Bidding on the so-called ‘Nintendo Play Station,’ a prototype of a doomed collaboration between Nintendo and Sony, has reached $350,000 as deep-pocketed collectors put up ever-increasing amounts of money in hopes of owning the rare device.
The console, which is essentially a Super Nintendo Entertainment System paired with a CD-ROM drive and manufactured by Sony, is currently being auctioned by Heritage Auctions, a live auction house specializing in popular culture items. When the auction closes on March 6, the Nintendo Play Station will become the most expensive single piece of gaming memorabilia ever sold, dwarfing the $100,150 price paid for a sealed first printing of Super Mario Bros. last year.
Since Heritage charges a 20 percent buyer’s premium on all items, that means that if the auction were to go no higher, the winning bidder will actually be paying $420,000 to own the device.
Injecting an extra element of intrigue into the proceedings, one of the bidders has come forward publicly: Palmer Luckey, the erstwhile head of VR company Oculus, now the founder of military technology contractor Anduril. Luckey said on Twitter that he wants the Play Station as part of a “quest to digitize and preserve the history of physical videogames” and that he planned to preserve the machine “in the most advanced videogame storage facility ever constructed,” but didn’t elaborate beyond that or reveal details of the facility.
If Luckey has already been pushed up to $350,000, that means that at least one other collector whose disposable income runs into the six-figure area is also in play. We’ll see who wins this particular game of chicken when the auction finishes up. On March 6, the final hammer drop will be livestreamed from Heritage’s Dallas, Texas auction floor, with live and phone bidders getting in on the action.
While the Play Station prototype is sucking up most of the attention from the gaming world, other gaming items are also likely to set record high prices on March 6 as collectors continue to splash out previously unheard-of sums on mint condition games. Other high-priced gaming items in this round of auctions include a sealed copy of Stadium Events for the NES (current bid: $35,000), a sealed copy of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! ($10,000), and a sealed copy of Chrono Trigger ($4,300).