A History Of How Much Consoles Have Cost In Australia

A History Of How Much Consoles Have Cost In Australia
Image: Kotaku

There’s no confirmation that we’ll get Australian pricing of the PlayStation 5 tomorrow, but that hasn’t stopped people wondering nonetheless. So to help inform that chatter, one user and a former Aussie games journo has collated the data on all previous Australian console launches.

The list was put together by Jarrod Mawson, a former writer for PALGN and Rocket Chainsaw. It’s a couple of graphs logging the cost of every console’s launch pricing in Australia, going as far back as the third generation (that’s the NES era), through to the Xbox One X, Switch and PS4 Pro.

The first two graphs show the pricing in AUD, while the third logs their launch prices internationally. Naturally, the original PS3 60GB model was a staggering $1000. But for the most part, Sony’s launch pricing has traditionally been higher than Microsoft. That changed with the release of the PS4 and the PS4 Pro.

The figures were adjusted for the most recent inflation figures — from the RBA in 2019, Mawson told Kotaku Australia. 2020 figures aren’t available yet, although that’s likely because the current fiscal year is yet to end.

Based off history, Mawson’s current estimate is that the PS5 will shake out to be around $600 or $700 dollars here. I remember bundles of the Xbox One costing over $600 when that launched last generation, and given the impact of coronavirus and the squeeze that’s applied to supply, I wouldn’t be surprised if the PS5 works out to be a bit more than that.

It’s also been reported that Sony’s manufacturing costs have risen this year, thanks to shortages in other components. Bloomberg wrote earlier this year that the PS5’s cost per unit had risen to $US450 a console, which is approximately $649 at the time of writing. The spike in cost was due to a shortage of DRAM and NAND flash memory.

What’s likely is that Sony — and Xbox — will both book a loss per console sold this generation, at least at launch. Both companies have done so in the past, especially since those losses are later recouped through software sales and subscription services (like PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus). Consoles also get cheaper to manufacture over time, particularly as competition for the 7nm silicon manufacturing process reduces as CPU makers, mobile phone companies and other firms transition to newer process nodes.

Still, none of that is going to change the calculus this summer. The PS5 — and probably the Xbox Series X too — is gonna be expensive. Get those wallets ready.


  • The only reason why i ever owned a ps3 was because my friends dad wanted to upgrade his, so i got it on a cheap, I still laugh at how overpriced that thing was.

  • Anyone want to play pin the price on the PS5 reveal tonight (if it does)?

    I’ve got $799 – BoM is going to be high especially with that SSD. I can’t see Sony wanting to lose money per console sold and will be reinforced by the dominant position they have atm.

    • I can’t see Sony wanting to lose money per console sold

      It depends on whether other parts of the company can absorb those costs.

    • Every generation Sony and MS have lost money out of the gate with consoles. The only one who historically hasn’t, is Nintendo due to the lesser cost of the less powerful hardware?

      • I could be wrong, but I think Nintendo had a loss leader with the N64. I vaguely remember seeing that somewhere a few years back.

        • I wouldn’t be surprised with that one at all. When it first came out, N64 games were *massively* overpriced compared to other games, I remember at one stage, we had some cartridges for sale for 119.95 on our shelves at RRP at Games’R’Us in Brisbane. It was absolutely shocking how much they wanted. That wasn’t with rumblepak or anything.

          I *think* from memory Nintendo’s ‘profit’ with consoles started at the Gamecube possibly? I know they made profit out of the gate with the Wii.

          • Pretty sure I bought Conkers Bad Fur Day for that price. Right at the tail end of the N64’s life, voice acting and probably a larger cartridge size and probably a fairly small market for a title like that.

            I did get the giant sized promo box from EB Games a week after release though!

      • How did the original Xbox go overall? I once looked up the financial stuff from MS and the department it came from bled money every quarter except for the quarter when Halo 2 launched and it made a modest profit.

        I never really saw any articles about how the Xbox was burning money so maybe it was something else in that department?

    • Sony was losing a significant amount per console the PS3, and PS4 at launch, just to get them in the market. Its called a loss leader, and really doesnt effect them all that much.

      They were losing about $250 per console for the first year of the PS3 lifespan. After that, production costs had dropped significantly, and they started showing a profit per unit. Which got bigger as time went on. The big loss was due to the blu ray player by the way.

      I dont think the loss was as big for the PS4, but at least initially there was still a loss. Its called a loss leader, and its pretty common for consoles.

      Over the lifespan of a console, the first year really doesnt see a big proportion of their consoles being sold. Its year 2 and 3 that are the biggest selling period. And by that point they arent making a loss on sales.

      • Yep, because the attach rate of sales for new consoles is something like 2.5 games per console, then you factor in an extra controller and other things such as the money they make from PS+ now? That’s no small change they’re raking in…

  • I could have sworn the PS1 was higher than $700 at launch. I purchased my first PS1 for my birthday in 1996. I thought I bought it for $700 after waiting for the price to drop from $800. Anyway that’s fucking 24 years ago now (!!!!!!) so maybe my memory is wrong re: the price. I know the date is 100%.

    • The PS1 didn’t have a truly stable price at first release. I think from memory the RRP was meant to be 700 or so but I do remember places trying to flog it off for 999 as well.

  • Hopefully both will be the cost of a return airfare to Japan. As it looks like I won’t be leaving these shores anytime this year, I guess I’ll put my money on a new console.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!