Sony Imagesoft was publishing games on a variety of platforms nearly all the way up to the release of Sony's own PlayStation console. It would eventually merge with Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) which was established in 1993. I expect the story of the PlayStation is also quite well known and since this is just an ads post, I'm not going to get into all of the details. Essentially Nintendo hired Sony in 1988 to create a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The add-on, which was known as Play Station, was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991. Nintendo and Sony were unable to agree on the financials and the day after the Play Station was shown, Nintendo broke its agreement with Sony to go with Philips instead. Of course, the president of Sony was angry and in response chose to create a video game console to compete directly with Nintendo.

The original PlayStation launched in Japan on December 24, 1994 and on September 9, 1995 it released in North America. It didn't take long for the PlayStation to be a huge success, in large part due to the industry's push into 3D graphics which the system handled much better than Sega's Saturn, and Nintendo hadn't yet moved into 3D games as the N64 didn't release until 1996. Sony has stuck with the PlayStation name following up the original with the PlayStation 2 (2000), PlayStation 3 (2007; 2006 in Japan)), and PlayStation 4 (2013). One area that Sony hasn't fared as well in has been handheld gaming where Nintendo has dominated the market since the Game Boy (1989). Sony released the PlayStation Portable in 2005 (2004 in Japan) and then the PlayStation Vita in 2012 (2011 in Japan). I should add that in 2016 Sony renamed Sony Computer Entertainment and all of its studios to Sony Interactive Entertainment.







More ads can be found at Facebook: Sony Computer Entertainment America

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