36 Years Of Console Prices, Adjusted For Inflation

36 Years Of Console Prices, Adjusted For Inflation

If you thought the PS4 and Xbox One’s launch prices were expensive, well, they kinda were! But not as expensive as the NES. Or Neo Geo. Or Saturn, Or PlayStation, or Atari 2600.

Reddit user Auir2blaze has run historical console launch prices through an inflation adjustment calculator (which normally use dollar strength and the cost of basic goods over time) to reveal how expensive, relatively, every major console since the 1970s really was.

Despressingly, even after being adjusted for inflation, many of these consoles are still less expensive than they originally cost in Australia. Yay, Australia tax!

You’ll notice the PS4 and Xbox One aren’t too bad, especially compared to their immediate predecessors. You’ll also see why it was so hard finding a kid who ever owned a Neo Geo or 3DO. Holy crap.

36 Years Of Console Prices, Adjusted For Inflation

I made this graphic showing how much classic consoles would cost in today’s dollars [Reddit, via Gamefreaks]


    • No, it was $695. I remember, I worked my bum off at my $10 hr job in 1995 to afford one before Christmas!

    • Yep, it was. I bought my ps1 from Toyworld after it dropped from $1k to $800. Its wasnt long after that that it dropped in price again and I made such a fuss about it that Toyworld gave me store credit to the same value… hehehe 🙂

    • I paid $800 for the 360 at launch that included an extra controller and Perfect Dark Zero. It wasn’t $800 on it’s own was it?

      • It was 650 for the 20gb model (500 for the arcade) – and the 150 PDZ/Controller pack was released before Christmas 2005 to satiate those casting envious glances at the US already having their release when ours wasn’t until March 2006.

        On a side note – you also got a VIP card – which you registered at the Xbox website to win prizes. I won a PDZ cap! Wowie!

        And the PSX was never 1000 – unless you were importing it before its AU launch. It was 699. I think you might be confusing it with package deals.

    • Remember there was a basic pack and a premium pack. I bought the premium pack for about 550 about 6 months after launch.

  • Remember: These prices are for the cheapest version available at release in America and are in American dollars. The price discrepancy was actually much larger for Australians looking for a good version; the older the console the greater our price difference.

    Xbox – $299; €479,99.
    Extrapolating the AUD dollar at the time (roughly 50c) you’d be looking at paying $500 back in 2001 for the Xbox.

    Xbox One – $500
    The cheapest release date Xbox One in Aus was at BigW/Target for $580.

  • Now if someone would make this sort of thing based on Australian prices, that would be interesting. Or maybe not… I don’t really want to know exactly how much the Australia Tax is screwing us over. T_T

    • You mean how as a proportion of our average income consoles and games are actually a LOT cheaper in Aus than they are in the USA?

      The Australia tax that means we have minimum wage laws, 20 days annual leave per year and a public health care system that means we won’t be left to die of cancer if we don’t have a lot of money? Yeah, Australia Tax sure does fuck us over!

      • I don’t see how the second group of things have anything to do with the Australia Tax on video games.

        None of those benefits are provided by the foreign companies gouging us.

        • They aren’t really gouging us though. The prices are higher than the direct exchange rate, yes, but you cannot operate a retail business on floating, volatile Forex markets.
          Do you want to shop for games the same way you shop for Petrol?

          The prices are set based on historical figures for games. Our domestic market and wages stays relative constant [with CPI], so the price of goods generally will as well. Yes, the importers will be making more money now, but the dollar is not going to remain this high for too much longer most likely.

          And lets say that they do give us $60 games and on-par pricing on hardware. When the AUD drops back again [and it will], they will have to put the prices back up again. I guarantee you that the same people that complained about the prices not being “fair” with forex rates, will also be complaining when the prices go back again to be “fair” with the rates.

          Ultimately, my last point was to paint some perspective to people. I’m amazed how little people appreciate how different our society is here in Australia compared to the US. Our wages and our standard of living are a LOT higher. When you start talking about inequalities in standards of living between US and AU, the price of games is a piss in the ocean.

          • I guess you also think it’s fair that Adobe CS6 costs $2,500 in Aus, or $1200 in the US? Australians have clearly been gouged for a long time, and now companies are complaining that we finally worked it out.

          • But if you buy the games digitally you get charged in USD anyway. If I buy COD Ghosts in Australia its 90USD on steam, If I buy it in the US its 60USD.

      • It’s not actual TAX inflating Aussie game prices. The extra $40 you spend does NOT go toward public health care.
        It is profit, for private companies.

        GST is only 10%.

        • You are more than welcome to relocate to the US, where you can breath a sigh of relief that you can now pay 40% less for your games. Too bad that your income is also a considerably lower. But thats ok, cheap games!
          Hope you never have to go to the hospital for anything. But you’ll have cheap games to distract you, anyway 😉

          • Or thanks to the modern internet, he could either buy from the US, or change the region on his console to the US to buy digital copies cheaper than retail copies here. Not like it’ll effect the bottom line of EB Games, they make all their money from reselling trade ins anyway. All it screws are the distributors.

          • Yes, when I said GST is 10% I clearly meant Australia sux.
            Glad you saw the point of my comment.

            Carry on.

  • We need to ram this down Gerry Harvey’s throat.
    This is why he wants online shopping taxed so we can go back to ridiculous retail price hikes.

    I remember my friend paid $800AUD for the PS1. My Saturn was $700 second hand in 1996.
    Seems the PS1 was $300 USD WOW!!!!!!

    • Sega Saturn was $700 new at launch. I remember because my friend worked at our local independent game retailer, and I went in every second day to drool over Virtua Fighter.

  • I remember the Sautrn and PS1 being up around the $8-900 mark when they were first released in Aus. Pretty sure the N64 was about $600. The Dreamcast was around $500.

  • Holy crap I never realised the PS1, N64 and PS2 were so damn cheap in the US! They were stupid expensive in comparison here.

    • I recently looked this up, after first seeing this graphic, because I swore I paid about $700 for a PS2. Yup, it was about that price at launch, but the thing was, that was only about $450 USD at the time.

    • Up until the mid 00’s, the AUD was only at 0.50 USD……

      So…. no…. they weren’t stupid expensive in comparison.

      • bzzt. 1995 we were mid 70’s, it wasn’t until around the year 2000 that our dollar had crapped out to 50c.

  • being from England I can only speak for prices over there for most of them, but from memory basically every console maker had a habit of simply changing the $ to a £ and keeping the numbers the same. Not great when £300 would equal roughly $500

  • I paid $750 for my day 1 original xbox, then MS dropped it by $100 and I got free games and a controller.

    Good times.

  • I remember paying about a grand for my launch day PS3 and about $800 for a launch day PS2, ahhhh the bad old days!
    did I get a launch day PS4? nope. Sony needs to realize gamers are suckers, sure, but only for so long and the world has changed. Big Time

  • I like the part where, save for the Saturn, Nintendo and Sega are basically at a steady $200 for each one throughout. Then the others come along and start pushing the prices up…

  • I’m not sure your guys realise but the PS1 used to cost $1K in Australia when it first came out.

  • True but almost completely irrelevant. It’s always silly to say “yeah, but isn’t EVERYTHING else fair?” Doesn’t matter. Exploitation is expoitation and Australia has been found for years to have over-inflated prices with government action called for. It might not be a huge deal in the grand scheme of things but looking at the big picture and then just ignoring it is just enabling australian customers to be screwed by large international companies. It isn’t necessarily about perspective, many people are aware that Australia isn’t the worst place in the world but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for equality every day.

  • A friend of mine had a NeoGeo. Why were they so expensive again?
    I asked Santa for one once, and instead of 1 lump of coal I got 3! o_O

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