The PlayStation Name Was Nearly Axed by Sony's Founder

The PlayStation Name Was Nearly Axed by Sony's Founder

If it ain't broke.

As the PlayStation Classic launch approaches, now's a good time to remember the legacy of Sony's first game console that started an era. But the recognizable PlayStation name could have been called something different entirely according to those familiar with the origins of the PlayStation.

In a feature by Polygon looking back at the legacy of PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi from the perspective of people who worked with him, one story revealed how the PlayStation name was almost changed at the behest of Sony's founder.

According to Shuji Utsumi, former vice president of product acquisition at Sony Computer Entertainment America, following the original pitch for the PlayStation Kutaragi had to pitch a presentation to Sony founder Akio Morita.

The presentation was largely for courtesy as the PlayStation pitch was already approved by then-Sony CEO Norio Ohga. Luckily Morita was also pleased with the PlayStation calling it "a project Sony needs to be in." Everything was great except for the name.

"By the way, I don't like the name PlayStation. You should change it," Morita apparently said after the presentation. Unfortunately Kutaragi personally chose the PlayStation name and it was already registered. "So we were like, 'Shit, what should we do?'" Utsumi recalls.

Sony began searching for a new name, but two months later Morita suffered a stroke and never came back to work. It was sometime after that that the team asked Ohga if they could proceed with the PlayStation name, and the rest is history. Utsumi says that's a story they never shared since it was only known to six or seven people. "We were so embarrassed," Utsumi says.

It's hard to imagine what Sony's console future would look like if the system wasn't called the PlayStation. While the name might not have changed anything, it also very well could have. And besides the PlayStation naming system is one of the most streamlined in the industry compared to Nintendo or Microsoft who change up names and numbering devices every generation or so.

For more check out the full feature as well as our PlayStation Classic guide for more info. The PlayStation Classic is out on December 4.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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