Video Game Console Prices - Adjusted for Inflation

Published: March 18, 2016 4:20 PM /


Video Game Consoles

Video game consoles are often considered very expensive investments. That has been argued for a long time how much people would pay for a console to own and enjoy. Thanks to a nifty little study though by Quartz, we now know how much video game consoles from the past are, adjusted for inflation.

Quartz was able to compare over forty years of game consoles into one list, showing off how much the machines would be if released today after adjusting for inflation. While handhelds were omitted from the list, the results are a bit interesting, with the average price being roughly $518 for a console, based on the choices made here. The median where most of the consoles lie, however, is at roughly $413. The data, collected by both Giant Bomb and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, puts the most expensive console ever made, the NEO GEO in 1990, at a full price of $1,179, while the Nintendo Gamecube in 2001 is the cheapest, at $268. 

Let it be known that game consoles are relatively expensive, even in the modern day.
Let it be known that game consoles are relatively expensive, even in the modern day.

The NEO GEO when released was sold at $649.99 in retail, and was renowned for accurate ports of arcade games. The Gamecube was released at $199.99, and would go on to sell 27 million units worldwide. 

In fact, the entire list has most of the Nintendo consoles on the lower end, with the Nintendo Entertainment System being the most expensive Nintendo console at $441 today. Likewise, most consoles from Sony, save the Playstation 3, are in the $400-$500 range; including the new Sony VR. 

Speaking of new consoles, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are also high on the list at their announced prices of $600 and $800, respectively. It is possible that twenty years from now, they may both overtake the NEO GEO as the most expensive consoles ever made.

One of the oldest consoles on the list, the Atari 2600, is also one of the most expensive as well. The Atari 2600 was the first major cartridge-based console released in 1977 at the price of $199.99. Now nearly forty years later, the console would cost $783 when adjusted for inflation, making it the most expensive Atari console as well. 

Overall this is an interesting look at console pricing, and how the cost of making these machines can sometimes show how expensive they were in relation to the times.

So what do you think about all of this? Is about $412 the sweet spot for you? How much is too much for a console? Leave your comments below. 


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