Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
15 May 2006
History of Console Prices (or: $500 ain't the worst...)
Is the $500 price tag for the crippled PlayStation 3 historically high or low? I did a bit of number crunching to try to put that number in perspective. These graphs tell the story:I've uploaded PDF versions: absolute and relative.

The first shows absolute price and the second shows relative price. Here absolute means the stated price at the time the console went on sale. Relative means what does that price mean in 2006 dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

I'm a little busy right now, so I don't have time for commentary. Feel free to supply your own.

Update: Also, yes, I know the $600 PS3 and $400 Xbox 360 should be on there somewhere. I'll do them later. Done. Didn't update the thumbnails, but the full-sized images now show the two choices for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

I got the idea after reading this GamePolitics rant about the antics of Destructoid at E3 2006.

Labels: , , , , ,

--Matt Matthews at 13:38
Comment [ 200 ]

Comments on this post:

Brilliant! I was hoping someone would compile this, and here it is!

Nice work!

Would be interesting to color-code based on which platforms were successes/failures (economically). Is there a magic pricepoint when looking at it historically & relatively?

By Blogger kim, at 15 May, 2006 14:40  

Right, you should drop all the shit platforms no one played.

NES, SMS, SNES, Genesis, TG-16, Saturn, PS1, N64, DC, PS2, GC, 360, PS3, Wii.

Separate lists for handhels, too, please.


By Blogger Michael, at 15 May, 2006 14:56  


I think it's actually informative to have the platforms that failed on the list. For instance, look at the two outliers, the NeoGeo and the 3DO. They were graphically/technically fantastic at the time they were released, but they failed compared to their modestly performing (but modestly priced) competitors.

By Blogger Darius Kazemi, at 15 May, 2006 16:04  

Next are you going to make a graph of how we shouldn't be upset at a $5000 computer because they used to cost more?

How about a graph showing sales of units, one with sales of games, and one with game prices.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 17:14  

Good work. Why are people telling you what to do next? Why don't you guys take it from here and create the lists that you want? The nerve of people these days.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 19:09  

You made a good point, anything around the price of PS3 was a failure, 3d0 CDi, neo geo. thery were all graphically amazing for there time but they failed.

By Anonymous Splitt3r, at 15 May, 2006 19:12  

So, what this graph is saying is that a $600 console is going back to the days before the video game crash of '83. You know, the prices that caused the crash.

What this graph does show that ain't so bad is that most consoles post-83 have sold for $300-$400 relative to the value of today's dollar, which means the price of the 360 is actually reasonable.

If the Wii comes in under $225, it will be relatively the cheapest console of all time.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 19:20  

draw a line of best fit through the nintendo consoles - each generation is more affordable than the last based on inflation. interesting.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 19:23  

I thought this was an excellent way to present the facts for everyone to judge. But the bottom line is that the PS3 is still a bit pricey compared to the other consoles and I believe it will hurt Sony. I wouldn't be surprised if the other consoles even drop their prices slightly just to make Sony seem even more rediculous.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 19:50  

Interesting indeed...but it seems that all the higher priced consoles...have failed.

Cheaper ones have also but I think the $300 mark seems to work fine.

By Blogger Jason Stanley, at 15 May, 2006 20:32  

Well, the PS3 has been officially announced to cost 600$ now, if that makes any difference.

By Anonymous Tristamus, at 15 May, 2006 20:36  

Forgot to put the Turbo Grafx 16 console on there with te $400 CD player version!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 20:37  

In response to the "shit platforms no one played" comment. Those were all pretyt mainstream platforms. It's not like he included things like Laseractive (which was 1,200.00), Amiga CD32 and a whole bunch of other overpriced failures. All of the systems he listed did reasonably well in North America.

By Anonymous Dan, at 15 May, 2006 20:38  

Dude, come on.

I mean, you don't count the PS3's $600 cousin?

Considering the cheaper one has horrible features, the graph is biased

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 21:01  

Whenever I see charts of absolute/relative pricing, I wonder just -how- the relative price is calculated. For example, all things being fair, the price of housing and the percentage of one's budget expected to go to housing have both gone up in the last 30 years. Is this comparison taking into account the number of discretionary dollars the average person has? How has the amount of discretionary income per person changed during the time of the earliest consoles to the present? Has the cost of producing high-tech components actually decreased over time, as some would assert? Are we looking at pure game systems or -- in the case of the PS3 -- something more akin to a home entertainment unit? I know. I know. I'm looking for more clarity than a pretty chart can deliver. We all seem to get so caught up in oversimplifications.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 21:34  

"Considering the cheaper one has horrible features, the graph is biased"

And how so? Sure I'd agree if he had put the $400 xbox against the $500 ps3 but he did not. Anyway if you really want to be fair you have to add the cost of a hd-dvd player to the xbox as it currently ships with a dvd drive. From that point of view only the ps3 is next gen.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 21:41  

You guys are out of line. If I did the work what would Matt have to obsess over all night while waiting for his free time to vanish in one momentous cry of life.

Darius, yeah I think it's informative too, I just want to see additional graphs. And then a bunch more that are per manufacturer, which would have pointed out the Nintendo trend some sharp-eyed lad saw.


By Blogger Michael, at 15 May, 2006 22:05  

Bro - right on.

Amazing how the Sony forces can't some up with something this obvious and simple to explain the cost basis.

Unfortunately, there's way too many LOUD, short-term memory, instant gratification, McDonald's laden-ass Americans that tend not to see the potential and value in a machine that will certainly change the home media entertainment experience.

Sony's been betting the future of the company on this machine since Samsung's spanked their ass like a "bad little pony" in some of the HT arena. Technology is great but it does become cheaper over time - i.e. harder to make a profit. CONTENT is where the all mighty $ is at.

People can bitch and moan all they want - enough already - the PS3 will sell out faster WORLDWIDE then M$ best wet dream. M$ will be playing follow the leader in 2007.

Sony will come up with some type of copy of the Wii controller. A sword. A gun. Crazy double-dong - whatever. The key is the hardware, peripherals, and Blu-Ray. Yes, Blu-Ray will win over time.

Add a quasi-Linux platform - please - it's a machine that you should sell your grandmother to the dog food factory - just kidding - Happy Mother's Day!!!!

By Anonymous Urf, at 15 May, 2006 22:08  

I've gotta echo some of the earlier posts...there have been alot of systems that cost more, especialy at today's value...but most of them were major flops...NeoGeo and CD-i i don't think many people owned, same for 3DO...i have one, but i got it at a going out of business sale for 20 it doesn't really count. Saturn was about on par with PS3 at today's pricing...anyone care to weigh in on how that system fared? Hell, even in today's money TurboGrafix was cheaper, as was DreamCast...and those didn't even make it. I'll agree that price doesn't mean everything, but to me the graph just shows the PS3's going to have an uphill battle that it will probly loose, as has historicaly been the case with similarly priced units.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 22:39  

Urf... I don't know what you are on but please pass some my way so I can see what you see...

PS3 will sell out faster than MS's wetdream? Why do you insist in using "M$" instead of "MS" when PS3 is the one that should be P$3 or $ony even... Are you so jaded with MS hate that you don't see the irony in your use of "M$"?

Bluray... sure it's great... but it is very expensive and it will not be mainstream for a long time to come. So you are correct in saying bluray will win over time (well MAYBE win... kind of up in the air over standards right now).

I think Nintendo will come out on top once again (after being the underdog for a long time), developers will come in droves to the platform for its ease of development, gamers will love it for the unique gameplay, new gamers will be attracted to its ease of play and the natural method of input. Price for the average person will be just right and the wii will be a common household name.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 22:50  

Um, the Neo-Geo is one of the most successful platforms of all time. They still made games for it all the way up until 2003.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 May, 2006 23:52  

Yeah me and my friends were playing Neo Geo all the time when we were growing up... oh wait, no, that's the otaku fanbois I know in their late-20s now, nevermind.


By Blogger Michael, at 16 May, 2006 01:31  

Anon: I don't think Neo Geo did well as a console. I wasn't able to find accurate figures online, but I recall it not doing well.

It *did* however, find a home as a standard for arcade hardware, thus the wide variety of games available for it.

If anyone has Neo Geo home system figures, please post!

Curmudgeon: Would also be interesting to post a mid-range to high-end gaming PC on the chart, as I think the price has stayed somewhat fixed, IIRC, but would ramp downward relatively speaking, due to inflation.

By Blogger kim, at 16 May, 2006 01:37  


I like the chart. Shows a lot about the consoles that have been on the market and the couple that are to come in the near future.

I agree that the price will hit Sony pretty hard. The feature-war with Microsoft is going to hurt them, even with being a linux-based system.

In addition, with the recent bad press at Sony over DRM and root-kits, I think Sony has an uphill battle for the next 4 to 5 years, regardless of how nice the concolse is.

I, personally, am betting money on Wii. Nintendo has a great platform coming out. Especially for those of us who don't need or want Sony or Microsoft's added features.

Blu-ray technology is still in its infancy. It will be at least 3 years before blu-ray makes it mainstream, as it does for most new technologies. So, if Sony can hold out at 600 dollars per for 2-3 years, they will get back some of the market share that they will lose because of the pricetag. However, if Microsoft and Nintendo manage to come out with the next generation of consoles prior to that mark, Sony will be on its way out.

Anyways, said my peace. Love the graphs.

By Anonymous Jim, at 16 May, 2006 02:12  

everyone talking out their asses should stop. this guy made a very well detailed graph with accurate info, if you dont like it you can go look up the facts for yourselves. you all complain way too much.

600 is not that much and besides in about or less than a years time the price will drop just like the 360 is and any other console from before has done. if you hate the price soo much DONT BUY it, honestly it might save you time just to wait till the price goes down a little .as most any/all consoles past and more than likely future will all have bugs at first, like the 360's now or the ps2's back in 2001 with the bad optical drives.

get over it and just buy all 3.. like most of you will. but if not buy what you can afford its not that hard

By Anonymous jgh, at 16 May, 2006 04:39  

70% of PS2 sales happened after the big price drop. This is a common pattern.

By Anonymous smeeee, at 16 May, 2006 05:56  

how'd you make those graphs. they look nice. better than excel lol

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 06:05  

As for Neo Geo being successful, it's important to note that SNK did not market to the mainstream and simply don't manufacture the machines to the level that Nintendo and others did. Thus, they knew knew their niche auidence would put out more money and could sell at a price would they could make profits.

It depends how you define success. For Market share, it was not that much is certain and SNK has since been bought out by another company.

Currently, Sony and Microsoft have bigger marketshare than Nintendo, but are losing money. Nintendo is actually posting profits. So who is really winning?

By Blogger Andrew, at 16 May, 2006 06:06  

I am not sure on this, but I think Nintendo has profited on it console sales while everyone else sells for a loss and hopes to make it up on the sale of games. Just a little food for thought.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 06:25  

Seems a good chance that Wii will be $200 on release too, looking at the graphs...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 06:31  

For those who point out that all the outliers were very poor sellers, please look at the first outlier that was not a poor seller. The PS2 was signifigantly higher-priced than any other console that didn't flop horribly. And yet, the PS2 is probably the most-sold unit on the entire chart.

An interesting tidbit also illustrated by the very nice images above.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 06:32  

Haha look at the NEO GEO!

By Anonymous web design uk, at 16 May, 2006 06:34  

Bah, I click on the graphs and get "Host your own images.".

By Anonymous Nige, at 16 May, 2006 07:03  

People forget with PS3 you get 2 things, a game console and a Blu-ray player, whatever you want it or not

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 09:21  

Where's the Nintendo VirtualBoy (aka THE GREATEST CONSOLE SYSTEM EVER)?????

By Anonymous VirtualBoy, at 16 May, 2006 10:18  

This is oversimplified and it just doesn't show the reality of the situation.

I mean, for one, explain why games are cheaper now than they were -- even when no counting inflation.

This shit don't smell right. Just counting inflation doesn't really show the full picture. What you need to take into consideration is, also, how much of a loss the console makers are taking per system (this business practice wasn't as prevalent a decade ago as it is now, the big multinationals contributed to that when they entered the game), what comes with the consoles (with the NES, I got three games, a lightgun, and a fucking robot -- new consoles? Zilch. There's value added there that isn't being counted.), and the general rise of efficiency in tech manufacturing, which would work against inflation (just a guess, but I think we're better at making chips now than we were in the early 80s. Even if we are building top of the line shit, the sheer volume would likely lower the price).

So really, it's an interesting chart, but not actually all that useful.

By Blogger n0wak, at 16 May, 2006 10:57  

You should all just take the information that he's posted and digest it, and not complain about the data that's not there.

First, yes it's cheaper to produce things now than in the 80's, if you were producing something with the same power. You can buy a system now that has 30 Atari 2600 games on it with 2 controllers for $20. That's how that's reflected. Throw in the new technology, and, for all intents an purposes, the price remains flat for production.

If we're going down that road, though, you have to take into account the other ancilliary costs and societal changes in the US, Europe, and Japan since 1978. How many TVs did a household usually have in 1978? How much did a 19" color TV cost compared to now, with and without inflation? How many gamers now are going to insist on having the 36" widescreen LCD HDTV instead of a CRT 19" to play their games, and the costs that go with that? What kind of competition did consoles face with home computers like the Apples, the Commodores, and the Ataris (400 & 800)--which also needed a TV? Think about the fact that a floppy drive for one of those home computers back then cost more than what you can buy a PC for now. Take into consideration that if you wanted to play your Atari 2600, which basically started the console idea, you had to fight with your parents who wanted to watch "All in the Family".

But, we won't do those things because we're looking at price. It's a simple blog post. If you want more than that, someone will need to write a book on society, economics, and video game consoles. Then you can buy that and complain to the author about missing data.

After all of that, the PS3 seems to me like more of a gouge to me than the PS2 was, but a lot of people will still buy it. I'm interested in seeing how the Wii fares through all of this, with its lower level of technology, its new controller, its predicted lower price, and its focus on content.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 11:39  

I agree with Novak. The information about inflation is certainly interesting, but it doesn't take into account that tech keeps getting cheaper and cheaper to produce which is COUNTER to inflation. If you want to use inflation as part of your reasoning to see if the PS3 price is good or not, then that reasoing can only be complete if you consider above factor as well. Otherwise it will be a flawed reasoning, no matter how you look at it.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 12:16  

somethings you DONT say.
1. Prices in manufactouring havent gone up in over 20 years. With improvements in computerization, Cad/cam. Prices are about the same(HERE in US) even with fewer personel.
2. Even China and Japan, have products BUILT in other countries, Unlike in the PAST, built in own nations, to have a better cost.
3. MANY companies are learning, that MARKUP prices in the US, are GREAT, and the COST of making the PS3, UNDER the SONY LOGO, is probably $125.
4. your CHART dont take in 2 other things. TIME and AMOUNT sold. the C64 sold MORe when it hit $100 then at the $200 price point.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 12:45  

it should be noted that this uses CPI, which is probably an over estimate of inflation

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 12:45  

To bring up a trifling point. :-)

1977 RCA Studio II (I only know about them since I just acquired one by chance) $149.

By Blogger MIPS, at 16 May, 2006 12:50  

"Unfortunately, there's way too many LOUD, short-term memory, instant gratification, McDonald's laden-ass Americans that tend not to see the potential and value in a machine that will certainly change the home media entertainment experience."

Translation: You're too fat, lazy, stupid and cheap to see that Sony knows the best way for you to spend your money.

By Anonymous Crap Filter, at 16 May, 2006 13:13  

I owned a PS2, an Xbox, and a GC. I felt that of the three the Xbox was the best platform as far as graphics/controller/live were concerned. PS2 had differentiation with a few platform specific, outstanding games (God of War, SoCOM). GC was the best priced, but its lineup of games was lacking and very kid focused.

In that round of the console war, PS2 won. Personally, I believe the only reason they won was because 1. They beat Xbox to the market (most people usually only buy 1 console and Xbox was not a superior enough system to justify another purchase if you already bought a PS2). 2. The PS2 price drop came before the Xbox price drop (the market share of the bargain buyers was captured).

I think you will see more of the same with this round of the console wars. 360 will win due to making it to the market first, and they will drop their price first.

While there are hardcore fans of each system that will only buy Sony or MS products, I believe most people will purchase the first next gen console 360.

Nintendo will once again be 3rd unless they can escape the kiddie image.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 13:17  

"Nintendo will once again be 3rd unless they can escape the kiddie image."

Man, i guess you didn't watch E3 did you? 2nd place is ASSURED. As far as i'm concerned the wii can even get 1st this time around.

Only the loser is yet to be determined. Will it be Sony? Or MS?

Anyways, regarding the reason Sony won, i agree, but you left an important thing out. BRAND RECOGNITION. Sony simply has more brand recognition than MS (for consoles that is). It's the most important reason.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 13:23  

Cool! I did a similar analysis a while ago when the Xbox360 price was first announced (although not as thorough as yours). I think another interesting graph would be price point (with or without inflation) vs. units sold. Obviously the price drops for various systems spurred sales, but it'd be interesting to quantify that effect.

Also, very pretty graphs!

By Anonymous Ted Mielczarek, at 16 May, 2006 13:25  

To be honest, I don't know that Brand Recognition was that much of a factor in round 1 of the console wars. Sure everyone knew of Sony due to the PS one and MS had not previously released a console, but MS is every bit as much of a household name as Sony (if not more!), and people knew MS would not enter into the console business without making a competetive product.

Regardless, I don't feel brand recognition will play into round 2. It's coke vs pepsi now. They are both equally well known.

And yes... I did watch e3 and see the huge crowds going to Nintendo and skipping past Sony and MS, but I don't feel that is indicative of a win for the Wii. The Wii is the new gimmick that people wanted to see is all. When I go to the Circus, I line up to see the bearded lady, but I don't want to bring her home to my bed!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 13:37  

"To be honest, I don't know that Brand Recognition was that much of a factor in round 1 of the console wars. Sure everyone knew of Sony due to the PS one and MS had not previously released a console, but MS is every bit as much of a household name as Sony (if not more!), and people knew MS would not enter into the console business without making a competetive product."

Believe me, brand recognition was a HUGE factor. You only have to walk on the street and ask about their opinions of Nintendo, Sony, etc.

To not realize how huge the hype was for Sony is to not understand the market at all. That hype already killed Sega. And it would have killed MS were it not that MS has a sh#tload of money.

The xbox was superior to the PS2 in every way possible. And yet it performed badly compared to the PS2. No headstart can explain the gap between xbox and PS2.

"Regardless, I don't feel brand recognition will play into round 2. It's coke vs pepsi now. They are both equally well known."

I somewhat agree on this. I think the hype for PS3 will give Sony a good launch. After that, consider them dead meat unless they come with a massive price drop.

"And yes... I did watch e3 and see the huge crowds going to Nintendo and skipping past Sony and MS, but I don't feel that is indicative of a win for the Wii. The Wii is the new gimmick that people wanted to see is all. When I go to the Circus, I line up to see the bearded lady, but I don't want to bring her home to my bed!"

Well, press has been incredibly positive about the wii. I don't think we can call it a gimmick any longer. Especially if you consider what happened with the DS.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 13:47  

If history is to be any guide, based SOLELY on price, this graph shows that the PS3 is doomed for failure. Any console to be released in the last 20 years costing as much as it will has died a lonely death.

However, it is important to note that all of those consoles were the "new kid on the block" when they launched. Sony has an extremely loyal (to put it almost too politely) following. That will certainly play an unpredictable factor in this console's success.

So, in short, as others have said, the data is definitely interesting, but price alone will not sink their ship.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 14:03  

It won't sink them, but i doubt they will be able to retain first place this time around. Compare the situation around the N64 with the PS3. The similarities are alarming.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 14:13  

I'm glad someone took the time to do this. I mentioned this over at the gamepolitics message board and more or less got ignored.
Regarding the fact that no one bought the higher cost consoles so they shouldn't be on there. Well, no one's bought a PS3 yet either...
I think all this moaning about the price is boring. If it is too high, then don't buy it. I'm not going to. (But then again I don't have a PS2 either...)

By Blogger Bryan-Mitchell, at 16 May, 2006 14:13  

Having read through all the comments above I'd like to echo the comments about being good charts.

All the rest of the commenters saying "oh they are way to simplified blah blah...." are trying to look to much into the item. All this is meant to be is a basic comparison of the relative and absolute costs of the consoles. It doesn't deal with how many units each sold, or wheather the console was sold at a profit or loss. For information like that you'd need a whole article on it not just 2 charts and a heck of a lot more research!
I can safely say that all the people who have looked at this page know which systems flopped and can draw their own conclusions from that point. I do agree that $600 is expensive for a console but I do remember a comment sometime ago from a sony guy (I can't remember who, someone high up) commenting that the PS3 would be priced at a point where people would need to save up for it indicating then they intended to price it high then!

By Anonymous Mark, at 16 May, 2006 14:22

Would be cool to start this with the Odyssey 1 which sold for $99 in 1972. It was after all the first ever home console.

By Blogger Artoo, at 16 May, 2006 14:23  

I think $ony is still going to sell, but for people looking at price vs capabilities, Nintendo may be up there. I haven't owned a Nintendo since SNES, but I may have to get the Wii when it comes out. The archived game option would be cool, but I have all those on emulators on my xbox. The size and controller does it for me. Maybe they'll keep the $200 price tag that they've had on all of their other systems? That would also keep with the trend of the relative price going down.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 15:07  

"Maybe they'll keep the $200 price tag that they've had on all of their other systems? That would also keep with the trend of the relative price going down."

If they do, I'll mark Nintendo down for the win. The Wii looks really damn fun, and it would be very hard to resist at that price point.

By Blogger Topher, at 16 May, 2006 15:44  

It's not inflation, though... it's relative prices.

When the NES came out, no computers on the planet were of a comparable price. In fact, it was a 10X difference!

Now, though, $600 could buy a completely capable computer! I'm not talking about the nerds, I'm talking about the everyday household that wants a couple of games and broadband internet. Then again, $600 could buy a car. A CAR!

I know that's not a great argument, but inflation isn't justification for such a huge price jump! Parents won't buy it and neither will teenagers. The majority of the sales will go to male college graduates (who have jobs) under 30 (or who perceive they are under 30).

A good deal of people have made their PS3 case with the idea that everyone who currently owns a PS2 will *have* to upgrade to the next-gen console. Just because there is something new, it doesn't mean that everything else is dead...

Let's have a similar chart examining the purchasing trends of different ages over the same amount of time. New is good, but lately new hasn't been great. I don't remember seeing computer sales going through the roof every time a new bell or whistle comes out...

but then again, i own a PC.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 15:51  

Also interesting would be a graph with inflation-adjusted price on one axis and units sold (or market share if doable) on the other.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 15:51  

I thank the author for taking the time out to show us the prices of past systems.

I appreciate your work.

Thank you.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 16:16  

Interesting...Can't help but notice even the great systems for their time (3DO and NeoGeo) paled in units sold to the lesser and more reasonably priced systems.

I think back to those days and I remember knowing 2 people that had either one of those (1 neogeo and 1 3DO). While I can't think of a person who didn't have the Sega Genisis or Nintendo of that era.

You would think Sony would have paid attention.

The pricetags on console are way out of line when you factor in things like automation and cheaper components of todays market. They are at or near the range of lowend laptops without all the funcionality or one of the main high dollar components a laptop posses (the display).

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 16:26  

Thank you very much for going to the trouble of compiling this graph, I've being wanting to see how everything stacks up.

As someone else said, it would be nice if you were to add in the prices of the other TG-16 systems. The CD add on for the base TG-16 was around and extra $200, and the al-in-one console, the Turbo Duo was in the $400 range, I think.

I love the Neo Geo, but I managed to save money by buying an arcade unit. MVS arcade carts cost much less than the home console counterparts.

And as far as Blu-ray is concerned. Am I the only one here who remembers Beta Max? Sony's attempt to fight against VHS, which ultimately failed. I have a feeling we're going to see a similar fight between HD dvd and Blu-ray.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 16:35  

$400 Adjusted, the magic mark

It seems that nothing over $400 USD has ever been successful in North America. If we had sales figures for all of this, we could complile a statistical probability of the PS3 being successful based on price alone.

Added to the fact that the developers are screaming about not having dev kits and having no idea how to program for cell and I'd say Sony's got an uphill battle. Better graphics and a better storage format doesn't always win. (Case in point, PSP vs. DS, the DS is smoking the PSP in sales).

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 16:41  

November 1st you'll see Sony announce the "real" price after they kept the 360 price high by having their price where it is currently. I'm guessing $350/450. Le Shock!!

By Blogger Jamie, at 16 May, 2006 16:45  

I don't give a shit if the Neo Geo is 900 dollars, 600 dollars for a console is _also_ ridiculous.

I'm sticking to the Wii, because I'm a 14 year old who doesn't have 600 dollars for a console that I probably won't play much anything.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 16:54  

Genesis launched at $249 in 1989, not $190...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 16:56  

Jamie, that assumes Microsoft won't just lower the price of the X-box 360 at that time. Pricing reductions probably make a bigger impact relative to another console that's on sale than when they're unprompted.

artoo, the list is actually fairly selective. It only covers the "default" systems sold in the U.S. that are programmable and not portable. JVM knows enough about consoles to probably have made these choices on purpose to keep it relative brief and comprehensible to Joe Average Gamer.

One of the anonys: do you FIND that people PAY more ATTENTION to you when you CAPITALIZE random WORDS?

To the room: One thing that's interesting to note is that, in general, consoles prices have remained more-or-less constant. The Atari 2600 *and* the Gamecube both debuted at $200. Further, most systems become popular when their pricing hits $200. This seems to indicate that a magic number is more important to console pricing than inflation.

By Blogger JohnH, at 16 May, 2006 17:03  

Great post. Really interesting.
Thanks a lot.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 17:16  

You know what you people remind me of? That Comic Book guy on the Simpsons who just can't leave well enough alone. So he drones on over something completely and utterly inconsequential until you're just sick of hearing it. But that's the thing. He's a stereotype. He's comic relief. You people are the real deal, and it's just not funny. Yes, graphs are nice. Graphs are vague. When I see them, I don't mention the specifics of the consoles that aren't on the list, or the lack of economic data needed to make an accurate rendering of the information in that computer model I'm working on. Rather, I think to myself, "wow, that's interesting." Then I read a couple comments, generally assume the commenters are complete morons, and leave it at that. But you. All of you... Jesus Christ guys, when was the last time any of you actually left your computers or gaming systems and saw some sun light, talked to a girl maybe? These responses are the reason people make fun of gamer geeks. This exact thing. It's also a big reason why it's getting harder to find interesting and well thought out content on the Internet these days. Sheesh, with an audience like this, would you blame this guy if he never wanted to post again? I certainly wouldn't.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 17:23  

3do and neo geo didn't sell much as home consoles... anyone making comparisons already? i am

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 17:43  

I completely love people's argument on the ps2 price and its sales. does anyone realize only 30 million sold at $299? 73 million sold when they dropped the price to $199 TWO years later. TWO years. After two years they decided to drop as they realized it wasn't selling all that well. Going expensive isn't always the best answer. Personally the 360 is more of a Xbox 1.5. I don't see the big improvement in gameplay except a little on graphics and unless you got an HDTV you can't see it.
Think Realistically. How many people have HDTV nowadays in the US, I would overestimate at somewhere between 15 and 20%. That's ridiculous. I don't mind them being out. I am indifferent about the Xbox although I don't think it'sa good system I don't mind it. I just hate when the xbox fans are all over it like fucking sucking microsoft's dick and preaching to everybody about xbox... I think everyone here knows the industry would be swell with just sony and nintendo.

As for the PS. TOTAL disaster. First of all they went the microsoft way by making 2 systems, the poor ass one and the regular, and let me just point out that microsoft made it ok at least, Poor ass one at 300 and reg at 400. No, sony made poor ass one at 500 and reg at 500. Let me tell you it doesn't even come with wifi installed. Not even a wireless controller. What kind of competition is that at 500 dollars sony. And rumble-less? what the hell are they thinking?

Truthfully none of the so called "next gen" systems are next gen. We have 3 candidates, PS2.5, Xbox 1.5 and Wii. And quite frankly anyone can agree the only real improvements in the xbox and playstation are the graphics. what is next gen about that? sounds liek a video card upgrade and nothing else. Wii is undoubtedly the only true nextgen. The other companies are too scared to throw out a controller like that afraid they'll be laughed at. Well guess what, that's why nintendo has always been and always will be the only one of the 3 that profits from selling the consoles.

Point made

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 18:32  

Great graphs, thanks! Ignore the nay-sayers!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 19:14  

Like i said before, the graphs are interesting. Just don't think you can use them to argue that the PS3 price isn't that high.

By posting thses graphs, i can only assume someone wanted to make a point. I don't know what that point exactly was, but the bottomline is that those graphs simply aren't enough to make a judgement call on the PS3 price. If the poster didn't have any purpose towards that direction, fine. If the people that respond don't pursue that line of reasoning, that's also fine. Just as long as you are all aware that this data is interesting , but of no conequence.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 19:25  

You might consider making it a scatter plot graph with time on the x-axis and price on the y-axis. That would allow you to plot the multiple prices of the various consoles as they drop in price over time.

It is interesting that few consoles over the adjusted $300 have been successful in the last couple of generations...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 19:42  

Interesting graph. Well presented!

On another note, one of the possible reasons for the PS3's high price is the cost of developing and initial manufacteuring startup cost for the blu-ray drive. This is hi-level technology, and until they get into the required rythem, cost will be high. But once they do, manufacturing cost will plummet.

Also, what about the Sega Master System? I know it came to North America (and was too late to get 3rd party support) but it had superior graphics to the NES. What was its debut price, and what would that be compared to the others on the chart?

By Anonymous Jimir, at 16 May, 2006 19:45  

Although the graph may adjust for CPI - the standard tool for measuring inflation - I do not believe it adjusts for real wages, which have been static since the nineties.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 19:45  

Very interesting. Seems that, when adjusted for inflation, the PS3 sits at about the same price point as every pre-'86 console release, and well below the cash-mongers that were the Neo-Geo and CD-i.

Guess this isn't such a huge price when you take history into account, no does it echo console sales, Atari platforms sold very well in those days.

And to echo an ealier post - console prices did not cause the videogame crash, overproduction and lack of quality software did. As long as Sony invests its time into the development of quality software (Final Fantasy XIII and MGS4 are givens), the company has nothing to fear.

Polls already place the interest in PS3 alongside that of Nintendo Wii despite the price.

By Anonymous Yoshino Kurokawa, at 16 May, 2006 19:59  

"Very interesting. Seems that, when adjusted for inflation, the PS3 sits at about the same price point as every pre-'86 console release, and well below the cash-mongers that were the Neo-Geo and CD-i.

Guess this isn't such a huge price when you take history into account, no does it echo console sales, Atari platforms sold very well in those days."

This is why people are so against on using inflation as a factor. To prevent these kinds of replies. You CANNOT use inflation as an argument for the PS3 price. The reasons why have already been discussed.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 20:02  

This is cool, but doesn't take into account, that the systems dropped in price over time. So this only takes into account the early adopter market. I think when video game consoles were in their infancy, not many people knew or cared about them, there was less of an early adopter market. Now a days we have pre-orders when a console has not even been priced yet! And the real cost of the console is subsidized in software sales and accessories.

Of course it would always be nice if the graph took into account the price of the consoles over time, and the number of units sold over time.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 20:27  

The reason people complain about the PS3 price, is that there hasn't been a high cost console in the last 11 years (Saturn).

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 20:31  

Here's a quick graph I made of console price (adjusted for inflation) versus how many units sold. Notes: Price is in tens of dollars to make it scale well with the units sold, which is in millions of units. I did not include several of the consoles mentioned in this articles graphs, because I could not find unit sales data for them. Most of the unit sales data was gleaned from wikipedia. Price adjusted for inflation was gleened from this article.

Also, ignore Row 11, Row 14, Row 19, and Row 25 - they're spacers so I could space out the generations a little bit. I couldn't figure out how to keep only those labels hidden in OpenOffice - apologies! it's still fairly readable, though.

So, a few observations:

In every generation, the most expensive console sold the worst - except in the latest generation, where the PS2 sold the best. Of course, this is an aggregate units sold - I'm sure a lot of those sales of the PS2 were after its initial price drop.

It seems that -generally- the middle-priced or the cheapest console sells the best: the Atari 2600 in the second generation (I didn't map out the first generation), the NES in the third generation, the SNES in the fourth, the Playstation in the fifth, and the statistical outlier is the PS2 in the sixth. I'm not a statistician, so I can't really predict how well the seventh generation (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3) will perform based soley on price. I did not include the 360 in this graph, as it is for historical value - and as of yet it has no competition in the home console area.

If I had to make an educated guess, due to the fact that every console that's sold over 500 dollars (not including the second generation outlier, the 2600) has sold VERY poorly, the highest sales of which in each generation being the Atari 2600, the NeoGeo, and the Sega Saturn. The NeoGeo can still be considered a success, however, as it's been included in many many arcade cabinets around the world.

Also of note, is that the Sony consoles have historically sold VERY well, often doubling or tripling the sales of their competitors. Very interesting indeed...

By Anonymous Pookie, at 16 May, 2006 23:16  

To let everyone know, as of 2005 *% of the US has HDTVs, can't have gone about 10% since then....

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 May, 2006 23:38  

But this isn't totally fair.

Lets say you had your $200 dollars in 1977. But you decided to not buy an Atari, and wait 29 years to do it.

And, for the sake of this exercise, lets say that today you can still buy the same 1977 Atari, but at the inflation adjusted price of 1977, that is, $659.41.

The logical thing to do with your $200 dollars it to put them in the bank. I can get a 3.0% interest rate easily on a local bank. If you go here

You can calculate how much money you get. I did it, and, $200 dollars in 29 years at an rate of 3.0%, gives us a grand total of


Which is still not enough to buy the Atari, but if you do the math inflation has made the console only

$659.41 / $471.31 = 1.399 times more expensive.

then 1.399 * $200 = $279.82 which is the real price in 1977 dollars.

So the PS3 is still too expensive.

By Blogger El Fly, at 17 May, 2006 00:04  

You should use the inflation and cost of living calculators at How Much Is That?. A better measure is the cost in relation to minimum wage. You know the cost for teenage boys which still a major market for consols.

By Blogger Baron von Feldspar, at 17 May, 2006 00:35  

"The logical thing to do with your $200 dollars it to put them in the bank. I can get a 3.0% interest rate easily on a local bank."

Of course, that doesn't make any sense: you have to use the relevant interest rate from 1977. Even treasury bonds were paying 6% back then--in fact, that's why inflation was so high. Point is, you wouldn't invest at 3%. The inflation calculation in the graph is fine.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 01:43  

Fan boys are in the minority when it comes to spending power. People for whom the price of the PS3 is not an issue, will no doubt either have a decent PC and/or will buy all 3 consoles (yay for me :) )so they don't really effect much. Lets face it, the majority of consoles are bought by parents/relatives for their kids and which console they will buy is going to be the deciding factor. For the Xbox/GC/PS2 round, brand name, price and image was the defining factor that guaranteed the PS victory. Most parents/reltives had not heard of or were unaware of the xbox until late in the cycle, with the GC still sadly retaining the kiddy console image ( the lack of dvd drive was a defining factor as well for the GC as a lot of parents on tight budgets would get the PS2/Xbox for DVD playback). Now however, for the next round the xbox is every bit as much a household name the playstation and is much more attractively priced. Add that to the kids wanting the same as thier friends, if after the first year thier friends have 360's, thats what they will be asking for. With the near year headstart of the 360 (that is in both marketing presence, games and sales) and the inevitable price drop upon the PS3's launch and you can guarantee that Sony will have their work cut out for them. You could also argue that alot of parents this time round will be more tech savy, in which case are more likley to be aware that in terms of performnance the 360 and PS3 are the same, which does makes things initially more damning for sony, a lower priced, well known equal performing 360 is going to be tuff to beat.

Personally I'll get all 3 as I tend to buy for the games and each console will have some cracking platform specific titles.

By Blogger DED DOA, at 17 May, 2006 02:19  

IMO, in the battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, HD-DVD will be the winner. It sucks, because Blu-Ray is technically superior to HD-DVD but the cost is just going to be too high and HD-DVD will probably be 3 years ahead of Blu-Ray by the time the cost of Blu-Ray falls enough to be competitive. I think in 5 years HD-DVD will be the standard but Blu-Ray will still be around and the HDTV and Home Theater enthusiasts will be the main supporters.

As for the console wars, I bet Microsoft is going to drop the price of the 360 just in time for x-mas for 2006. One thing to note is that the Blu-Ray blank discs supposedly cost $20 each right now. How much are the PS3 games going to cost then? Probably a bit more than we're used to.

I really don't care which console wins. In 5 years I'll probably own both the 360 and the PS3, and by that time Microsoft will already be working on the XBox3 or whatever.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 02:58  

in response to the folks who turned this into a discussion about next-gen marketshare:

i'm suprised no one's mentioned this: one of the ps2's biggest selling points was its ability to play dvds. dvds hadn't really penetrated the market when the ps2 was released (back in 00, was it?); most of its launch sales in japan were due to that capability alone (iirc, dvd sales in japan exploded on the ps2's launch date, while sales of the games themselves remained relatively pitiful), and i wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people in the states purchased a ps2 for the same reason (i know i did). $300 was the magic price point for a lot of folks who liked games and movies (a basic stand alone dvd player was 150-200 back then, if not more), and a good point that kids could make to their parents when christmas time came around.

furthermore, at that point sony's only real competition was the dreamcast--which had a rather successful launch, all things considered. i think that the lack of dvd functionality alone sunk sega's last console, nullifying their "first to the door" advantage and leaving sony as the only viable machine when the xbox and gamecube launched. considering that both machines debuted a full year later--well after sony had solidified a user base--the only real competition was to see who was going to take second place.

this generation promises to be a lot more interesting. i'm tempted to think that the winner will be determined by whoever wins the standards war; but then again, i don't really know anyone--except for the geeky--who cares about hd-dvd or bluray. dvds were a sea change compared to vhs; however, the promise of higher storage capacity in next-gen media doesn't feel quite as urgent. and while people have been pushing the settop convergence box for years, i don't think anyone's ready to buy it; those that are have set up cheap pc boxes for that anyway (and i'm willing to bet apple's going to beat everyone to the punch on that). i get the feeling, if anything, that sony is following the same path that ms took with the original xbox--and might end up in the back of the pack because of it.

but me? i'm getting a wii.

By Anonymous jacob lee, at 17 May, 2006 03:06  

The colecovision was more expensive than both the Mattel and the Atari, IIRC.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 04:13  

You forgot the Amiga CD32 ;-)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 04:31  

Remember: Relying on http referrer is broken. Images shown me just a message "host your own images" when I tried (as I do usually) to open them in new window.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 05:48  

the ps3 seems cheap if you look at how much the blu-ray players will cost. the first dvd player i bought was the ps2, and the first blu-ray player i'm gonna buy will be the ps3. moan over how the ps3 is more expensive than the xbox 1.5 but the ps3 is nextgen.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 07:38  

*sigh* The problem with the whole "Adjusted for inflation" issue is wages have not kept up with inflation. If they had, this would be an acceptable argument. The problem is since wages have NOT kept up with inflation there is less overall money for entertainment.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 08:30  

Incredibly interesting. I'm not saying that I won't own a PS3, but basically because of it's insane pricing, I probably won't buy one until the price comes down a bit, say in a year or two after it's released. From the sounds of it, the launch title games will probably be crap, too, since they haven't even released the developer kits yet. Insane pricing kept me away from the xBox 360, too, as well as the PSP. I'll probably buy a PSP, but not till it drops to the $150 mark. $250 for a hand held, which has historically gone for around the $100-150 mark, is a marked increase. Until we start standing up for ourselves as consumers and setting these companies in their place on what we're actually willing to pay for products (much like home prices these days), prices are just going to continue to rise. As stated on NPR, "Tell me WHERE did you get that gold plated pipe you were smoking when priced these houses! Give me some!!"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 09:31  

Do your research again, I remember purchasing my 8-bit NES for under $100 .

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 09:57  


Thanks for this graph, it is interresting and I didn't see anything similar before.

I would just add one comment: recently, some companies (not to name any ;-) ) have been radically adapting the price of their consoles after 6 months or one year, in order to boost the sales. It would be good to have this effect displayed somehow in the graph...

one good indice would be the average price paid for the machine: sum of the prices paid for every single console, divided by the total number of consoles sold.

now about this sales technique: M... and S... are two big companies that have a very lucrative and very controversed core business: windows for the first and the music industry for the second. they both make all their benefits in these areas and lose money on mostly EVERY other area, including the consoles. this is why the price paid does not reflect at all the price of the components and the developing costs.

This is the only reason why they have beaten Nintendo and Sega: they put a lot of money in the console departement and with that money they hired all the good programmers and they sold their consoles for cheaper.
This practice is illegal (MS just lost a case against the European Union and Sony has some difficulties too with the music and movie departement too)

conclusion: buy a console if you like the games. if you don't like consoles, then buy books, or woodden blocks :-)

but whatever you choose, don't tell me that MS or Sony know how to make a console.

By Anonymous Pierre, at 17 May, 2006 11:02  

The price comparison alone is fairly misleading.

One thing you have to remember is that fewer people owned video game systems in the 80s compared to now. Atari 2600 sold 550,000 consoles a year, an xbox 360 sells close to 3-4 million a year. The PS3 needs to sell a lot more consoles than (most) systems of the past. The success of past consoles would be seen as failures in today's market.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 11:50  

Recommend you color code the consoles by manufacturers -- for example, Atari machines in gray, Nintendo machines in red, Microsoft in green, etc.

Nice analysis, though!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 12:01  

I just noticed a lot of misinformation and some suggestions that don't really fit.

The Atari 2600 and Intellivision, despite their relative prices, were very successful consoles at their time. Even Coleco had a successful initial run. NES is considered the second coming of consoles after the crash of 1983 and benefitted a lot by being the only console on the market for several years, as well as having a large set of games made in Japan, where the crash never really happened.

The Colecovision was in fact more expensive than either the Intellivision or the 2600 AT THE TIME IT WAS RELEASED, but its price was cheaper than the initial prices of those consoles. Console prices did not cause the crash of '83 directly - stuff like the computer price wars (driving the Vic 20 and C64 into consumer range) and glut of bad games for the existing consoles (for example, take two I rented - ET and Chase the Chuck Wagon... eeeww)

First to market doesn't always gurantee success, nor does being cheaper than the others, or having arguably the best games at release - look at the Dreamcast.

The Magnavox Odyssey is the first video game system, but it is not the first console system with a microprocessor. This list starts with the Fairchild Channel F which is considered the first "true" console system because it didn't come with pre-programmed games, they were separate cartridges.

I think inflation adjusted is a good measure. Generally speaking, the tech in most consoles is close to cutting edge at the time, which keeps the price high (not always true - Nintendo is not using cutting edge hardware for the Wii). Consoles keep themselves affordable by selling the boxes at a loss and recouping the losses by adding fees to the cartridges or DVDs (by law, I believe, this can be no less than manufacturing cost but they can still sell it at no profit). Someone mentioned the cost of the PS3 probably being $125 and I can tell you the component cost for the GPU and CPU alone likely more than this, even in volume (and the component manufacturers would definitely still sell at a profit).

As far as which failed economically, that's hard to say - you could say the Intellivision was a success, but the video game crash of 1983 destroyed the business line for Mattel. You could also say the 2600 was a complete success and its successors (and attempt to move into the PC space) like the 400, 800, 5200, etc caused the company's failure. In this respect, Commodore did most of the killing by undercutting competition, especially during the holidays of 1982 and 1983. Most of my friends had either C64s or Apple ][s at around that time.

I don't think NeoGeo really intended to be in every home. They marketed it as a system that could play many different games at arcade quality as the systems they sold to the arcades because it was the same game on the same system. Unfortunately, this also meant they had to sell a very expensive console with very expensive games, otherwise nobody would go to their meat-and-potatoes business - the arcade.

To the person that missed the PS3's more expensive model - it's there - that's the gray outline. Xbox 360 has it too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 12:06  

As I'm in the UK anyway, I'm not that interested in US wages except so far as they reflect UK wages. If you want to argue that the official figures for inflationa ren't that relevant, then do your own calculations - find the figures for whatever indicator you consider relevant, and recalculate prices in terms of that.

Personally, I will very probably buy a Wii about a year from now, and may well also buy one of the others when they drop to a more affordable price.

I expect that those who know about consoles will already have made up their minds, either planning to buy certain machines anyway, or planning to wait things out and see what happens by the time prices start dropping. The bulk of sales though will come from people less savvy, and largely be based on things like brand recognition, price, marketable features, and exclusive games - Halo sold a lot of X-Boxes.

In general, I have an opinion on what I'm willing to pay for a console, what I'm willing to pay for a game, and what I'm willing to pay for a peripheral, and I'm quite willing to sit back and wait for something to fit those criteria (and meanwhile expand my collections of games for PC and older consoles)

By Anonymous rmsgrey, at 17 May, 2006 12:29  

Jacob Lee...
I believe the reason the dreamcast died was mostly because of piracy. The dreamcast was all around a better system except that if you develope a game for it, it was very easy for it to be pirated, so why would you want to develope a game for it? It's the same reason that the PC is not a popular platform to develope for. (The PC would die quickly if it was a gaming device only!)

I actually had a DVD player on my computer long before I had a PS2. It was cheaper to buy a cd/dvd drive, then to buy a stand alone DVD player. As a matter of a fact I have never owned a standalone DVD player.

I would buy a bluray drive for my computer, but it seems the only ones available are for burning discs and they are super expensive. I'd get a HD-DVD drive also if there were an inexpensive one available. But to be honest, it seems the online content is becoming more appealing then going out and buying disks.

The other hurdle is, as someone else here mentioned, HDTVs. I know about 2 or 3 people that own one (one of them won it as a prize in a raffle), but no one in my family owns one. So if you don't have an HDTV, then the cost goes up even more. Otherwise it's pointless to have the ability to play HD media if you don't have the display to view it.

Don't forget about Sonys other attempts at trying to create standard formats, like Beta and UMDs.

This just seems like Sony may be pushing things a bit. I think it would have been more clever to adapt some of what the PC has, in modularity and be able to buy a bluray drive later.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 12:33  

Now what you should do is examine this with the gross national product of China from 1943, divide by the current world's population, cross-reference the figures with American tax dollars going into K-12 education systems, and multiply it by the percentage of decrease of the Amazon rainforest.

Then tell all the lamers asking you to do more work for free to get off their lazy asses, or pay you some money for your statistical research!

btw, Great Job!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 13:14  

This is a really powerful analysis, thanks. The other clue is in Moores Law - which Sony appear to be stepping away from as well. Its simply too expensive, period, and on top of it you really need games at $59.99 (v $24.99) and an HD TV at $2000+. Nah - this is one to wait, and let the early adopters get toasted on all the bugs and missing features. MY advice: DO NOT BUY until PS3.1 comes out at under $299 (as it always does)

By Anonymous Resurgam, at 17 May, 2006 13:29  

It might be helpful to break this out based on what is included in the package as well. A couple of controllers and two games in the older packages, is a significant value that consumers eat these days on top of it.

So a third graph might make the relative costs a bit more realistic: What do you need for the average household to actually play the game? The 16-Bit generation was really the last generation to provide full value in this department.

By Blogger ron, at 17 May, 2006 14:22  

I only read through about half of those so forgive me if this has already been said. A lot of people seem to be predicting failure for the ps3 because other systems in its price range have failed. However, you are not considering the playstation name that Sony has established. The companies that failed (with the exception of Sega) didn't have any good previous systems and therefore no loyal customers and Sony does. People who have a ton of ps2 and ps1 games are going to be happy that they can still play there old games. The Ps3 is going to sell out to die hard fans for the first few months and then once sales slow the price will probably drop due to lower production costs. (Production costs are predicted to decrease rapidly as soon as other companies start using blu-ray and cell technology). And once prices drop they will be hard to stop.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 15:02  

Thank You very much for creating these charts, which there was very much a "market need" for...

My apollogies in advance if someone else has already pointed this out (haven't read anyone else's comments), but I think that there might be justification for two more charts - first, the average price per console, adjusted for inflation, across the retail lifetime of each system in question. Second, total numbers of consoles sold worldwide, across each systems' lifetime.

For example: after adjusting for inflation, at least 9 systems were more expensive than PS3 at time of release, according to chart #2. Only two of those were, arguably, commercial blockbusters (Atari 2600 and PS1). What these two had in common was that the initial retail price was *not* the retail price over the vast majority of those systems' retail lifetimes. Averaging the consoles retail price throughout their retail shelf lives, then "mapping" that to units sold across those lifetimes, might reveal another interesting picture, and better illutrate the markets price sensitivity.

Sorry if I'm stating the obvious, and/or anything someone else already stated.

Again, great job!

By Anonymous Scott Briggs, at 17 May, 2006 15:48  

The thing people forget about is the future. How long before MS and Nintendo drop support for the 360 and Wii for their new console? The one thing that Sony has done for gaming that no one gives them credit for is a long life span. They will continue to release great games for the PS2 well into the PS3's life span and the PS3 will continue to get new content long after MS and Nintendo drop the 360 and Wii. This is a factor that should weigh heavily in the price. I would estimate that you will get at least 2 years more of new content from a PS3, which could make up for the difference in price.

Also, the price of BluRay movies is almost the exact same as HD-DVD movies. The only real difference is the price of the players. HD-DVD only stands a chance if PS3 sells fewer than 10 million in the next 3-4 years. Think about it, does anyone honestly expect even the combined sales of BluRay and HD-DVD to break even 3 million in 3-4 years? I don't, but I could be wrong considering how much misinformation there is out there regarding this stuff. Also, I am only speaking of America when it comes to those numbers. I don't see more than a few million high def players selling in the next few years and I think that even with the price the PS3 will easily sell at least 3 times that many in the same amount of time. Besides, that Merrill Lynch report estimated that the manufacturing costs will drop to $320 after 3 years. At that rate we should be seeing a steady $100 price drop pretty much every year for the next 3-4 years.

My honest opinion as to how this is all going to work out is that they will all kind of even up. Sony can't keep the lead with the price. That should be pretty much guaranteed. MS is still only FPSs. That is the way people see it and that will hurt sales. Plus, its still MS and the majority of people in the world don't really seem to care for MS even though they use their products daily. Personally, I respect MS, but I still don't agree with alot of what they do when it comes to business practices. The Wii-mote will still be a gimick and most won't spend their money on it till they have gotten plenty of time to try it out. That could affect the Wii early on but shouldn't hurt too much in the long run, but I do feel it will be enough to keep them from taking a significant lead.

I guess the real question to ask myself is why the hell I care to comment when I know not many will agree with me. If you only take one thing from this let it be the fact that BluRay movies ARE NOT alot more expensive than HD-DVD movies. As far as the players and blank media...that could be different. The players for sure are more expensive, but I'm not sure on blank media. I just see the industry deciding this format war rather than the consumer. People love to bring up Beta but this is almost nothing like that war. Beta tapes cost like $80 for crying out loud! Its no wonder it couldn't compete. The industry knows the price of the players will go down by the time people really start adopting this stuff and that is why I think the price is relatively a non-issue.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 17:01  

There is a slight flaw in that, often the first console of a generation comes out verily expensive, just because they have an exclusive market. then the price drops to compete or under cut, once the other consoles in the generation are released. However i dont know how this could be translated in to the graph.

By Blogger Knuckleskin, at 17 May, 2006 17:36  


I would like to make this stand out:

Nintendo has always released their consoles for just $200... Also if you look at the inflation chart, Nintendo has always come up with a lower price, generation after generation.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 18:00  

I would also like to make a point..
Look at the 2 most expencive machines...NOW consider the graphics, and hard of computer at the TIME...
THEY BEAT the computers...
Looking at Tech advances, Manufactouring hasnt increased in COST in the last 20+ years, and is CHEAPER in other countries, even Japan Farms it out.
You think that Video card you PAID for cost $200 for your computer?? Wait 1 year, and it will be HALF, and they STILL make a profit.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 18:35  

To the anonymous who says we should take the continuing release of PS2 games into account:

Bullhockey. I still see X-box games on shelves. NES games were still released when the SNES was around. The only company famous for NOT doing this is Sega, who people complained about when the Saturn took a turn for the worse.

But that's beside the point anyway. There are lots of ways this graph could be adjusted to reflect one person or another's considerations, insights and biases. The very point of the graph is to avoid all those things. It's raw numbers, all of them substantiated. There is no monkeying around with the scale except to translate in terms of inflation, and he even presented us a second graph with the absolute prices in case that wasn't good enough.

He's given you the raw data. Decide what it means for yourself.

By Blogger JohnH, at 17 May, 2006 18:36  

Thanks for sharing! As already pointed out, it was an interesting read.

Oh, the comments included!

By Anonymous Lisa, at 17 May, 2006 20:06  

Excellent list; thank you for including the consoles' original prices and then adjusted for inflation as well. Nintendo consoles traditionally launch for $200; we'll see if the Wii does the same. As for PlayStation 3, it's quite up there for Sony, but we'll seen soon enough if it'll do as well as its predecessors.
Paul Gale

By Blogger Paul Gale, at 17 May, 2006 20:30  


NES - $200
SNES - $200
N64 - $200
GC - $200
Wii - $200?

By Blogger Steve, at 17 May, 2006 20:47  

Kudos for the great charts. However, I don't think straight inflation properly reflects the relative prices of the consoles. I mean it represents the amount of money if you don't buy the console and instead stuck it in a bank, but how many of us really think about that? I think something like the consoles price versus the adverage yearly disposable income for the year it's released makes a bit more since. Basically even if a console is cheap based on inflation, but the economy is in the pits that year it would still seem out of reach of most consumers. Hrmm, I'll try to work on that myself as it could be interesting.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 21:10  

This is a good read about the Betamax and VHS format war.

Availibility of players and media, were big factors. And by availibility I also mean price.

I think DVD is still going to be around for quite some time, as it is way more available, and both HD-DVD and Bluray are to be a backwards compatible (meaning you should be able to play DVDs on those players). It's also cheaper and doesn't require an HDTV which are also not widely available.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 22:13  

To all the people saying the Wii is next-gen and the PS3 and 360 aren't: I'm a developer and I can tell you the Wii IS A GAMECUBE (you couldn't even call it the Gamecube 1.1). That's how it is backwards compatible with the cube. Nintendo could have gotten by just releasing the controller, but since the Gamecube had already flopped, they had to pretend it was a new unit. It isn't. They gave it a little extra cache memory but that isn't useful for making the graphics any better or the games more complex since the memory they added was too slow for anything that changes frame-to-frame. Developers are still stuck with the same 24MB of main memory (which made it the most difficult platform of the current gen to port to) and we use the same devkits as we had for the cube (which most had thrown into the closet because all cube development had ceased). It's a nice controller, but the console itself is just a Gamecube with a standard DVD drive (because they are cheaper than the custom mini-DVD drive in the cube) and some slow flash memory.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 22:15  

I'm glad someone knows enough about economics to note that wages have not increased at the same rate as inflation (CPI or any other reasonable measurement). The high cost of gas in America is also going to factor into purchasing decisions. It's true that many of the "hardcore" gamers and fanboy's will pick up a PS3 regardless of the price but casual gamers and parents shopping for their kids will likely consider the relative prices.

As for bluray, I think it's really important to note that current technology only allows for Bluray disk writing at 2x. It's also new technology so factory workers will be less adept at using the machinery. The 360's standard DVD drive allows for faster production because of the existing production capacity and a lot of human capital.

New mediums (Beta, Video Cassette's, and DVD) have been fairly large jumps in technology (with the possible exception of VCR's which had a smaller leap). They didn't have very strong competition. HD-DVD and Bluray will be fiercely competitve and because of the large difference in the cost of players and smaller (Bluray will probably be $2-5 more expensive) difference in cost of the medium will likly result in a win for HD-DVD.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 23:31  

Why, yes, Mr. Anonymous Internet Person, I totally believe you're a game developer, and not just some loser here to bash on Nintendo.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 May, 2006 23:53  

You also forgot the SuperGun. Anyone else remember that? EGM Magazine talked about it a lot, but don't think anyone ever bought one. They still make them today. They're supposed to be the same a certain arcade silicon board. You were able to play the real Street Fighter 2 at home instead of a crappy SNES/Genesis conversion at the time. hehehe

By Anonymous samikaze, at 18 May, 2006 01:47  

The Neo Geo was one of the most expensive systems and also had the most expensive games. I can remember dropping $200+ on each game. (i.e. Magician Lord / Baseball Stars). It was an insane home system to own at the time! $60.00 for new Xbox360 games still doesn't compare to the cost of Neo Geo Games!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 06:48  

Well as to the previous comments about manufacturing costs being too high for it's time, as a member of that society you MUST consider the cost of research and developement. There will always be a bump at the beginning of every new tech jump (ie with the cell and Bluray and also the HDDVD system) the price HAS to be high to cover for all those prices paid back when they were getting absolutely nothing in return. Without the extra cost any company willing to put the cash into any serious advancement would sink themselves in the process. With that in view cost of technology for the PS3 is highly reasonable. Their judgement in relying so heavily on cutting edge technology is highly questionable.
The cost of wanting everything brand new is going to ruin it.
Not to mention marketing an item that has ALWAYS been known as a gaming console as anything else is lunacy driving away the younger gen due to cost and retaining it's old 'games-only' status too much to attract the older.

Having said that, I'm still buying the PS3, because frankly, in my opinion, the games for the other systems are just dull. Of course, thats only because I'm into RPGs (MMOs don't count). The others's fortes lie in different areas. (Oh, a tip of the hat to the Wii 'Mana' game coming out. They are trying!)

PS don't jump on that last bit too much. I'm just running the yarn. I don't mean to inflame any FABLE fans.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 09:26  

Reading this piece and all the comments have been the BEST source of REAL information! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 09:30  

That looks great, but how about another graph, converting the second plot to another unit, based on consumer's purchase power?

I mean, inflation is nice, but it does not reflect the average income purchase power, which is ultimately what drives consumers to buy systems.

I wonder what the second plot would look like if it took into account the average monthly income and how much (in percentage) these prices represented.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 10:01  

How aboput changing the second plot to how much the console price represented in percentage to the average income families had back at the time? I mean, inflation is nice, but it does not reflect consumer power puchase.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 10:04  

Nice job with the compilation.

Are you sure about that 3D0 price? I seem to recall paying about $400 for my Panasonic FZ-1 shortly after its release.

The Neo-Geo price seems high as well. I know it was expensive and I probably had to sell or trade in almost everything I owned to get one, but was it really that much way back then?

Either way, I probably should have spent all of that money on books instead of overpriced gaming hardware (and $200 Neo-Geo games) without many good games. I must have been crazy in my youth.

Happily, more recent game systems have offered a lot more good gaming time for less money than those overpriced old beasts!

By Anonymous Brian Sexton, at 18 May, 2006 12:12  

I'm pretty sure the N64 in the US launched at $250 not $200.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 13:51  

You do also realise that $100 in 1976 is not the same as $100 today, some kind of conversion I think is fit I think.

Having said that, I do like the graph. :)

Also, no original Magnavox Odyssey in here?! :O *le shock* 1972 baby!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 15:17  

You know what you people remind me of? That Comic Book guy on the Simpsons who just can't leave well enough alone. So he drones on over something completely and utterly inconsequential until you're just sick of hearing it. But that's the thing. He's a stereotype. He's comic relief. You people are the real deal, and it's just not funny. Yes, graphs are nice. Graphs are vague. When I see them, I don't mention the specifics of the consoles that aren't on the list, or the lack of economic data needed to make an accurate rendering of the information in that computer model I'm working on. Rather, I think to myself, "wow, that's interesting." Then I read a couple comments, generally assume the commenters are complete morons, and leave it at that. But you. All of you... Jesus Christ guys, when was the last time any of you actually left your computers or gaming systems and saw some sun light, talked to a girl maybe? These responses are the reason people make fun of gamer geeks. This exact thing. It's also a big reason why it's getting harder to find interesting and well thought out content on the Internet these days. Sheesh, with an audience like this, would you blame this guy if he never wanted to post again? I certainly wouldn't.

You made me laugh because it's true. And, I AM a girl. lol
At any rate, what you said was true, and I do have my opinions, but many people have already stated them so there's no point for me to add to this bickering nonsense.

I'm buying a Wii, and I'm not upgrading my PS2 to a PS3. That's all I have to say.

Nice charts btw, I did like the absolute price the best though. It's easy to draw conclusions just from that if you know how well each console did. But maybe that's too logical for some people. :0)

By Anonymous an_alien, at 18 May, 2006 16:12  

This is to the anonymous "game developer" who apparently knows everything about the Wii:

If what you say is true, then tell me why these specifications are posted...

Thank you please drive through.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 16:35  

I think that link about the wii is wrong, try this one :
CPU by IBM and at 729mhz,
total ram is 88mb (24mb main, the rest is external).

From what I understand Wii is just an more powerful gamecube, with more features.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 17:20  

Wow. The graph and stuff-- good work. One thing, however, that people seem to be overlooking, is the fact that the PS3 is not a game machine. No? No. It is primarily a Blu-ray disc player. Does this justify the $600.00 price point? No, it REQUIRES it. The technology for blu-ray is new, cutting edge, proprietary, and expensive. Since Sony has tried to win other format wars and lost (See Betamax, Minidisc, UMD, Etc.) They are using the PS3 as a means to force their format in the HD battle. Why? Because if they are successful, every company that makes a blu-ray player or releases a movie on that format will have to pay them a licensing fee. Big BIG money. With no competition, they can charge what they want for the movies, etc. Hell, even Microsoft would have to pay to make an add-on Blu-ray drive for the 360. Blu-ray, though, is the STATED reason for the PS3 delay, is more expensive that HD-DVD, and requires a complete refit of manufacturing plants. Combine this with that name-recognition thing (Average Joe Customer- "I want a HD-DVD player thingee for movies" Typical Wal-Mart, Circuit City, Best Buy Employee "Blu-ray or HD-DVD, sir?" Customer- "HD-DVD, isn't that what I said" -- you get the picture) and Sony is betting the farm on this. So what is the point? The point is this-- in this scenario, gamers lose. Sony has put them on the back burner, hopefully only temporarily. It is wierd, though. Sony seems to be a company at war with itself. They push blu-ray in the PS3, forcing the cost up, and maybe killing the Playstation Brand, which until now was their biggest money-maker, yet at the same time talk about how a content distribution model is the future (paying for and downloading HD movies, music, games etc. to a hard drive and using it from there.) Wouldn't this eventually make blu-ray obsolete? Believe it or not, by NOT forcing HD-DVD down consumers throats, but letting people buy it as as an add-on, Microsoft might be on the right track. Then they could also offer a larger (200GB?) hard drive for people who wanted to go the content-distribution route-- xbox live would be perfect to integrate that into, no? The sad conclusion that I have drawn is this-- if Sony can't establish a fomat monopoly with Blu-ray, they could be in big trouble. Do they have a chance? It will take a while to tell, but HD-DVD players are already on the market and sold out. Movie studios will go where the money is, and Blu-ray might end up a niche format like UMD. If this happens, no amount of price cuts, awesome exclusive games, or even further stealing of ideas from their competitors (Tilt controller, guide button, two-tiered price point, there online model to name a few) will save them. By putting all their eggs in the blu-ray basket, Sony is doing a diservice to all gamers. Believe it or not, I am not a Microsoft fan-boy. I don't want to see Sony fail, because competition in the industry is best for us, the gamers.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 May, 2006 17:31  

Someone above asked for handheld prices...I stuck 'em on a rant I did on another forum

Format is
Console - Orig price, Today price
Nintendo GameBoy - $100, $161
Atari Lynx - $189, $304
Sega GameGear - $149, $229
TurboExpress - $249, $401
Sega Nomad - $179, $234
Tiger Electronics - $179, $227
Neo Geo Pocket / Pocket Colour - $79, $100
Nintedo GameBoy Colour - $79, $97
Bandai's WonderSwan - $65, $82.55
Nintendo Game Boy Advance - $100, $112
Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP - $100, $109
Nintendo DS - $149, $152
Sony PSP - $250, $256

Sorry I couldn't do a pretty graph ;)

By Blogger Papa Zeb, at 19 May, 2006 00:10  

Respond on Destructoid or write back here.

Awesome chart, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about dropping $600 today. It doesn’t soften the blow at all, actually. I think the PS3 is expensive, and I’ll buy one anyway (eventually). And five years from now when I have to pay $1200 for the PS4 you’ll make another graph, and I’ll tell you the same thing - nice, but the sticker price still stings and looking at inflation trends isn’t helping me pay credit card debt. Despite 15%, somebody will still be selling burgers for .99 cents, which is my problem with trending stuff this way.

Beyond press room tightasses, let’s discuss the topic. Even with inflation, it appears that the median console is on the way to becoming out of the reach of casual shoppers, thus recreational spending is going to take a hit. Playstations of the future are lining up to become a middle-class commodity, and arguably are already. Then you look at Nintendo’s model, who’s price according to your chart is cheaper every year. It’s an interesting trend as we look at 2010. Anybody’s guess is as good (and wrong) as mine.

Respond on Destructoid or write back here.

By Blogger, at 19 May, 2006 03:17  

"They push blu-ray in the PS3, forcing the cost up, and maybe killing the Playstation Brand, which until now was their biggest money-maker"

That's not quite telling the whole story. The Playstation division of Sony is the ONLY profitable part of Sony. Everything else has been circling the drain for some time. If the PS3 doesn't perform up to expectations the stock is going to fall like a rock and Sony might go the way of Sega. If they can't keep the Playstation profits high BluRay will crash before is hardly has a chance to take off.

"It is primarily a Blu-ray disc player."
True, but it isn't a good one. Because of the anti-piracy protection on Bluray disks, HD TV's without HDMI end up with poor quality video. That means that any early adopter of HD TV that wants to watch 1080i probably has to use HD-DVD. The PS3 doesn't support HDMI at all to try to appease the early adopters.

By Anonymous Jason, at 19 May, 2006 04:34  

A lot of people in this forum seem to be concentrating on one thing here. The fact that historically highly priced systems tend to not do so well. But there are a couple things that need to be looked at here. First is the fact that those other highly priced systems came in an era where video gaming was not the mainstream entertainment it is today. The price point of the NeoGeo and the 3DO were obsurd when you consider that in the early 90s it was only acceptable when children and at the oldest college students were playing video games. Of course those consoles were going to flop. Anyone who had the money to buy one wasn't going to spend it on what was considered a childs toy at the time. The second thing everyone seems to be ignoring is that Sony has historically been the most expensive system and has still tended to kick major ass. The PS1 was $100 more than the N64 (the only serious competition) in todays standards but it seemed to do quite well for itself. And the PS2 was $100 more than the GC and about the same price as the XBOX but we all know who completely dominated that race. So now we have next-Gen a Wii which has not been priced (although most figure it will be $199) and due to its lack of any next-gen hardware i don't even consider a fair runner when talking price. (if you don't make next-gen console you don't have to charge next-gen prices)

So we have the 360 and the PS3. Now considering the fact that the cheaper 360 does not have a HD or wireless controller or even true HD connectivity (component is not HD) it is unfair to compare that console to the PS3. And the high end PS3 has so many more features such as HDMI and WI-FI and all those sony card slots plus the bigger hard drive, these features alone make it in a class of its own. So that lets us compare the high end 360 with the low end PS3. Which is only a $100 price difference, all of a sudden it isn't that big of a difference. The 2 have almost identicle stats sheets except for of course the HD capability. If you want that HD-DVD player I am going to be nice and predict it will only be $100. All of a sudden things don't look so expensive anymore for the PS3. And given the history of sony doing much better with more expensive equipment a PS3 flop is the furthest concern in my mind.

Now you can argue that if you don't want HD or a wireless controller or even a HardDrive then yes the cheaper 360 may be just for you, and sony really doesn't have anything to compare with that. but if you think about it are you really getting a next-gen console if all you get is teh core 360. I say No. Then those will say that the high end PS3 is way up there in price (i know i am in canada looking at the $650 price point) but I think sony is gearing that one only for people who have or are getting a top of the line HDTV which is what you need to recieve a HDMI signal anyways. So I wish people woudl quit considering that one as the only choice. If you don't have an HDTV then the cheaper PS3 will give you the best picture you could get anyways.If you don't have the HDTV that can use HDMI or don't have any need for a wi-fi connection then i don't even know why you would be considering the high end PS3 it really has nothing extra you can use. (if you are only getting the high one for the 40Gb of space i think you should consider if that is worth $100 to you.)

I jsut hope people would start to actually compare stats and prices, not jsut blindly see two options and prices. I think sony knew exactly what they were comparing themselves to when they set their prices, and they realized that even there lesser machine is worth more than the high end 360 (the blu-ray alone is worth the difference). I am hoping that the general public will see this as well before they launch.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 11:48  

wow, what a lot of comments. these graphs are just what i was looking for. thanx

By Anonymous Dexta, at 19 May, 2006 12:11  

The NeoGeo price was rather justified back then, mostly because they were selling an arcade machine for home use. You could play some of their games on other consoles but the difference was noticably worst. The only other issue was the games were also really expensive but at the time most cartridge game prices were affected by the memory size of the cartridge and NeoGeo had higher capacity cartridges.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 12:27  

another point is that looking at the absolute prices, americans have come to see and accept $200 as the standard for a game console. the xbox and ps2 have succesfully flexed that up a little bit, but there is point where consumers balk. Even if the price is more of a value than a $200 system was decades ago, just sticker shock of seeing a number at or above $400 will cause some people to wince and keep walking.

By Blogger baggiegenes, at 19 May, 2006 13:01  

Inflation is one thing, however the cost of consoles in the past was much higher relatively due to low adoption rates by the consumer.

In an age where a console will have a much larger consumer base, there is a problem when the console is this expensive, regardless of comparisons to 20 years ago.

The last since the N64, there has been a fairly clear price range for consoles, which the PS3 is clearly not in.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 13:40  

Does anyone else think this graph has 23 too many systems listed?
No one is going to walk into a game store and go "hmm.. I can't decide whether to buy a Neo Geo or a PS3."
It doesn't matter if the Neo Geo costs more than the PS3, people are only deciding between the X360, PS3, and Wii.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 13:59  

Thanks for doing this. Puts Sony's price in a nice perspective. Of course, it kind of reinforces the idea that the PS3 costs more than the "successful" systems. Price can determine success, look at the Neo Geo for an example on what not to do.

By Anonymous Taninriff, at 19 May, 2006 14:49  

Its a simplified view but pretty good for basic comparisons. You also have to consider what the systems were packaged with. The old NES came with controllers, 2 games, and the light gun. The PS3 comes with one controller and no games.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 14:57  

This is meaningless. An IBM PC in 1981 was over $6000 in 2006 dollars. Am I to believe that it is therefore a good deal to pay $6000 for a brand new computer today?

In a similar vein, the fact that the Atari 2600 was $650 in 2006 dollars when it came out in 1977 is meaningless when comparing to the PS3. Consoles are computers too you know.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 15:04  

The PS3 is $600. Why? For Blu-ray? Yawn.

I'd much rather have an affordable console with games that took up 3 disks then some supermachine with 25gig Blu-ray CDs (which will make the games more expensive, too. Money money money is on Sony's agenda).

I don't need a fancy new CD drive to switch my disks for me. Give me affordability over (slight) convenience any day.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 16:20  

I've noticed some people pointing out that the consoles that have been priced (relatively) higher were flops and other people countering that sony's 'better' technology will keep the system from failing. Better technology did not help BETA in the war against VHS and North American consumers, on average, don't have that kind of cash to spend. I do belive the system will do alright in Japan based on that particular demographic, but Sony needs to win America and Europe too, and I don't see that happening.

By Anonymous Liz, at 19 May, 2006 16:35  

"Does anyone else think this graph has 23 too many systems listed?
No one is going to walk into a game store and go "hmm.. I can't decide whether to buy a Neo Geo or a PS3."
It doesn't matter if the Neo Geo costs more than the PS3, people are only deciding between the X360, PS3, and Wii."

You dolt, if you look at the title of the graph, it's a history of console prices. not a deciding factor on which of the 3 new ones to buy.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 May, 2006 20:16  

This is an awesome list! Its funny how you went all the way back to 1976 when a lot of people won't even remember some of those older systems.
I can't believe the NeoGeo actually sold for $600 back in the 90's!! No wonder no one bought it. I remember how it was touted as having 'arcade quality graphics', but who cares if you cannot afford the damn thing?!
PS2 and 64 were the all around best systems ever IMO.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 11:44  

But you. All of you... Jesus Christ guys, when was the last time any of you actually left your computers or gaming systems and saw some sun light, talked to a girl maybe? These responses are the reason people make fun of gamer geeks. This exact thing. It's also a big reason why it's getting harder to find interesting and well thought out content on the Internet these days. Sheesh, with an audience like this, would you blame this guy if he never wanted to post again? I certainly wouldn't.
Well, thanks for coming inside and turning on your computer to provide us with your insight.
In unrelated news, I found these graphs interesting. And I think I will draw my own conclusions.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 11:54  

PS3's price is called smart marketing. Historically, whenever the newer system is released by Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft have been released, they sell out EXTREMELY fast. The day they go on sale you immediately see them selling on ebay for over a thousand dollars each, and people buy them. What I believe Sony is doing is selling the first wave of PS3's for maximum profit, since it's almost guarenteeded that they will sell out to the richer adult/spoiled kid category. Then, they will be free to lower the price a hundred or two dollars to appeal to the college kids and kids who's parents coulden't afford the system at $300. It's amazing how companies work, trying to get money; who woulda thought?

By Blogger DrKenneth, at 20 May, 2006 12:14  

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By Blogger DrKenneth, at 20 May, 2006 12:14  

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By Blogger DrKenneth, at 20 May, 2006 12:16  

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By Blogger DrKenneth, at 20 May, 2006 12:16  

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By Blogger DrKenneth, at 20 May, 2006 12:16  

I really do love the way everyone takes his charts (which are awesome), and turns them Sony's direction. The reason Sony isn't gonna die because of the high price tag is because of all you Sony loyalists out there who would buy it no matter what it costs. Half the features both Microsoft and Sony have put on their consoles are completely useless and are weak attempts to take the place of a simple item called A DVD PLAYER. Blu-Ray is good and all, but if no one uses it, its just like proper English, even if you have it, what are you going to use it with? The PS3 is gonna be the only Blu-ray compatible thing out there for the next 3 years. That said, the only way to buy technology is buying what you're going to use, so if I already have a HD dvd player, why would I need that particular feature on the PS3?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 12:33  

"PS3's price is called smart marketing. Historically, whenever the newer system is released by Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft have been released, they sell out EXTREMELY fast. The day they go on sale you immediately see them selling on ebay for over a thousand dollars each, and people buy them. What I believe Sony is doing is selling the first wave of PS3's for maximum profit"

Thats completely inaccurate. First of all, the fact that consoles sell on ebay for 1k does not help Sony. They are still only making the original 600 on the system. Second, even at 600, Sony is still taking a huge loss on each system. They were estimating cost of production at 800-1k. So I suppose you can say that they will lose less, but its surely not helping them make more profit.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 13:25  

Quarters I spent in a Arcade will add up to a fortune. The cost of the Arcade will loom over all of the post-1983 game crash expenses.

I got the SNES and a good TV at a discount to play it and then a bunch of games.

I started renting games (And sometimes entire consoles) to test em before deciding to buy a copy. Some games or consoles did not pass muster and never was purchased at retail saving me countless dollars.

I later turned to the PC for gaming. I have been fortunate to use the dollars for upgrades and building new systems while people lined up at midnight to buy the first overpriced consoles to arrive from overseas.

Today I still enjoy some of the games for free either from online archive sites or for a small cost of a CD for the PC.

The Console cost too much money when coupled with all the accessories, large screen displays and sound systems when compared to a humble personal computer.

If I buy a console game in the future it may be because PC Gaming has died and it will be the only way to game.


By Anonymous Heavy, at 20 May, 2006 13:32  

First off, the 360 costs less than the graphics card you would have to buy, not including the price of new ram, or a new mobo or processor if you need them, too, to play some of the newer games and have them look as nice as their 360 counterparts. so that is a lie, the console market has finally surpassed what can be done cheaper on the computer, most likely because of the fact that console companies are selling their consoles for a loss and making up the profit from future drops in hardware price or the fact that they get money from each and every game sold, which is over 10 a console average throughout the 4 years they are played.

Next, talking about Sony fanboys really need to learn when to stop talking about how "great" sony is. Right now, there is a war between bluray and HDdvd, one which Sony is not in the place to win because of the fact that so many other companies back up HD (most likely because MS pays them to do so or something). Neither format will be mainstream for years because of how new they are, and imagine what will happen to the console if bluray dies. That means all new DVDs would be HD and the PS3 wouldn't be able to play them. What was that again? Oh, the sound of Sony crying when they realize their PS3 can no longer be a home media system.

I'm not saying I'm rooting for HD tech to win, espcially since bluray opens up much more room for expansion with data storage and holds much more information, but the fact that it costs so much more and is harder to produce as fast means that it has a very small chance of success.

The graphs were good, and it was nice to finally see what I paid for some of those systems in today's terms. It's scary to find out that my 360 at 400$ was comparable in price to some of the first systems out there after all these years.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 13:45  

Where's Pong???

By Blogger Fitz, at 20 May, 2006 13:57  

You should make a list compiling thoughts on the systems and crossreference that to the number of reviews above 3 stars. Then, divide it by the number of systems sold times the price.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 14:48  

Channel F, boy, I remember that, had one as a kiddie.

First and last video game console my momz ever bought, now I know why, $596.94, Yikes!!!

It had a very cool controller, with an amazing amount of controll, left, right, fwd, bkwrd, the diagonals of those, as well as twist left, twist right, and pull up and push down.

By Anonymous PaulDriver, at 20 May, 2006 15:15  

aint gonna lie, im buying a wii. straight up looks more fun. i enjoyed a solid gaming experience from the xbox/ps2/gc round, but nintendo has always had games that are just MORE FUN. as kiddie or non serious as it may seem, the wii will definitely be a blast.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 15:39  

"Is the $500 price tag for the crippled PlayStation 3" is the question. I still own and play my Atari 2600, it's not crippled..

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 May, 2006 17:54  

Gee drkenneth, think you responded enough times there?

Pauldriver, a Channel F hm? Wow, I imagine that thing would be worth serious money now... er, if the person you'd be selling it to knew it existed.

By Blogger JohnH, at 20 May, 2006 20:26  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger DrKenneth, at 20 May, 2006 23:17  

Yea, I just noticed I somehow managed to respond 5 times with the same thing... O_o

Yea, but like I said, you can't complain if Sony wants to make money... That IS their goal isn't it? You know companies tend to try to earn money... The price will most certianly drop a few months after release so the people who would be more willing to spend less money can pick it up.

Also Sony put a great deal of time into making sure the thing works right on release. Microsoft had the XBox 360 chip created once, period. That's what they're using, even if it isn't optimal and underwent little testing. Sony had the chip manufatured and tested extensively multiple times. Even when they were down to only 10 PS2/PS1 games not working, they had the chip remanufatured to work with even more. And no, this isn't info I got from some PS1 fan site; it's directly from an IBM VP, the company that manufactured Sony and Microsoft's main processor.

By Blogger DrKenneth, at 20 May, 2006 23:18  

Yea, but like I said, you can't complain if Sony wants to make money...

False argument! We're not complaining that Sony wants to make money, we're complaining that a thing they're selling is why too expensive for us to buy.

You could always counter that with, "Well don't buy it then!" Of course, that's what I had already been planning on doing. Funny thing, if enough people think the same way, then Sony won't be making much money.

By Blogger JohnH, at 21 May, 2006 01:03  

Nice job!

I thought I'd let you know that I found your charts from links at C/Net and SlashDot.


By Anonymous Skylark, at 21 May, 2006 03:43  

one thing no one seems to mention is that the PS2 was backwards compatible with PS1(i think they called it PSX then) when it came out.
the XBOX was had no such library of games from an older console as it was ms' first console
if i have no console and 3 of my friends already have a ps1(when the ps2 came out) with a ton of games i'd get the ps2 just to be able to play borrowed/rented games

with the 360(at least the mose expensive one) i get backwards compatibility just like i'm sure there will be some backwards compatibility on the ps3

also buying a ps3 for its bluray isn't as strong an argument as buying a ps2 or xbox for their dvd capability since bluray is one of 2 competing standards for hdmovies

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 May, 2006 11:08  

Sony might have trouble at the start with the price the sistem will debute, the price the games will have (360 games are expensive in dvd format imagine blue ray) and not having a strong library of games at launch. If MS had not lunch a year later I will say it's OK but with a year under his belt and maybe a prce drop the 360 could really gain to large of a head start for Sony to catch up.

I think having the HD-DVD external for the 360 its a good idea if you dont want the technology and just play games dont buy the add-on for the 360. Sony problem with pricing looks to be by integrating Blu-ray to their system and probably the media could mean 80-100$ games!!! hell 360 games at launch where 60-70$.

$$$$ could be the determin factor in this generation console wars and with Nintendo Low Cost system in inovative controler every way you look at the wii it's the perfect main or secundary game console for every home.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 May, 2006 11:16  

hey you idiotic fan boys, shut up!, he just graphed the prices of the consoles when it came out, how the hell can that be biased?, if you want to worship sony, ms or nintendo to hell, that's fine by us, but STFU when you dont know what you are talking about, ok? good day

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 May, 2006 22:44  

As always, it will be the games that make the console. Just ask people that bought 3DOs, Saturns, SMSs...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 May, 2006 00:05  

where is the bally astrocade???

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 May, 2006 02:08  

How is the cheaper PS3 "crippled"? It has the same features as the "complete" XBox 360 (component output, wireless controllers, 20 GB HD). So the price difference is $100, which compares nicely with the added value of free "Live" (if they pull it off) and a built-in next-gen drive (the $100-150 external HD-DVD drive for the X360 will "consume" an extra connection to the TV for the HDMI). 50 GB worth of content in a game is better than 9 GB worth (DVD).

And "crippling" of HD quality from Blu-Ray when run over component is optional; Sony have said they won't - for their releases.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 May, 2006 06:12  

alright fan boys look, people have said it and i cant understand why people cant understand a simple truth and fact: when you got a 360 with everything, it cost 400 bucks, that's when it first came out, add the HD-DVD drive which most 360 fan boys will buy when it comes out 100-150 that puts you up to 500-550. and also it came with a 20 gig HD. okay, now if we do an apples for apples, and add two more 20 gig HDs (which cost 100 bucks if you got the normal 360) it would bump cost around 700-750. so in truth the only reason the ps3 is costing so much is because sony is making you buy everything in one package, unlike 360. so again apples for apples they're the same, if not sony better in price. "Best bang for the buck" i know you've all heard that before and that's what the PS3 is, NOW... who made the smarter move? Microsoft hands down

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 May, 2006 09:42  

The PS3 will be successful as it has the Playstation brand behind it. HD Movies will also help. Our channel Rapture TV will be showing a reports on the PS3 which was recorded at E3 in LA a week or so ago. UK and Ireland web users with Broadband can watch the channel via the web site. Your all welcome to join the Rapture TV forum.

By Anonymous David Henry, at 22 May, 2006 11:38  

It's all about the games what will appear on the consoles. PS3 will have FFs, MGS4, etc etc. Sony exclusive titles have won from the beginning (since the days of PSOne) and will continue to win it for PS3. True hardcore gamers (including those of the old school) cannot do without a Sony system. In any case, with the PS3, you can sell off your PS2 for 200$ - which I assume all of you have???

Wii is in a different genre from Xbox 360 and PS3 - it loses in graphics but tries to make up for it with gimmicky controls - for the Wii it all depends on how much ppl end up liking their controller and how well developers utilize its potential.

Xbox 360 on the other hand... its got no game franchises other than Halo - no exclusive titles that are the make-or-break in this business. The reason Sega went down? It didn't have anything to sell. The games were lackluster without an established fanbase. Same thing with MS.

Yes PS3 is very much too highly priced (though Sony is losing so much money pricing it at 600$) but there will come a time when price is no longer a factor - such as when MGS4 comes out or FFXII. Xbox360 just doesnt have that kind of pull.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 May, 2006 14:48  

Okay, first of all you DO realize that FF is ALSO coming out on the 360, right?

Second, you're smoking some serious crack if you really think you can sell a used PS2 for $200. You'd be lucky to get $100 for one.

Third a hardcore gamer can, indeed, do just fine without a Sony system. While I do technically have one (a PSX I bought years ago and haven't touched in probably 3), I don't count it since I never use it. I'm perfectly happy with my Xbox (though I rarely use it anymore), my Xbox 360, and my PC. I'll probably buy a Wii when it comes out if the whole deal with the library of old NES/SNES/etc games comes to fruition.

And to whoever was talking about Sony constantly redesigning the processor to give 100% backwards compatibility, I believe that is incorrect. My understanding is that they're going the same emulation route that MS did with the 360. I mean, jeez, they couldn't even get the slim PS2 100% compatible with PS2 games! Doesn't bode especially well for compatibility on the PS3 in my book.

Now, all that being said, I won't discount the possibility of buying a PS3 at some point but not when they initially come out; unless, possibly, it's to sell it to some moron on ebay who's willing to pay $1000+ for it.

By Anonymous Avatar28, at 24 May, 2006 00:50  

And to whoever was talking about Sony constantly redesigning the processor to give 100% backwards compatibility, I believe that is incorrect.

Well it came straight from a IBM VIP; the company creating the actual chip... So i beleive they learned from their problems with PS2-mini?

By Blogger DrKenneth, at 24 May, 2006 16:23  

to the dude that said this..."This is meaningless. An IBM PC in 1981 was over $6000 in 2006 dollars. Am I to believe that it is therefore a good deal to pay $6000 for a brand new computer today?"

PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5Ghz PowerPC... $3,999.00
Apple 30 inch Cinema HD display...

but the shipping is free at least...

this is a factory direct price, let's not even delve into retailers markups

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 May, 2006 17:40  

some dude said that FF was gonna go to Xbox360 - but that's really only FFXI - the main series will never go over to xbox/MS - (i dont count XI online as main)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 May, 2006 23:37  

Hey, great work.
Who does the same for games now? I can't, I'm busy developing em'...

By Anonymous DenisDenis, at 28 May, 2006 12:01  

First, I found the graphs interesting. Thank you for the comparison of relative values.

Now for some comments.

Several persons addressed console costs. Consoles are pretty much now a commodity. Commodities historically have decreased in absolute value terms due to technological innovation (better manufacturing/growing/harvesting processes), greater yields, and lower production costs.

Second, in regards to the point that the Playstation sold 70 percent of its consoles once the price was dropped two years after its original release, I don't think price tells the whole story.

I think what is being lost in this discussion is availability of games for each console. The consoles that failed did so for more reasons than just price. If price were the determining factor, then all you would need to do is produce an affordable console and you would instantly win market share.

What doomed many console systems (3DO comes to mind) is that there were not a lot of games available for the platform when it was initially released. By the time Sony dropped its price on the Playstation, a large number of games had been developed and released, making it more appealing to the gamer looking for the best-bang-for-the-buck.

Instead of focusing on price, I think it would be as important to look at value. Let's say I made a console that is $99, has killer graphics, super sound, a DVD player, wirelss controllers, an an installed network adaper for online gaming. Sounds appealing? Now let's just say I have only two games for this console, would you still buy it? Would $99 be enough of a value to offset the fact that you only have two games available?

The trick in my estimation is to determine what consumers are willing to spend, but more importantly, make sure that you court game developers as much as you court customers. A console is only as good as the games available.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 May, 2006 06:17  

wtf??? did you look at the 3DO? where was i during this time?

that was a brilliant graph!

By Blogger Maharet, at 01 June, 2006 15:20 says the Neo-Geo AES was $400 at launch. i'm not sure if that's correct,t hough. I was only 10 years old at the time, but I do recall the legendary $600 system.

"Does anyone else think this graph has 23 too many systems listed?
No one is going to walk into a game store and go "hmm.. I can't decide whether to buy a Neo Geo or a PS3."

You must not understand the point of these charts. They are for historical comparison, and I think they do a nice job of illustrating how, judging by history, Sony's PS3 is poised to be a flop.

(and if they were both available at retail, I'd probably choose the Neo-Geo, personally. ;p)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 June, 2006 01:52  

Its interesting that the Neo is considered a "failure" by so many people here. As far as years of support it outlasted everything I can think of except maybe the Famicom. The Neo Geo lasted from 1990 to 2004. Its hard to imagine a mainstream console lasting that long. The PS1 is technically still alive I guess because of the recent Square reprints in Japan, but even now the PS1 is still only less than 12 years old.

The Neo Geo didn't sell a lot of units, but it was never supposed to. For the people that loved it, the Neo Geo was a %100 success.

Now the Neo CD on the other hand...

By Anonymous SignOfZeta, at 05 June, 2006 20:14  

First of all - kudos to you on the graphs. Truly an insight into how much money I've poured into the market in my gaming career.

Second -

It's all about the games what will appear on the consoles. PS3 will have FFs, MGS4, etc etc. Sony exclusive titles have won from the beginning (since the days of PSOne) and will continue to win it for PS3. True hardcore gamers (including those of the old school) cannot do without a Sony system.

I beg to differ....

First of all, it's a telling blow to this point that Sony has lost its exclusive rights with a number of third party developers. While FFXI isn't the be-all-end-all of the series, the mere fact that Square-Enix is branching to the XBox market is a foreshadowing point. They lost their exclusive rights to the GTA series. Again, not a system maker in itself, but even Sony has stated that it helped them push [PS2] units.

It is not economic for an established third party publisher to sign an exclusive contract for a franchise or singular game. They want their product to reach as many hands as it can (within technological parameters), and thus why very few games put out by these third party companies are not seen on at least two gaming platforms (including PC).

I used to own a PS2, and I was very skeptical of the XBox and Halo in the beginning. I distinctly recall standing in a local gamestore looking at the demo of Halo and crapping all over it. But I grew out of the fan boy status, looked at the game for what it was, at the system for what it was, and when my PS2's DVD lens died (when talking to an employee of a local Gamestop, he said that it was not an uncommon cause of death for that system), I bought an XBox. And I don't regret a single moment of it.

And for the record, I've gamed since the Nintendo Era, owning a medley of the systems displayed on the graph that spawned this interesting little blog. Now, as a father, I'm raising the next generation of game-geek. Maybe I'm not "old school" enough for you, or "hardcore" enough for you, but I can say that I consider myself a rather serious gamer, and my household does quite well without a Sony system in it, thank you very much.

Look at the near future of games; Gears of War, Bioshock, Mass Effect, Halo 3, Call of Duty 3... while only two is part of an established game franchise, and as far as I know (I could be incorrect on this one) only CoD3 will be cross platform, all are from respected developers, and this generation of games is the first to really scratch the surface and start to flex some of the 360's muscle.

And while I can't find the comment to quote it, someone stated early that they'd rather have 50GB of game content than 9GB [DVD capacity vs. Blu-Ray]... I read an interview with the developers of Oblivion that stated they came no where NEAR the maximum capacity of a DVD, and the sheer amount of mass in that game is staggering. We're nowhere near the limits of capacity for a single DVD, but even if we get there.. well, after all... Sony wasn't afraid to take on multiple disc games, were they?

I will be getting a Wii, as Nintendo has established itself in my eyes (not to mention my kids) as a family gaming icon. I probably will get a PS3.. after a rather dramatic price drop, and to see if it stands the test of time. Personally, I think Sony threw too much at once into one system, and they're waiting with baited breath to see if it fails or succeeds. Making the system's primary medium storage device an as yet embattled Blu-Ray is a bold step, as the cost of producing games will remain very high unless the medium catches on in other entertainment formats (i.e. movies).

If it succeeds, they'll finally make it where all of their other single-proprietary mediums have failed (see the above posts about beta, umd, mini-disc, et al), and earn some rather spectacular revenue (more from establishing Blu-Ray than from the PS3). If they fail -- well, I'll just keep playing my 360 on my Samsung HDTV.

- Daerknis

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 July, 2006 02:09  

Right on, Daerknis. This TV PONG-era gamer is buying a Wii first, Xbox 360 second, and may never buy a PS3 unless Sony can prove that their huge gambit will somehow benefit ME, not them.

Rockin' the Samsung HDTV too. Very very nice with games, I must say.

By Anonymous Nick, at 12 August, 2006 06:25  

How about instead of looking at price, look at the ones which used new storage media?
Coleco ADAM, cassettes: flop
CD-i, CD-ROM: flop
Gamecube, those little disks: flop
PS2, DVD: huge success

But then again, the PS2 wasn't the thing that brought DVD to everybody's home. I think Sony may be pushing it with Blu-ray, especially with their track record on new formats. Remember that Betamax failed because it was too expensive...

Blu-ray and HD-DVD are looking like Betamax/laserdisc to me. DVD didn't take off until the players weren't much more expensive than a VCR. I don't see $100 blu-ray players anytime soon. The difference here is that Sony is betting that PS3 users will see the extra $100 tacked on as the price of a new player. But since the Matrix isn't on blu-ray, I could care less.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 August, 2006 12:12  

Great Job! I think a few of you have way to much time to be to picky! All those systems should be included.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 September, 2006 13:30  


does anyone have the expanded pics saved?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 September, 2006 14:53  

What a crap inflation graph. Inflation adjustment can only be used to compare changes in value over time, not how much something costs.

Just take a look at household incomes from 1969 to 1996, they haven't increaded that much.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07 October, 2006 09:40  

Actually, that census information is adjusted for inflation already.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 November, 2006 08:59  

I think the charts are very well done.

But the success and failures of past systems wasn't predictable by console retail price alone.
Coleco and Atari, NES, SNES, they kept afloat with a large library of games.
They also made sure the games were distributed and sold all over (Product Saturation).
Their marketing was good and they rarely gave pre-release info on games and accessories that they didn't/couldn't deliver (Controlled product marketing).
Comparitively speaking they stayed away from too aggressive marketing campaigns (TG16), and very annoying "atomic family", it-slices-dices-withAutopilot-etc... Hype type marketing

More importantly the game price were kept down (until SNES's Secret of Mana?)

3DO on the other hand had no real central marketing team (to beat off the old marketing pros at NEC & Sega), so it looked like a rich kids game system {insert picture of nose in air}.
There was many pictures of 3DOs and they all appeared different (depended on Co), Hello Confusing!
They had all these accessories annouced & that was before you could even buy the system, way too many.
No game or product saturation.
Some games that were big, dissappeared from the sales pitch too quickly ie "the horde" and instead they talked about Gex...
Or last decades flop Dragons Lair.

The gritty on: PSP3, Wii, & Xbox360.

This Xmas the parent will think:
PSP3 has supply issues
Wii has supply issues
Xbox360 is readily available

The parents will see on the shelf:
PSP3 has some games in stores
Wii has more games in stores
Xbox360 has the most games in stores

The parent may just think:
Xbox360 is what we have & can get x# of games for the price of a PSP3 or Wii (Thinking its pronounced Why... as in why bother if I can't just walk in and buy the system.).

This is really a story about PSP3/Mac v.s. Wii/IBM v.s. XBox360/GenericPC...

By Blogger Kay, at 25 November, 2006 14:07  

Kay: Those are very rational sounding parents you've got there. I believe part of the idea is to show love and dedication to your children by doing "whatever it takes" to secure precisely the *least* available platform, etc. Certainly some won't go PS3/Wii for your reasons, but is it enough to matter? Supply's already tight, which equals great free press and as many sales as they can take right now.

Also confused why Wii isn't the Mac parallel. ;^)

By Blogger rufbo, at 25 November, 2006 15:39  

thnx i needed this 4 my business studies coursework thnx due in 2moz!

By Blogger chunkykibbles, at 04 February, 2007 09:15  

Nice job, glad you included all the systems. They need to be included to show the overall progression. Besides all us retro gamers love this stuff. The Neo Geo was not succesfull either. Not sure why someone thought that. How many people do you remember that owned one? Think Middle class America Not your Rich Neighbors. No one I know. Kinda like the Segway. Sure the Whole Google Complex has them, but I don't think one person in my whole county owns one! Anyways Just wanted to say nice job on both Graphs.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 February, 2007 20:39  

Thanks for this statistic analysis.
You forgot to include Amiga Computer. I bought mine in 1988 for 1000 Euros!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 March, 2007 11:52  

Just wanted to state that I notice a couple of people say to include consoles that were failures. Such information should not be added because some consoles were only failures in the US region but not other regions. The Saturn was a failure in the US, but sold more than the PSX in Japan. The TurboGrafx-16 was significantly popular in Japan and outsold the NES and SMS. In US it was a flop.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 June, 2007 15:18  

If you want more info on the history of consoles written by an insane person, look here:

By Blogger Kevin, at 18 June, 2007 17:58  

The denominator should be median individual income, not the inflation index. That has grown less than inflation.

By Blogger X, at 07 June, 2010 14:37  

Hello, please excuse me for my English.

I tried to send you a mail, but it came back with an error message.

I know this is an old article, but I found it very smart, and I'm currently planning of doing the same thing for European prices.
Of course, you will be credited as the original author of the US version.

But for this, I would like to know what software you used for making this pretty, good-looking graphs.

Thanks for your answer.


By Blogger kantaro, at 08 January, 2011 07:50  

I put the data into a spreadsheet, added another column which translated each value into inches, and then created each bar individually in OpenOffice Draw. Then I added the labels and everything else by hand.

By Blogger jvm, at 08 January, 2011 09:18  

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