Nintendo’s PlayStation Prototype Console Hits $360,000 At Auction
If you know your gaming history, you'll probably - okay, maybe - know about the complicated history between Sony and Nintendo. These days the two are friendly competitors in the video gaming market, with Sony's PlayStation brand racking up sales figures in the hundreds of millions and Nintendo's Switch proving to be a revolutionary machine in recent years.
But before all of this came a collapsed collaboration and no little animosity, all caused by the failure of the parties to work together, in the early 1990s, on the Nintendo Play Station, a console that would play both Super Nintendo cartridges and new CD-ROM games, a format that Sony would be responsible for designing.
I'm not about to dig down into the finer details on what went wrong, as you're on the internet already and have access to Google. But, basically, the Play Station (with a gap) project didn't happen, and Sony - after pitching the same idea to SEGA and being rejected - set about creating their own console instead, which became the PlayStation (without a gap). The rest is, indeed, history.
As with most technology products, prototyping is a vital stage of development, and a number of Nintendo Play Station consoles were manufactured - as many as 200. But we only know of one, sometimes-functional unit, that exists today - and it's currently being auctioned by Heritage Auctions, with the top bid sitting at $360,000 with 21 days to go.
As VGC reports, this Play Station was once owned by former Sony games CEO, Olaf Olafsson, and it could be the only remaining unit of its kind in the world. Naturally, the result of this auction could see a few more of these consoles come out of the woodwork, as those who've been in the gaming industry a while (hi) have definitely heard about more being out there. But for now, this is it, the one and only Nintendo Play Station - yours for, well, a whole lot of money.
Because I have the largest game console collection, and I am on a quest to digitize and preserve the history of physical videogames. Perfect VR will ensure the original experience lives on forever, but we need to keep these things alive and functional in the meanwhile.
- Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) February 14, 2020
One of the people in the running to buy the Play Station is the founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey. He tweeted that he was the highest bidder - when the highest bid was $350,000 - and that he intended to keep the console "alive and functional".
With a net worth of some $700 million, it's highly unlikely that anyone else interested in video gaming history will be able to match whatever Luckey elects to bid for this incredibly rare machine. Luckey has a huge gaming collection - "the largest game console collection," he states, not that we're about to pop around to his to verify that over a cuppa - and no doubt he's got his heart set on this special prototype.
But Luckey - if he wins the auction - isn't going to lock the Play Station away in his private collection forever. When asked if he'd donate it to a museum, he replied: "Public availability is just a matter of time. I've been keeping things low key until then. I am preserving the original copies in the more advanced video game storage facility ever constructed."
Is it just me, or does Palmer Luckey sound more and more like some kind of comicbook supervillain in waiting? Actually, given the guy's recent controversies - again, you've got Google, go peek for yourself - maybe we shouldn't be speculating along those lines. Don't wanna tempt fate.
Whatever the result of the Nintendo Play Station auction, the unit is already the most expensive piece of video gaming memorabilia on the planet. At $360,000, it's well, well ahead of the mint-condition copy of Super Mario Bros. which sold in February 2019 for $100,150, which we think represents the most-expensive example before this auction. That's the general consensus, anyway.
Palmer Luckey is 27 years old, by the way. Twenty-seven years old, and worth over $700 million. There's a fact to take away with you, as you roll into the weekend counting your loose change and hoping for enough to grab a six-pack from the offy.
Featured Image Credit: Nintendo / Sony