The folks over at Curmudgeon Gamer were intrigued by the uproar over the announced prices for the PS3 and decided to figure out if the price was really that unreasonable compared to previous consoles. So they sat down and came up with two graphs comparing them.
The first is an absolute comparison using the prices listed at the time the systems were launched and, if you’ve been following the video game industry for any amount of time, you won’t be surprised to learn that $600 for the top end PS3 is not the worst price a console has ever debuted at. In fact it’s beaten by two quite older machines: The Neo Geo ($650 at launch) and the 3DO ($700 at launch). I did eventually buy a 3DO back in the day, but not before the price dropped to around $300, which it did pretty damn quickly.
The second chart is the relative comparison where they take into account inflation and at which point the PS3 and the Xbox 360 seem kinda cheap even for the high end model. The venerable Atari 2600, for example, had a launch price of $200 back in 1977 when it first hit store shelves. In today’s dollars that comes out to about $659.41 so you could say that the new PS3 is cheaper than an Atari 2600, but the difference in quality is so much better. Another interesting aspect of the comparison is the fact that each successive Nintendo console has been cheaper than the previous one when you adjust for inflation.
The problem, of course, is that I don’t have 1977 era dollars in my pocket and even if I did their value wouldn’t be the same as it was back in 1977. So while I might technically be spending less money today than I did for the Atari 2600 back in the day (and I didn’t actually buy my 2600, my poor dad did) I don’t think my wife is going to let me win that argument and buy a new PS3 as soon as it hits store shelves.
Me: But honey! It’s technically CHEAPER than an Atari 2600 so I’m actually SAVING us money!
Mrs. SEB: Right. I love you, but kiss my ass sweetheart. It’s still $600 we don’t have.
Still, you can’t blame a guy for trying.