Earlier today, a pair of PlayStation 5 development kits reportedly popped up on eBay before being taken off the auction site within a few hours.
The items—a DFI-D1000AA dev kit and a DFI-T1000AA test kit—were originally spotted by Twitter users Zuby Tech and iDCx1337, both of whom were able to pull images from the listing prior to its disappearance. A screenshot of the eBay page indicates that the two consoles managed to reach €2,850 EUR (around $3,373 USD) after 12 bids.
While the test kit appears almost identical to retail PlayStation 5 models (well, apart from the large TEST stamp on the back, of course), images of the dev kit highlight the unique V-shaped construction used in pre-release patents. That thing is a beast, and even manages to look like a car engine when positioned vertically. Also photographed for the short-lived eBay listing were two all-black DualSense controllers, contrasting the more prominent two-toned color schemes of the peripheral’s currently available designs.
eBay is typically rife with auctions for retro dev kits and even illegal reproduction cartridges, or games that have been produced by a third party without permission from the original publishers for use in consoles and handhelds. With that in mind, it’s not clear what rule, if any, this auction broke. It’s also possible that eBay simply cooperated with a request from Sony, which obviously doesn’t want these things out in the wild so soon after the PlayStation 5’s release, to remove the listing.
Kotaku contacted eBay for more information on the auction in question and why it was removed but didn’t hear back before publication.
Manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft send game development kits to studios for use in, you guessed it, developing games. These machines are less restrained than retail consoles, with greater processing power and more open-ended operating systems to facilitate all the technological wizardry it takes to get games ready for sale. Testing kits, on the other hand, are more in line with what you and I can get our hands on so that studios can ensure their games work well enough for mass consumption.
Some random person getting their hands on these PlayStation 5 kits doesn’t guarantee they’ll be able to use them for any nefarious schemes, however. When a Reddit user purchased a similar PlayStation 4 console during a 2016 auction by now-defunct Sleeping Dogs developer United Front Games, built-in security measures kept them from accessing the console’s 800 GB of data. The dang thing couldn’t even play retail PlayStation 4 games. It stands to reason the consoles that appeared on eBay earlier today would have the same barriers.
In any case, it’s hard to argue against the cool factor of one of these kits trickling out from the world of game development. And that’s not to mention the obvious benefits to archiving video game history. Manufacturers don’t send these machines out to just anybody, and it often takes years for them to reach collectors. It’s my (perhaps naïve) belief that the more folks learn about how games are made, the more they’ll appreciate the massive amounts of work that go into getting them out the door.