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    Description

    Sega Pluto-02 Console Prototype - Sega (c. 1995 - 1996). Until recently, this Sega project was completely unknown outside of their company. The world was only clued in when a former Sega of America employee leaked the details of this console to the world back in 2013.

    When Sega of Japan caught wind of the Sony PlayStation's development, the company made the decision to try and beat their competitor's breakout console to market with the Sega Saturn to get a head start on establishing their presence in the United States. In hindsight, they shouldn't have underestimated the power of the PlayStation (or, really, the difference in price).

    The Sega Saturn was announced at E3 in 1994, and Sega intended that its market standard retail price in the US would be $399. Shortly thereafter, during Sony's E3 press conference at the same event, Sony America's head of development approached their stage, said, "$299" and walked away. Needless to say, this made things a lot harder for Sega.

    In the end, Sega couldn't produce enough Saturn consoles to meet demand, and the price tag, which was quite high for the time, wasn't that inviting either. The company tried to make a cost-reduced Sega Saturn that could play its library at a lower price point, and that's where the development of the Sega Pluto came in. It was intended for the Pluto to also have a built-in NetLink Internet Modem and hard drive - which was way ahead of its time. Had the console been released, it could have been the first video game console to have Internet support straight off the shelf.

    Two prototypes from Sega's Pluto project have been confirmed to exist, this one -- the offered "Pluto-02" unit -- and the "Pluto-01" unit. The offered Pluto-02 has "Sega Saturn" printed on the top, and the label on the bottom of the console reads "Pluto-02." The BIOS for both prototypes is the North American version, which makes sense, considering Japan did not seem to take as much of an issue with the price point as North America did. The Pluto-02 unit is roughly 14" x 9" x 3" and weighs about five to six pounds. This unit has also never been modified nor has it been repaired by any third-party.

    This Pluto-02 has never been offered at public auction, and is known to have been in the possession of the former Sega of America employee who leaked its existence on a forum on April 17th in 2013. Considering this particular prototype unit's provenance, (not to mention the cult following that the Sega Saturn's awesome game library managed to crop up over the years), we expect there will be quite a bit of competition to face when it crosses the auction block!


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