Philips CD-i

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Compact Disc-Interactive
Philips CDI 910, the first consumer-oriented CD-i player, pictured with its "Touchpad" game controller
Media type Optical disc
Encoding Various
CapacityTypically up to 744 MiB [1]
Standard Green Book
Developed by Philips, Sony
UsageAudio, video and data storage
Extended from Compact disc
Released1990;29 years ago (1990)

The Compact Disc-Interactive (CD-I, later CD-i) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was mostly developed and marketed by Dutch company Philips. It was created as an extension of CDDA and CD-ROM and specified in the Green Book , co-developed by Philips and Sony, to combine audio, text and graphics. [2] The two companies initially expected to impact the education/training, point of sale, and home entertainment industries, [3] but CD-i eventually became best known for its video games. [4]

Digital media Any media that are encoded in machine-readable formats

Digital media are any media that are encoded in machine-readable formats. Digital media can be created, viewed, distributed, modified and preserved on digital electronics devices.

Optical disc Flat, usually circular disc which encodes binary data

In computing and optical disc recording technologies, an optical disc (OD) is a flat, usually circular disc which encodes binary data (bits) in the form of pits and lands on a special material on one of its flat surfaces. The encoding material sits atop a thicker substrate which makes up the bulk of the disc and forms a dust defocusing layer. The encoding pattern follows a continuous, spiral path covering the entire disc surface and extending from the innermost track to the outermost track. The data is stored on the disc with a laser or stamping machine, and can be accessed when the data path is illuminated with a laser diode in an optical disc drive which spins the disc at speeds of about 200 to 4,000 RPM or more, depending on the drive type, disc format, and the distance of the read head from the center of the disc. Most optical discs exhibit a characteristic iridescence as a result of the diffraction grating formed by its grooves. This side of the disc contains the actual data and is typically coated with a transparent material, usually lacquer. The reverse side of an optical disc usually has a printed label, sometimes made of paper but often printed or stamped onto the disc itself. Unlike the 3​12-inch floppy disk, most optical discs do not have an integrated protective casing and are therefore susceptible to data transfer problems due to scratches, fingerprints, and other environmental problems.

Philips Dutch multinational electronics company

Koninklijke Philips N.V. is a Dutch multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Amsterdam, one of the largest electronics companies in the world, currently focused in the area of healthcare and lighting. It was founded in Eindhoven in 1891 by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik, with their first products being light bulbs. It was once one of the largest electronic conglomerates in the world and currently employs around 74,000 people across 100 countries. The company gained its royal honorary title in 1998 and dropped the "Electronics" in its name in 2013.


CD-i media physically have the same dimensions as CD, but with up to 744  MiB of digital data storage, including up to 72 minutes of full motion video. [5] CD-i players were usually standalone boxes that connect to a standard television; some less common setups included integrated CD-i television sets and buses for personal computers. [6] Most players were created by Philips; the format was licensed by Philips and Microware for use by other manufacturers, notably Sony who released professional CD-i players under the "Intelligent Discman" brand. Unlike CD-ROM drives, CD-i players are complete computer systems centered around dedicated Motorola 68000-based microprocessors and its own operating system called CD-RTOS. [7] [8] [9] [10]

A full motion video (FMV) is a video game narration technique that relies upon pre-recorded video files to display action in the game. While many games feature FMVs as a way to present information during cutscenes, games that are primarily presented through FMVs are referred to as full-motion video games or interactive movies.

Bus (computing) communication system that transfers data between components inside a computer

In computer architecture, a bus is a communication system that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers. This expression covers all related hardware components and software, including communication protocols.

Personal computer Computer intended for use by an individual person

A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers.

Media released on the format included video games and "edutainment" and multimedia reference titles, such as interactive encyclopedias and museum tours - which were popular before public Internet access was widespread - as well as business software. [11] Philips's CD-i system also implemented Internet features, including subscriptions, web browsing, downloading, e-mail, and online play. [12] Philips's aim with its players was to introduce interactive multimedia content for the general public by combining features of a CD player and games console, [13] but at a lower price than a personal computer with a CD-ROM drive.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Online console gaming involves connecting a console to a network over the Internet for services. Through this connection, it provides users the ability to play games with other users online, in addition to other online services.

CD player an electronic device that plays audio compact discs

A CD player is an electronic device that plays audio compact discs, which are a digital optical disc data storage format. CD players were first sold to consumers in 1982. CDs typically contain recordings of audio material such as music or audiobooks. CD players may be part of home stereo systems, car audio systems, personal computers, or portable CD players such as CD boomboxes. Most CD players produce an output signal via a headphone jack or RCA jacks. To use a CD player in a home stereo system, the user connects an RCA cable from the RCA jacks to a hi-fi and loudspeakers for listening to music. To listen to music using a CD player with a headphone output jack, the user plugs headphones or earphones into the headphone jack.

Authoring kits for the format were released first in 1988, and the first player aimed for home consumers, Philips's CDI 910/205, at the end of 1991, initially priced around US$1,000 (equivalent to $1,839in 2018), [14] and capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs, CD+G (CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, Photo CDs and Video CDs (VCDs), though the latter required an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1 decoding. Initially marketed to consumers as "home entertainment systems", and in later years as a "gaming platform", [15] CD-i did not manage to find enough success in the market, and was mostly abandoned by Philips in 1996. [16] [17] The format continued to be supported for licensees for a few more years after. [18]

An authoring system is a program that has pre-programmed elements for the development of interactive multimedia software titles. Authoring systems can be defined as software that allows its user to create multimedia applications for manipulating multimedia objects.


CD+G is an extension of the compact disc standard that can present low-resolution graphics alongside the audio data on the disc when played on a compatible device. CD+G discs are often used for karaoke machines, which use this functionality to present on-screen lyrics for the song contained on the disc. The CD+G specifications were published by Philips and Sony in an updated revision of the Red Book specifications.

Photo CD system designed by Kodak for digitizing and saving photos in a CD

Photo CD is a system designed by Kodak for digitizing and saving photos onto a CD. Launched in 1991, the discs were designed to hold nearly 100 high quality images, scanned prints and slides using special proprietary encoding. Photo CDs are defined in the Beige Book and conform to the CD-ROM XA and CD-i Bridge specifications as well. They were intended to play on CD-i players, Photo CD players, and any computer with a suitable software.


Development of the "Compact Disc-Interactive" format began in 1984 (two years after the launch of Compact Disc) and it was first publicly announced by Philips and Sony - two of the largest electronics companies of the time - at Microsoft's CD-ROM Conference in Seattle in March 1986. [19] [20] [21] Microsoft's CEO Bill Gates had no idea beforehand that the format was under development. [22] The Green Book, formally known as the "CD-i Full Functional Specification", defined the format for interactive, multimedia compact discs designed for CD-i players. The Green Book specification also defines a whole hardware set built around the Motorola 68000 microprocessor family, and an operating system called CD-RTOS based on OS-9, a product of Microware. [23] The standard was originally not freely available and had to be licensed from Philips. [24] However, the 1994 version of the standard was eventually made available free by Philips. [25]

Sony Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation

Sony Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo. Its diversified business includes consumer and professional electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services. The company owns the largest music entertainment business in the world, the largest video game console business and one of the largest video game publishing businesses, and is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets, and a leading player in the film and television entertainment industry. Sony was ranked 97th on the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list.

Microsoft U.S.-headquartered technology company

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. In 2016, it was the world's largest software maker by revenue, and as of 2019 is the world's most valuable company. The word "Microsoft" is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software". Microsoft is ranked No. 30 in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

CD-ROM pre-pressed compact disc containing computer data

A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write to or erase—CD-ROMs, i.e. it is a type of read-only memory.

CD-i discs conform to the Red Book specification of audio CDs (CD-DA). Tracks on a CD-i's program area can be CD-DA tracks or CD-i tracks, but the first track must always be a CD-i track, and all CD-i tracks must be grouped together at the beginning of the area. CD-i tracks are structured according to the CD-ROM XA specification (using either Mode 2 Form 1 or Mode 2 Form 2 modes), and have different classes depending on their contents ("data", "video", "audio", "empty" and "message"). "Message" sectors contain audio data to warn users of CD players that the track they are trying to listen to is a CD-i track and not a CD-DA track. [24] The CD-i specification also specifies a file system similar to (but not compatible with) ISO 9660 to be used on CD-i tracks, as well as certain specific files that are required to be present in a CD-i compatible disc. [24] Compared to the Yellow Book (specification for CD-ROM), the Green Book CD-i standard solves synchronisation problems by interleaving audio and video information on a single track. [26]

Compact Disc Digital Audio Audio data format used on the compact disc

Compact Disc Digital Audio, also known as Audio CD, is the standard format for audio compact discs. The standard is defined in the Red Book, one of a series of "Rainbow Books" that contain the technical specifications for all CD formats.

File system concrete format or program for storing files and directories on a data storage device

In computing, a file system or filesystem, controls how data is stored and retrieved. Without a file system, information placed in a storage medium would be one large body of data with no way to tell where one piece of information stops and the next begins. By separating the data into pieces and giving each piece a name, the information is easily isolated and identified. Taking its name from the way paper-based information systems are named, each group of data is called a "file". The structure and logic rules used to manage the groups of information and their names is called a "file system".

ISO 9660 is a file system for optical disc media. Being published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) the file system is considered an international technical standard. Since the specification is available for anybody to purchase, implementations have been written for many operating systems.

The format quickly gained interest from large manufacturers, and received backing from many particularly Matsushita. [27] [28] Although a joint effort, Philips eventually took over the majority of CD-i development at the expense of Sony. [29] Philips invested many millions in developing titles and players based on the CD-i specification. [30] Initially branded "CD-I", the name was changed in 1991 to "CD-i" with a lowercase i.

The CD-i Ready format is a type of bridge format, also designed by Philips, that defines discs compatible with CD Digital audio players and CD-i players. This format puts CD-i software and data into the pregap of Track 1.

The CD-i Bridge format, defined in Philips' White Book, is a transitional format allowing bridge discs to be played both on CD-ROM drives and on CD-i players.

The CD-i Digital Video format was launched in 1993 containing movies that could be played on CD-i players with a Digital Video Cartridge add-on. The format was incompatible with Video CD (VCD), although a CD-i unit with the DVC could play both formats. Only about 20 movies were released on the format and it was stopped in 1994 in favor of VCD. [31]

Commercial software

A Philips CDI 210 playing a standard CD disc CD-i 210 as a CD Player.jpg
A Philips CDI 210 playing a standard CD disc

Applications were developed using authoring software produced by OptImage. This included OptImage's Balboa Runtime Libraries and MediaMogul. The second company that produced authoring software was Script Systems; they produced ABCD-I. Much of the CD-i software were promoted and/or published by American Interactive Media (AIM), a joint venture between Philips and its subsidiary PolyGram formed in Los Angeles in 1986, before its public debut, to publish CD-i based consumer software. [32] [33] [34] Similarly in Europe, Philips Interactive Media was launched.

Philips at first marketed CD-i as a family entertainment product, and avoided mentioning video games to not compete against game consoles. [35] Early software releases focused heavily on educational, music, and self-improvement titles, with only a few games, many of them adaptations of board games such as Connect Four . However, the system was handily beaten in the market for multimedia devices by cheap low-end PCs, [36] and the games were the best-selling software. By 1993 Philips encouraged MS-DOS and console developers to create games, introduced a $250 peripheral with more memory and support for full-motion video, and added to new consoles a second controller port for multiplayer games. [35]

The attempts to develop a foothold in the games market were unsuccessful, as the system was designed strictly as a multimedia player and thus was under-powered compared to other gaming platforms on the market in most respects. [37] Earlier CD-i games included entries in popular Nintendo franchises, although those games were not developed by Nintendo. Specifically, a Mario game (titled Hotel Mario ), and three Legend of Zelda games were released: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon , Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda's Adventure . Nintendo and Philips had established an agreement to co-develop a CD-ROM enhancement for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System due to licensing disagreements with Nintendo's previous partner Sony (an agreement that produced a prototype console called the SNES-CD). [38] While Philips and Nintendo never released such a CD-ROM add-on, Philips was still contractually allowed to continue using Nintendo characters.

As announced at CES 1992, [39] large number of full motion video titles such as Dragon's Lair and Mad Dog McCree appeared on the system. One of these, Burn:Cycle , is considered one of the stronger CD-i titles and was later ported to PC. The February 1994 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly remarked that the CD-i's full motion video capabilities were its strongest point, and that nearly all of its best software required the MPEG upgrade card. [40]

Philips also released several versions of popular TV game shows for the CD-i, including versions of Jeopardy! (hosted by Alex Trebek), Name That Tune (hosted by Bob Goen), and two versions of The Joker's Wild (one for adults hosted by Wink Martindale and one for kids hosted by Marc Summers). All CD-i games in North America (with the exception of Name That Tune) had Charlie O'Donnell as announcer. The Netherlands also released its version of Lingo on the CD-i in 1994.

In 1993, American musician Todd Rundgren created the first music-only fully interactive CD, No World Order , for the CD-i. This application allows the user to completely arrange the whole album in their own personal way with over 15,000 points of customization. Dutch eurodance duo 2 Unlimited released a CD-i compilation album in 1994 called "Beyond Limits" which contains standard CD tracks as well as CD-i-exclusive media on the disc. [41] [42]

CD-i has a series of learning games ("edutainment") targeted at children from infancy to adolescence. Those intended for a younger audience included Busytown , The Berenstain Bears and various others which usually had vivid cartoon-like settings accompanied by music and logic puzzles.

By mid-1996 the U.S. market for CD-i software had dried up and Philips had given up on releasing titles there, but continued to publish CD-i games in Europe, where the system still held some popularity from a video gaming perspective. [43] With the home market exhausted, Philips tried with some success to position the technology as a solution for kiosk applications and industrial multimedia. [44]

Some homebrew developers have released video games on the CD-i format in later years, such as Frog Feast (2005) and Super Quartet (2018). [45]

Player models

CD-i compatible models were released (as of April 1995) in the U.S., Benelux, France, Germany, the UK, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. It was reported to be released further in Brazil, India and Australia in the "coming months", with plans to also introduce it in China, South Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines. [46]

Philips models

Philips CD-i (200-700 series)
Philips CD-i logo.png
Commercial logo of CD-i, in use from 1992
Type Home video game console
Media player
Generation Fourth generation
Release date
  • NA: December 3, 1991
  • JP: April 25, 1992 [47]
  • EU: July 10, 1992
Discontinued1998 [48]
Media CD-i, Audio CD, CD+G, Karaoke CD, Video CD
Operating system CD-RTOS
CPU Philips SCC68070 @ 15.5 MHz
Memory1 MB RAM
Display384×280 to 768×560
GraphicsPhilips SCC66470
SoundMCD 221, ADPCM eight channel sound
Predecessor Philips Videopac + G7400 (spiritual)

In addition to consumer models, professional and development players were sold by Philips Interactive Media Systems and their VARs. The first CD-i system was produced by Philips in collaboration with Kyocera in 1988 - the Philips 180/181/182 modular system. [49] [50] Philips marketed several CD-i player models as shown below. [51]

There also exist a number of hard-to-categorize models, such as the FW380i, an integrated mini-stereo and CD-i player; the 21TCDi30, a television with a built-in CD-i device; the CD-i/PC 2.0, a CD-i module with an ISA interface for IBM-compatible 486 PCs. [54] [55]


Other manufacturers

In addition to Philips, several manufacturers produced CD-i players some of which were still on sale years after Philips itself abandoned the format. [56] Manufacturers included:

Before the actual commercial debut of the CD-i format, some other companies had interest in building players and some made prototypes, but were never released - this includes Panasonic (who were originally a major backer of the format), Pioneer, JVC, Toshiba, Epson, Ricoh, Fujitsu, Yamaha. [63] [64] In addition, Sanyo showed a prototype portable CD-i player in 1992. [65]

Hardware specifications

Back of a Philips CDI 210 (PAL) player Back of CD-i.JPG
Back of a Philips CDI 210 (PAL) player
The CD-i Mouse, most commonly used for professional software CDi Mouse Picture 2.jpg
The CD-i Mouse, most commonly used for professional software
CD-i "Commander" remote control, with an opened sliding cover that reveals buttons for playing audio CDs CD-i Remote 3.jpg
CD-i "Commander" remote control, with an opened sliding cover that reveals buttons for playing audio CDs
The CD-i "Roller" controller, specially designed for kids Philips-CDi-Roller-Controller.jpg
The CD-i "Roller" controller, specially designed for kids

TeleCD-i and CD-MATICS

Recognizing the growing need among marketers for networked multimedia, Philips partnered in 1992 with Amsterdam-based CDMATICS to develop TeleCD-i [69] (also TeleCD). In this concept, the CD-i player is connected to a network such as PSTN or Internet, enabling data-communication and rich media presentation. Dutch grocery chain Albert Heijn and mail-order company Neckermann were early adopters and introduced award-winning TeleCD-i applications for their home-shopping and home-delivery services. CDMATICS also developed the special Philips TeleCD-i Assistant and a set of software tools to help the worldwide multimedia industry to develop and implement TeleCD-i. TeleCD-i is the world's first networked multimedia application at the time of its introduction. In 1996, Philips acquired source code rights from CDMATICS.


E-mail screen of CD-Online UK EmailCDOnline.jpg
E-mail screen of CD-Online UK

Internet services on the CD-i devices were facilitated by the use of an additional hardware modem and "CD-Online" disc (renamed Web-i in the US [70] ), which Philips initially released in Britain in 1995 for $150 US. [71] [72] This service provided the CD-i with full internet access (with a 14.4k modem [73] ), including online shopping, email, and support for networked multiplayer gaming on select CD-i games. [74] The service required a CD-i player with DV cartridge, and an "Internet Starter Kit" which initially retailed for £99.99. [75] It was advertized as bringing "full Internet access to the living room on TV screens". [76] Andy Stout, a writer for the official CD-i magazine, explained CD-Online:

It is very much Internet-lite. The main advantages are that it's cheap - probably working out at a third of the cost of a PC or Mac solution - and incredibly user-friendly. The downside though is using a browser that doesn't support Netscape, and coping with all the drawbacks of the machine's minuscule memory - you can only ever access 10 articles on Usenet at a time, it'll only support 80 bookmarks maximum and for all that trouble all your saved games, preferences, and high scores will have been written over in RAM. ... It's got the full access right now but with only about 40% of the functionality, which will probably be fine for people who don't know what they're missing. But the virtual keyboard is a complete nightmare to use ... [77]

The CD-Online service went live in the UK on October 25, 1995 [78] and in March 1996 in the Netherlands (for 399 guilders), [73] and also released in Belgium. [79] The system was reportedly scheduled to launch in the US as "Web-i" in August 1996. [80] The domain, which was used for the British CD-Online service, went offline in 2000. [81]

Reception and market performance

Philips had invested heavily in the CD-i format and system, and it was often compared with the Commodore CDTV as a single combination of computer, CD, and television. [82] The product was touted as a single machine for home entertainment connected to a standard TV and controlled by a regular remote control [83] - although the format was noted to have various non-entertainment business opportunities too, such as travel and tourism or the military. In 1990, Peugeot used CD-i for its point of sale application promoting its then-new 605 automobile, and it was also at the time used by fellow car manufacturer Renault for staff training programmes, and in Japan by the Ministry of Trade and Industry for an exhibition there. A Philips executive, Gaston Bastiaens, quoted in 1990 "CD-I will be 'the medium' for entertainment, education and information in the 90's.". [84] Sony introduced its three portable CD-i players in June 1990, pitching them as "picture books with sound". [85]

The ambitious CD-i format had initially created much interest after its 1986 announcement, both in the west and in Japan, buoyed by the success of the CD. However after repeated delays (hardware were first intended to be ready and shipped by Christmas 1987) interest was slowly lost. Electronic Arts for instance was enthusiastic about CD-i and formed a division for the development of video game titles on the format, but it was eventually halted with the intention of resuming when CD-i players would reach the market. The company eventually never resumed CD-i software development when it was released. [86] The delay also gave more attention to the hyped Digital Video Interactive (DVI) in 1987, which demonstrated full screen, full motion video (FMV) using a compression chip on a IBM PC/AT computer. [87] Amid the attention around its potential rival DVI, [88] Philips and Sony decided to find a way to add full screen FMV abilities to the CD-i standard, causing further delay. [89] Meanwhile the Microsoft-backed CD-ROM standard was improving and solved certain video playback issues that were present on the CD-i - CD-ROM format products were already on the market by 1987. [90] At the end, CD-ROM standard benefited from the CD-i and DVI mishaps, [91] and by the time CD-i players for consumers were released in 1991, CD-ROM had already become known and established. [92] Ron Gilbert commented in early 1990 "The CD-I specifications look great, but where are the machines? If they'd come out four years ago, they'd have been hot, but now they're behind the times." [93] Another reason that led to fading interest pre-launch was the fact CD-i players would not launch with FMV but instead receive it later through a purchasable add-on cartridge (it was originally expected to come built-in) - as well as the obsolete Motorola processor, OS-9 software, and a launch price considered high. [94]

Although Philips had aggressively promoted their CD-i products in the U.S., by August 1993 Computer Gaming World reported that "skepticism persists about its long-term prospects" compared to other platforms like IBM PC compatibles, Apple Macintosh, and Sega Genesis. [95] The magazine stated in January 1994 that despite Philips' new emphasis on games "CD-i is still not the answer for hardcore gamers", but the console "may yet surprise us all in the future". It recommended the CD-i with video cartridge for those needing to buy a new console as "The price is right and there is more software to support it", but 3DO Interactive Multiplayer was probably better for those who could wait a few months. [35] The Electronic Entertainment August 1994 issue noted that the CD-i, along with the Atari Jaguar, neither have an "effective, let alone innovative" game library to compete against the then newly released Sega CD. [96]

After being outsold in the market by cheaper multimedia PCs, in 1994 Philips attempted to emphasize CD-i as a game playing machine, but this did not help the situation. [97] An early 1995 review of the system in GamePro stated that "inconsistent game quality puts the CD-i at a disadvantage against other high-powered game producers." [98] A late 1995 review in Next Generation criticized both Philips's approach to marketing the CD-i and the hardware itself ("The unit excels at practically nothing except FMV, and then only with the addition of a $200 digital video cartridge"). The magazine noted that while Philips had not yet officially discontinued the CD-i, it was dead for all intents and purposes, citing as evidence the fact that though Philips had a large booth at the 1995 Electronic Entertainment Expo, there was no CD-i hardware or software on display. Next Generation scored the console one out of five stars. [67] Another trouble for Philips in 1995 was the formation of HDCD, which promised better quality video compared to Video CD's (VCD) MPEG-1 compression method - Philips had heavily promoted the CD-i's VCD playing capabilities. [99] Philips Media consolidated its CD-i activities from its Los Angeles office in March 1996. [100] It was reported in October 1996 that Philips was ready to "call it quits" in the American market. [101]


In October 1994, Philips claimed an installed base of one million units for the CD-i. [102] In 1996, The Wall Street Journal reported that total US sales amounted to 400,000 units. [103] In the Netherlands, about 60,000 CD-i players were sold by the end of December 1994. [104]


Although extensively marketed by Philips, notably via infomercial, [67] consumer interest in CD-i titles remained low. By 1994, sales of CD-i systems had begun to slow, and in 1998 the product line was dropped. Plans for a second generation CD-i system were certainly present and Argonaut Software was even designated to design chip sets for the successor to the CD-i. However, the then president Con Boonstra saw no interest in the media area for Philips and so Philips sold everything, including the media subsidiary Polygram. The Dutch half of Philips Media was sold to Softmachine, which released The Lost Ride on the CD-i as the last product. Philips then also sold its French half of the gaming subsidiary, Philips Media BV, to French publisher Infogrames in 1997. [105] A CD-ROM add-on for the Super NES, which was announced for development with Nintendo in 1991, was never made. [106]

After its discontinuation, retrospectively, the CD-i was overwhelmingly panned by critics who blasted its graphics, games, and controls. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates admitted that initially he "was worried" about the CD-i due to Philips's heavy support for the device and its two-pronged attack on both the games console and PC markets, but that in retrospect "It was a device that kind of basically got caught in the middle. It was a terrible game machine, and it was a terrible PC." [107] The CD-i's various controllers were ranked the fifth worst video game controller by IGN editor Craig Harris. [108] PC World ranked it as fourth on their list of "The 10 Worst Video Game Systems of All Time". [109] listed it as number four on their list of The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time. [110] In 2008, CNET listed the system on its list of the worst game console(s) ever. [111] In 2007, GameTrailers ranked the Philips CD-i as the fourth worst console of all time in its Top 10 Worst Console lineup. [112]

In later retrospective years, the CD-i has become (unpopularly) best known for its video games, particularly those from the Nintendo-licensed The Legend of Zelda series, considered by many to be of poor taste. [113] Games that were most heavily criticized include Hotel Mario , Link: The Faces of Evil , Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon , and Zelda's Adventure . EGM's Seanbaby rated The Wand of Gamelon as one of the worst video games of all time. [114] However, Burn:Cycle was positively received by critics, and has often been held up as the standout title for the CD-i. [98] [115] [116] [67]

See also

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The TurboGrafx-16, known in Japan and France as the PC Engine, is a cartridge based home video game console manufactured and marketed by NEC Home Electronics, and designed by Hudson Soft. It was released in Japan on October 30, 1987 and in the United States on August 29, 1989. It also had a limited release in the United Kingdom and Spain in 1990, known as simply TurboGrafx and based on the American model, while the Japanese model was imported and distributed in France in 1989. It was the first console released in the 16-bit era, although it used an modified 8-bit CPU. Originally intended to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it ended up competing with the Sega Genesis, and later on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

3DO Interactive Multiplayer Video game console

The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, often called the 3DO, is a home video game console developed by The 3DO Company. Conceived by entrepreneur and Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the 3DO was not a console manufactured by the company itself, but a series of specifications, originally designed by Dave Needle and R. J. Mical of New Technologies Group, that could be licensed by third parties. Panasonic produced the first models in 1993, and further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by GoldStar and in 1995 by Sanyo.

Commodore CDTV video game console

The CDTV is a home multimedia entertainment and video game console – convertible into a full-fledged personal computer by the addition of optional peripherals – developed by Commodore International and launched in April 1991.

The fifth-generation era refers to computer and video games, video game consoles, and handheld gaming consoles dating from approximately October 4, 1993 to March 23, 2006. For home consoles, the best-selling console was the PlayStation (PS), followed by the Nintendo 64 (N64), and then the Sega Saturn. The PlayStation also had a redesigned version, the PSOne, which was launched on July 7, 2000.

LaserActive video game console

The LaserActive is a converged device and fourth-generation home video game console capable of playing Laserdiscs, Compact Discs, console games, and LD-G karaoke discs. It was released by Pioneer Corporation in 1993. In addition to LaserActive games, separately sold add-on modules accept Mega Drive/Genesis and PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 ROM cartridges and CD-ROMs.

1994 has seen many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country and Sonic & Knuckles.

<i>Hotel Mario</i> 1994 video game

Hotel Mario is a puzzle video game developed by Fantasy Factory and published by Philips Interactive Media for the Philips CD-i in 1994. Players control Mario, who must find Princess Toadstool by going through seven hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom; each hotel is divided into stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. Each hotel ends in a boss fight with one of Bowser's Koopalings, culminating in a battle with Bowser.

Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure are action-adventure games produced by Philips for their CD-i format as part of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda video game series. Not designed for Nintendo platforms, the games owe their existence to negotiations related to Nintendo's decision not to have Philips create a CD add-on to the Super NES. During these negotiations, Philips secured the rights to use Nintendo characters in CD-i third-party developer games. The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon were developed by Animation Magic and were both released in North America on October 10, 1993, and Zelda's Adventure was developed by Viridis and was released in North America on June 5, 1994. The games were given little funding or development time, and Nintendo provided only cursory input. None of the games are canonical to the Zelda franchise.

ROM cartridge removable enclosure containing read-only memory devices

A ROM cartridge, usually referred to simply as a cartridge or cart, is a removable memory card containing ROM designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console or, to a lesser extent, electronic musical instruments. ROM cartridges can be used to load software such as video games or other application programs.

Amiga CD32 Failed video game system

The Amiga CD32, styled Amiga CD32 and code-named "Spellbound", is a 32 bit home video game console developed by Commodore and released in western Europe, Australia, Canada and Brazil. It was first announced at the Science Museum in London on July 16, 1993, and was released in September of the same year.

Super NES CD-ROM Unreleased video game media format and peripheral for the SNES

The Super NES CD-ROM System, also known as the Super Famicom CD-ROM Adapter, is an unreleased video game peripheral for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The add-on built upon the functionality of the cartridge-based SNES by adding support for a CD-ROM-based format known as Super Disc.

Atari Jaguar CD Peripheral for the Atari Jaguar video game console

The Atari Jaguar CD or Jag CD is a CD-ROM peripheral for the Atari Jaguar video game console.

LV-ROM is an optical disc format developed by Philips Electronics to integrate analog video and computer software for interactive multimedia. The LV-ROM is a specialized variation of the CAV Laserdisc. LV-ROM is an initialism for "LaserVision Read-Only Memory".

Nintendo 64 Game Pak ROM cartridges that store game data for the Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64 Game Paks (NUS-006) are ROM cartridges that store game data for the Nintendo 64. Their sizes vary from 4 MiB to 64 MiB. The Game Pak's design tradeoffs were intended to achieve maximal system speed and minimal system cost, with a lesser storage space and a higher unit cost per game.


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