Sony beat Facebook to Facebook

Sony’s PlayStation division was tantalisingly close to spearheading the ‘online social community’ phenomenon – beating the likes of MySpace to the idea.

That’s according to former Sony Entertainment President Chris Deering, who revealed to MCV that a secret Facebook-style web networking platform was being worked on behind-the-scenes by those responsible for launching PSOne – but was canned at the last minute.

In addition, a ‘streamed PlayStation TV channel’ was also trialled for PS2 back in 2002 – four years ahead of YouTube – but was also thrown out because of a global lack of interest in broadband.

Deering unveiled the news in the first of our new ‘MCV Legends’ features (read that here), in which he describes how he achieved such success.

When asked what the biggest challenge of his career was, Deering said: Getting Sony to believe that PlayStation could be a community online… We had a secret test program in Europe back in 1997 on PSOne, running a text-based community chat group with a special box called Net-Station that hooked up PCs to the TV.

The project code name was ‘Moccasin 5′. It operated across the major countries of Europe, and had quite a following, even from the US. At Sony Europe, we later worked on a PS2 concept called ‘Central Station’, which was planned to stream its own PlayStation TV channel, back in 2002. But uptake in broadband took longer to reach mass market than we expected, and we couldn’t get other regions to buy in.”

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