Last week, the auction for the only publicly displayed "Nintendo PlayStation" prototype from 1992 closed at a whopping $300,000. Though many thought that a bidding war would drive the price up even higher, that six-figure sum still had to have come from a deep-pocketed buyer. On Saturday, that buyer revealed their identity: Greg McLemore, founder of Pets.com, is the new owner of the Nintendo PlayStation, and he's planning on opening up a museum to house it.
In a comment to Forbes, McLemore says he's "looking to not have this machine just buried in a closet somewhere." McLemore has hundreds of coin-operated arcade machines and other gaming memorabilia in his private collection, and tells Forbes he's planning on building out "a permanent museum." His collection and past preservation efforts can be found at his website, which is also tied to a non-profit library in Pasadena, California.
McLemore also says that the Nintendo Playstation prototype will be displayed in early 2021 at the University of Southern California Pacific Asia Museum, as part of an exhibit about "Asian influence on the video game industry."
As early bidding for the prototype console hit its peak, multi-millionaire Oculus founder Palmer Luckey came forward as one of the six-figure bidders, and said that if he won the auction he would add the Nintendo PlayStation to his collection of video game consoles. Luckey claims he has "done more video game preservation than almost anyone," but amongst private collectors McLemore likely has Luckey beat. McLemore has run the website featuring his wide-ranging collection since 2000, and has held a number of public exhibitions of games and items over the decades.
McLemore sold Pets.com in 1999. The company received millions of dollars in investment afterwards, and it quickly rose in prominence after much of that money was poured into an advertising campaign starring the Pets.com sockpuppet mascot. The millions spent on ads didn't help fix the problems inherent in Pets.com's business model, and the company flamed out soon after.
Terry Diebold, the previous owner of the Nintendo PlayStation, told Kotaku that he was once offered $1.2 million for the unit. If Diebold had taken an offer before putting it up for auction, it's likely the world may never have seen this prototype again—at least for now, it seems that more folks will have a chance to see this particular unit in the years to come.