The famed Nintendo Play Station prototype console will be going to auction soon. This piece of gaming history has been in the hands of one Terry Diebold since 2009. He purchased it off an abandoned property from a former Sony executive, not realizing exactly what it was. Ever since his son rediscovered it in the attic, the two have been touring the prototype to various conventions around the world. Ten years after it was released into the wild, it will be changing hands.
The prototype is an interesting piece of Nintendo lore. It also represents a huge mistake. In the early 90s, Nintendo played around with the idea of CD-ROM technology. They entered into a partnership with Sony to produce the Nintendo Play Station. The console would play Super Famicom games as well as CDs. Unfortunately, disputes between the two companies caused Nintendo to back out in 1991 and partner with Philips instead.
This caused two things to happen. Nintendo inadvertently spawned a competitor when Sony created their console, the PlayStation, in 1994. But their Philips deal fell through also. Through that fallout, Nintendo allowed Philips to create games with Nintendo characters for their multimedia player, the CD-i. And as the CD-i wasn’t explicitly designed with games in mind, this resulted in the worst Mario and Zelda games to ever be released. All this while Sega was hot on their trail.
Diebold has said no to huge offers before (like $1.2 million huge). After stating his wish to sell in October, Kotaku reported today that Diebold would sell through Heritage Auctions, the reason being that touring with the antique costs too much.
I can’t keep losing money. I’ve put a lot of work into this by traveling with it and we have made nothing on it. Every trip that we have taken with it has cost us money out of pocket.”
Diebold went on to say that he said no to those above $1.2 million offers because after taxes, splitting half with his son, and paying off debts, he wouldn’t have much leftover.
Heritage Auctions are famous for holding collectible auctions, though they only began including video games in January. This won’t be their first Nintendo product either. An extremely rare sealed copy of Mega Man from its first production run sold for $75,000 in November. There’s no telling what the final selling price will be since the Nintendo Play Station prototype has never been sold at auction. But as it’s far rarer and more historic than a sealed game, we should expect some high numbers. Heritage will hold the online auction on February 27th, 2020.