Rare SNES prototype reaches over $6.4m in Japanese auction

Rebecca Hills-Duty
SNES Prototype

An auction for an extremely rare prototype of the Super Nintendo has gone up for auction in Japan, and bids are already over $6.4 million, with four days still left to go.

The rare prototype of the Super Nintendo went up on a Japanese auction site Yahoo Japan on May 5, 2024. Though the retro system appeared to largely be the same as the version that would eventually be sold in Japan and Europe, there were some differences to the final design.

The system is marked as a Super Famicom, the Japanese name for the console. Notably, the prototype features an eye-catching red power switch along with a headphone jack and volume wheel on the side. Another significant change is the expansion port placed on the front whereas, in the final design, this port was tucked underneath the console. A sticker identifying the device as a Nintendo ‘development sample’ is still attached to the underside.

SNES Prototype side view

The starting value for the auction was 5,000 yen, roughly $32. This was not the case for long, as the bids quickly mounted up, surpassing $1 million and showing few signs of slowing down.

At the time of writing, bids had hit a whopping 1,000,003,000 yen, the equivalent of over $6.4 million. 591 bids have been recorded so far. Four days and three hours are still left on the auction. It remains unclear if these bids are genuine, or if they are simply artificially inflating the price with no intent to purchase.

As a point of comparison, the Nintendo PlayStation, a prototype of a disk-based console created by a partnership between Nintendo and Sony, was sold at auction in 2020 for $360,000. This console was never released, and instead was splintered into the creation of the original Sony PlayStation.