The Philips CD-i is a CD player capable of running CD-based interactive programs. The system was designed to offer consumers multimedia CD-based entertainment that was cheaper than the personal computers of the time. The system was most well-known for its lackluster games, many of which were based upon full-motion video. In addition to games, many educational titles were produced for the system were created. Although the system was meant for running a wide variety of software, it was seen solely as a game console by the public, possibly because of the lackluster Nintendo-licensed titles for it. As a result, the system failed to sell as expected.
The CD-i was first announced in 1986, and the first model was released with audio CD and CD+G support, with optional Video CD playback that required a separate decoder card. As the CD-i was meant solely as a general-purpose interactive CD player, graphics was not a priority for Philips; the hardware was average compared to consoles of 1991 and severely outdated by 1998, when the CD-i was discontinued. However, the CD-i could output video at a higher resolution than any console of its time, even in 1998 (the CD-i could output at a maximum resolution of 768x560, while consoles could reach a max resolution of only 640x480). Any games for the system were usually full-motion video games, which relied on short prerecorded video clips for gameplay. This was because the CD format enabled the use of large, high-quality video clips in software, and developers took advantage of the CD technology.
The system was not very well received even as a general media player, in part because of its steep price tag ($700) and lackluster software. Despite Philips' extensive marketing of the system, most notably through infomercials, the system sold just 570,000 units.
Through Nintendo's infamous deal with Philips, Philips obtained the development and publishing rights to the Zelda and Mario franchises. However, Philips outsourced development on all these games, most notably with Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda's Adventure. The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon were developed by the same company, which was based in Ukraine. Zelda's Adventure was developed by a different company, which explains its different, more Zelda-like gameplay.