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Rummaging through the press releases for the Steam Deck presented something that you don’t often see from hardware manufacturers these days and that’s prototypes. Every version of the Steam Deck has been nicely laid out by Valve in one picture, painting a picture of just how disastrously wrong they could have gotten the new handheld.
Our personal favourites are the ones where you can see they were focused on getting the actual controllers embedded on the system right and opted to build that instead of the fully fleshed out device. We also enjoy seeing the spool and mess of wires crammed into the obviously 3D printed chassis that got neater as they went through each version.
Console prototypes of the past
The first time the Nintendo DS was shown off at E3 in 2004, it was shown in its prototype form, which quickly got swapped out for the thicker ‘fat’ original version we all know now.
On the other hand, more infamously was Sony’s original concept for the PlayStation 3. It featured a giant banana-like controller, which not only looked impractical but made it look like it fell out of a Google Image Search from 2005.
While the original page is very small now, an Iwata Asks interview did reveal the concept for the Wii U controller, which was a screen bolted to two Wii Remotes.
The most famous prototype for video game consoles is and always will be the Nintendo PlayStation, a partnership between Nintendo and Sony that was being explored for the next generation of games to still be attacked to the Super Nintendo.
Sony didn’t like the agreement and thought they could provide it themselves, cutting Nintendo out of the equation, eventually leading to a brief partnership between Nintendo and Philips.
This produced the CD-I, which had licensed Nintendo games, including The Legend of Zelda and Mario. These were then repurposed in parody videos throughout the 2000s for the abysmal quality.
Sony would launch the PlayStation in 1994 and the Nintendo PlayStation would disappear until just a few years ago when it was found in an attic and quickly auctioned. It eventually began working a while after, now able to play CDs.