One of the last known prototypes for the Nintendo PlayStation was auctioned off to Greg McLemore for $360,000. Greg McLemore defeated Oculus VR’s founder Palmer Luckey and some museums that are invested in preserving the machine. “It’s the single most expensive thing I’ve ever bought outside of a house, I believe I got a great deal… To me it was worth it, especially when combined with the rest of my collection, the whole of which tells a story I want to save for society,” McLemore told CNN Business. Greg McLemore’s collection includes a coin-operated Pong arcade machine, one of the first successful video games in history.
Greg McLemore’s Nintendo PlayStation is suspected to the last machine of 200 consoles that sprouted from a business partnership between Nintendo and Sony back in 1991. Nintendo PlayStation is only a colloquial term for a Super Nintendo Entertainment System that could support CDs on top of cartridges which was named PlayStation. the partnership fell through before the consoles could hit the market and Nintendo reported to have destroyed all of the prototype models.
The partnership between Sony and Nintendo began when Sony’s engineer Ken Kutaragi took a contract to develop hardware that would boost the audio of the next Nintendo console. He developed the 16-bit Sony SCP 700 chip which was an improvement over Nintendo’s previous 8-bit technology. While Sony was not interested in the video game market at the time, Sony did begin developing a CD-ROM for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988.
In 1991 at the Consumer Electronics Show. Nintendo and Sony revealed the new CD/Cartridge compatible PlayStation. Nintendo later tried to partner with Philips, a Dutch company and industry competitor to Sony, as Sony was going to retain property rights over the CD-ROM and any software that was in the PlayStation. Nintendo was hoping by partnering with Philips, Nintendo would maintain control over the PlayStation console. This move would be dubbed the “Philips Deal” which resulted in the termination of the partnership of Sony and Nintendo.
A deal was reached with Sony and Nintendo, allowing Sony to create hardware for Nintendo but Nintendo would retain profits from the consoles and games. Despite this, Sony would instead develop its own PlayStation line of consoles, while Nintendo would continue to use cartridges until the release of the Wii system in 2006. All of the prototypes of the Nintendo PlayStation was supposedly destroyed as a term of the deal.
“I’m glad that the Nintendo PlayStation is highlighting the need for video game preservation, and obviously I wish we’d been able to have it in the museum’s collection,” said Shannon Symonds, an electronic games curator for The Strong Museum. Greg McLemore has said that he will display the Nintendo PlayStation at various exhibitions and he is considering opening up a permanent museum to display the machine along with the rest of his collection.