Nintendo PlayStation Up For Auction, Unsurprisingly Costs Thousands

The only remaining Nintendo PlayStation prototype is available, but will cost whoever wins it at least six figures by the time the auction closes.

An extremely rare piece of video game history is up for grabs if you happen to have half a mill burning a hole in your pocket.

The lone remaining prototype of the Nintendo PlayStation is up for auction, and to little or no surprise, bids are already in the six figures, with the top one currently sitting at $350,000 at the time of publication.

A brief history lesson on what this thing is:

  • After Sony engineer Ken Kutaragi successfully developed the Super Nintendo’s sound chip, Sony and Nintendo entered a partnership to create a CD-ROM add-on for the console.
  • With Kutaragi at the helm, his team produced an SNES cartridge and CD compatible system dubbed the “PlayStation,” which was announced at CES in June 1991.
  • Due frustration over a variety of financial disagreements, Nintendo announced a new partnership with Sony’s competitor Philips the next day, having organized the deal behind Sony’s back in an attempt to gain leverage.
  • The relationship is destroyed. Sony readjusts its plans to turn the PlayStation into its own console to compete with Nintendo. It does. The PlayStation launched in 1994 and went on to sell over 100 million units lifetime, reshaping the game industry landscape to include Sony as one of its top dogs. Any and all Nintendo PlayStation prototypes leftover from before were believed to have been destroyed.
  • Fast forward to 2015. In a Reddit thread about what the Nintendo PlayStation could have been, someone comments “I actually own one of these.
  • He proves it.
  • Him and his father, who had unknowingly won the prototype in his company’s bankruptcy auction six years prior, then took it on tour to gaming conventions across the globe. They got it fixed, people got to see it and play it, and its software and technical specs were properly archived.
  • After five years, the father and son were ready to part with the console, thus leading to the auction.

The prototype’s use is extremely limited, and definitely wouldn’t have such colossal value if not for the story behind it. But at the same time, that story is why the Nintendo PlayStation is so interesting. It’s a piece of alternate history that shouldn’t exist, and yet it does.


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