It Belongs In A Museum: Nintendo PlayStation Prototype To Be Auctioned Off

The original PlayStation prototype will be auctioned off on February 27th, 2020, via Heritage Auctions, and someone out there could walk away from the auction with a piece of history. This comes after the owner has refused millions of dollars in offers, which means that the lucky bidder could, if the stars align in their favor, pay less than that.

Dubbed the “Play Station” with a space in there that none of us are used to seeing, the initial 1986 plan for the console was supposed to be the lovechild of Sony and Nintendo, manufactured by the former and reading from both standard Super Famicom cartridges and CD-ROMs. Planned to be announced in 1991, the deal fell through when Nintendo’s president at the time, Hiroshi Yamauchi, re-read the contract from 1988 and realized it was giving much more power to Sony than Nintendo wanted.

The deal was cancelled in secret, and at the time of the planned announcement for a joint console, Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln instead stepped on stage and announced that Nintendo was now partnered with Philips. Although the dramatic reveal, straight out of a soap opera, was supposed to be a hit to Sony, it would actually help spawn the PlayStation as we know it today. What truly ended all of Nintendo’s involvement with the project was Sony’s decision to remove the space from Play Station and restart the design from scratch.

First reported by Kotaku, the prototype was first bought in 2009 at an auction in a lot of abandoned property belonging to a Sony executive. This lucky bidder was Terry Diebold, and his son found the console again in 2015. Through a well-thought out campaign, the two built up the hype surrounding the console, and the logical next step was auctioning it off. But what amount will the console go for? “We turned down 1.2 million from someone in Norway,” Diebold told the publication, but according to him, that would be barely enough to settle the debts they have accrued throughout this campaign, so they’re hoping to net more this way.

Heritage Auctions is the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Although they usually list an estimated price next to the item, the Play Station is an exception, as it has never been sold before. According to Valarie McLeckie, Heritage’s director of video games, it is the market that will determine the value.

This also means that the console is going from private ownership into, well, private ownership. PR Director Ryan Brown has tweeted that urged Diebold to have the console preserved in a museum, to no avail. “The Nintendo PlayStation is an incredibly important historical gaming item – possibly a one-of-a-kind,” he wrote, adding, “I don’t want to see it tucked away by a private, wealthy collector – I want it in a museum. Tried to organise a crowdfund purchase, but owner expected far beyond its value.” He also adds that he doesn’t believe the owner will get what he wants from it – which many in the community seem to agree with – but he realizes that there’s nothing to be done for it. And with a heavy heart and a sigh, the rest of us will have to do the same.

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