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Xbox One and PS4 Prices - How they compare to the classics

Andrew Williams

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Xbox One and PS4 Launch Price - Compared to the classics

The Xbox One has been criticised by some as being just too damn expensive at £429. It's £80 more than the PS4, which will retail at £349, and that £80 got the internet mad.

But are we really paying all that much for our consoles these days? We dug into the past to find out how much the consoles of old cost at launch, and calculated how much those figures equate to these days, taking inflation into account.

The results are eye-opening.

Console price 17

Magnavox Odyssey (1972)

Launch price: £80 (est.), $100

Adjusted launch price: £895,

Units sold: 0.3 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £2,262

Considered the first 'home games console', the Magnavox Odyssey is perhaps not as well-remembered as it should be. Its games were shipped on cartridges that stored multiple titles. It even had a light gun accessory.

Console price 11Atari 2600 (1977)

Launch price: £179.99 (est.), $200

Adjusted launch price: £948

Units sold: 30 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £4,815

Once upon a time, Atari was the king of video games. The Atari 2600 was a monstrous success, despite being extremely expensive when you think about it in today's terms. Top games include Pac-Man, Pitfall and Missile Command.

Console price 15Intellivision (1980)

Launch price: £249.99 (est.), $299

Adjusted launch price: £909

Units sold: 3 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £4,542

The Intellivision - another gaming relic from another age. Its differentiating element was a keyboard module, which made it seem like a grown-up computer. You could also buy a voice synthesis module, for futuristic sound effects in some games. Fancy.

Console price 3

Nintendo Entertainment System (1983)

Launch price: £179.99 (est.), $199.99

Adjusted launch price: £515

Units sold: 62 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £6087

Moving onto consoles that seem a lot closer to those we have today - the NES. This was the star of the 8-bit age. Although gaming wasn't the gigantic industry it is now, the NES sold almost as many units as today's consoles.

Console priceSega Mega Drive (1988)

Launch price: £189.99, $199.99

Adjusted launch price: £429.99

Units sold: 40 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £8853

It wasn't the first 16-bit console (that honour goes to the largely-forgotten Turbografx 16), but the Sega Mega Drive was one of the most important. It gave us Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991, and arrived two years before its biggest rival, the SNES.

Console price 2SNK Neo-Geo (1990)

Launch price: £599.99 (est.), $649

Adjusted launch price: £1155.99

Units sold: 1 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £10,601

The Neo-Geo was an infamously expensive box. The console cost a bomb, and so did the games. But it had a reason - the Neo-Geo played arcade games - many Street Fighter-style one-on-one fighting games, a few platformers and so on. Favourites include the Metal Slug and ultra long-standing King of Fighters games.

Console price 7Nintendo Super Nintendo (1990)

Launch price: £149.99, $199.99

Adjusted launch price: £289.99

Units sold: 49 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £10,601

Many of you probably have fond memories of this console. It introduced millions to Mario and to Zelda, starting love affairs that would last a lifetime, and cause many heated pub discussions about whether game X is better than game Y. And all for just £289 in today's money.

Console price 12Philips CD-I (1991)

Launch price: £649.99, $699.99

Adjusted launch price: £1181.99

Units sold: 0.5 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £11,417

The 90s saw several high-profile game console flops, as tech companies tried, and failed, to enter the gaming market. The CD-based Philips CD-i was among the first. It 'pioneered' video-heavy gaming with titles like Burn: Cycle and Dragon's Lair. Pity no-one bought the thing - in part because it was horrendously expensive.

Console price 10Panasonic 3DO (1993)

Launch price: £549.99 (est.), $599.99

Adjusted launch price: £948.99

Units sold: 2 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £12,447

Only marginally more successful than the Philips CD-i, the 3DO was Panasonic's attempt at jumping on the games bandwagon. 3DO was actually a separate company, which led to multiple names making systems based on the 3DO design. Panasonic's was the most popular, but Goldstar (LG) also produced a box. Neither sold particularly well. The price didn't help.

Console price 16Atari Jaguar (1993)

Launch price: £249.99 (est.), $249.99

Adjusted launch price: £431.99

Units sold: 0.2 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £12,447

Seen by some as the console that killed Atari as a big name in gaming, the Atari Jaguar is one of gaming's most notorious flops. It was pitched as the first '64-bit console' but it had few good games, and a bunch of stinkers. For every terrifying Alien vs Predator, there were three terrifyingly bad Kasumi Ninjas. Atari also produced a CD module for the console, which made the system look like a toilet.

Console price 6Sega Saturn (1994)

Launch price: £349.99, $399.99

Adjusted launch price: £589.99

Units sold: 9.5 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £12,900

It may have sold ten million, but put the Sega Saturn's performance up against the PlayStation's and you can only conclude it was a terrible flop. The Saturn vs PlayStation launch was one of the most hyped in gaming history. But in the end there was no competition - not helped by the Saturn's price - $100 more than the PlayStation. D'oh.

Console price 5Sony PlayStation (1994)

Launch price: £299.99, $299.99

Adjusted launch price: £505.99

Units sold: 102 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £12,900

Sony's first console was the PlayStation. At the time, people debated whether Sony had what it took to go up against Nintendo and Sega. How times have changed. More than 2,000 games were made for the system.

Nintendo 64 (1996)

Console price 1

Launch price: £249.99*, $199.99

Adjusted launch price: £397.99

Units sold: 33 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £13,777

Nintendo - ever the stick-in-the-mud. After the PlayStation proved disc-based gaming was the future - discs were far cheaper to produce than cartridges - Nintendo stuck to its guns with the Nintendo 64. It used good old carts, which only provided 10 per cent the capacity of a CD. Still, the system had some cracking titles including Super Mario 64, Goldeneye and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

*Included 3 games

Console price 13Sega Dreamcast (1998)

Launch price: £199.99, $199.99

Adjusted launch price: £299.99

Units sold: 11 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £15,098

Sega's second CD-era attempt at a console didn't do much better than the first. Despite being reasonably-priced and having a fairly strong line-up of fan-favourite games, the Dreamcast simply couldn't compete with the PlayStation 2, which was released two years down the line. The system remains a cult favourite, though.

Console price 4Sony PlayStation 2 (2000)

Launch price: £299.99, $299.99

Adjusted launch price: £427.99

Units sold: 155 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £16,545

The PlayStation 2 is the best-selling home games console of all time. Almost 4,000 games were released for the system, and it's responsible for the mainstream-ification of gaming in general. It was only discontinued worldwide in early 2013, nearly 13 years after its original launch.

Console price 14Nintendo Gamecube (2001)

Launch price: £129.99, $200

Adjusted launch price: £179.99

Units sold: 22 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £17,403

Still not keen on joining the CD gaming club fully, the Nintendo Gamecube used miniature 15cm game discs, letting it attain its cute, boxy shape. It's one of Nintendo's less successful consoles, selling fewer boxes than either of its big rivals. But it's remembered fondly.

MicConsole price 8rosoft Xbox (2001)

Launch price: £299.99, $299.99

Adjusted launch price: £420.99

Units sold: 24 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £17,403

Microsoft entered the games console market in 2001 with the Xbox. Although people poked fun at it for being a PC in a big ugly box, it formed the main console rivalry we have today - Sony vs Microsoft, PlayStation vs Xbox. Its crucial launch title was, of course Halo: Combat Evolved, which has become modern console gaming equivalent of a Mario/Sonic the Hedgehog mascot.

Console price 9Microsoft Xbox 360 (non-core) (2005)

Launch price: £279.99, $399

Adjusted launch price: £354.99,

Units sold: 77 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £20,215

Released just four years after the original Xbox, the Xbox 360 has had a much, much longer life than its predecessor. It's had to wade its way through a number of failures - its support for the aborted HD-DVD format (via an accessory) and the Red Ring of Death scandal, but it has proved a huge success.

Sony PS3Sony PlayStation 3 (2006)

Launch price: £425, $499

Adjusted launch price: £519.99

Units sold: 77 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £21,164

Sony started getting cocky with the PS3. It had sold over 250 million consoles, so you can't blame 'em really. The PS3 launched at a significantly higher price than the Xbox 360, but that hasn't stopped it selling almost exactly as well as the Xbox 360.

Nintendo WiiNintendo Wii (2006)

Launch price: £179, $249.99

Adjusted launch price: £219.99

Units sold: 99 million

Average annual UK wage at time: £21,164

Will the Wii be remembered as Nintendo's last smash-hit console? It brought us motion gaming, it didn't cost a bomb and it had all of Nintendo's classic francises. With the Wii U tanking, it looks like we won't see the likes of the Wii again.

Xbox One and PS4 (2013)

The Xbox One and Playstation 4 will hit stores before Christmas. When you look at the pricing of these next-gen consoles compared to some of the classics we've been looking at things look quite rosy for gamers. The Xbox One will be priced at £429, in real terms not far off the original Xbox released in 2001. The PS4, on the other hand, will retail at £349, significantly cheaper in real terms than all its predecessors.

Next, read our comparison of the Xbox One and PS4

itsallgonepearshaped

June 21, 2013, 11:39 am

Good article, but where's the conclusion? Other than the PS3, there's a downward trend in pricing evident. Considering the 2 next gen boxes are actually x86 based and pretty much PC's in a smaller box, it seems strange that the prices are going back up as a result.

Evan

June 21, 2013, 11:49 am

The ending paragraph went walkabout but we've added it now. Not sure if the price hike is just based on the architecture. When you consider the Xbox One will come bundled with Kinect it makes sense that it will be £90 more expensive than the Xbox 360. The PS4 on the other hand looks to be the best value Playstation ever released.

pimlicosound

June 21, 2013, 12:21 pm

Why are prices creeping back up in real terms? Perhaps because console manufacturers have to do a lot more nowadays. It used to be that they could just design, make and market a box. Now they need to also design, make, market and run reliable web services and software ecosystems on a massive scale. They also run vastly bigger marketing campaigns, distribution chains and content licensing operations. That all costs a lot of money, and the cost is passed on to customers partly through the purchase price of the system.

pimlicosound

June 21, 2013, 12:22 pm

A useful article. Thanks, TR. It puts the prices of the XB1 and PS4 into context.

meh

June 21, 2013, 2:51 pm

Might as well add the Wii U to the list- you have everything else...

Timber_Wolf

June 22, 2013, 4:22 pm

"We digged back". Really?!?!

Pg

June 24, 2013, 12:31 pm

Yeah, I was wondering why the Wii U isn't on this list. But I guess it shows exactly where it's headed....everyone has forgotten about it now that the next PS and Xbox consoles are in full hype mode.

Alex Walsh

June 24, 2013, 2:09 pm

As interestingly, if you inflation adjust the price of Megadrive/SNES games (£35 a pop), you're looking at around £73 in today's money.

The console itself might be the big initial investment, but by the time you've got a library of games, you'll have comfortably outspent your initial outlay.

Every generation they try to put up the RRP of the games to £50/£60, every generation the punters refuse to accept the rise.

Waylander

June 24, 2013, 3:47 pm

Im not convinced by your inflation figures, As average wage is not directly linked with the value of money.
Provide actual basis of your inflation of values for this article to make any real monetary sense,

Kevin Muldoon

June 25, 2013, 5:05 am

Good article?? Seriously, you all thought that this was a good article?

I have read Trusted Reviews for years, but I am continually being disappointed by the sub-standard articles you are publishing nowadays. I am not sure whether to blame the author who wrote the article or the editor at TrustedReviews that approved it.

The actual premise of this article is a good one, and it would have been a good read had it not been so poorly executed. Could future articles about games be written by someone who has actually played a console?

Where do I start?

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You have used used the Japanese launch dates for most of the consoles. For example, The Nintendo Entertainment System (was) was not realeased in 1983. Anyone who grew up in the UK at that time would have known that. It was not even released nationwide in the United States and the UK until 1986.

Also, you contradicted yourself by saying "gaming wasn't the gigantic industry it is now, the NES sold almost as many units as today's consoles." The gaming industry was huge back then too. The NES sold 62 million consoles. That's more than twice the amount the original Xbox sold.

From a profit point of view, I would hazard a guess that their profits were much higher. The cost of developing 8-bit games is much less than multi-million dollar productions today like Call of Duty...yet the games sold for around £40 in the UK (I imagine that's around £70-£80 in today's terms).

Super Mario Bros 3 was a phenonemon. It sold over 18 million copies...and it wasn't even the best selling NES game. 18 million is more copies than any game released on the PS1, PS2, PS3 or Xbox and unbundled Xbox 360 game. Kinect Adventures on the 360 got 24 million copies but that was bundled so it should be considered in the same light as the 81 million Wii Sports sold.

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What is going on with the Super Nes listing? Was this written by someone who has never picked up a controller?

"It introduced millions to Mario and to Zelda, starting love affairs that would last a lifetime, and cause many heated pub discussions about whether game X is better than game Y.

Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/... "

Actually, no, it didn't introduce millions to Mario and Zelda. The NES did (or if you want to be more specific, Donkey Kong introduced him when he appeared as "Jumpman").

I'm sorry, but people didn't sit in heated pubs talking about "whether game X is better than game Y". If you are going to talk about a hypothetical pub argument, at least take the time to search for "SNES" on Wikipedia and find related SNES games to mention e.g. Mortal Kombat vs Street Fighter, Zelda vs Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World vs Donkey Kong Country etc.

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Where's the SEGA master system? That was the best selling console in Europe at one point. Strange you omitted it when it was outselling most other consoles in the late 80s.

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Where's the Atari 7800?

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The Sega Mega Drive was released in 1990 in the UK, not 1988...a few weeks before Christmas (I know because my brother got one that Christmas).

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Why the reference to Turbografx 16? That console was not released in Europe though every gaming magazine had listings of imports for gamers to buy it from Japan - where it was called the PC Engine. Therefore if anyone had that console in the UK, it was undoubtedly the PC Engine they had, not the Turbografx 16 version.

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With the Sega Saturn listing, why are you talking about a $100 difference in price with the PlayStation when all prices are in UK Pounds?

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I disagree that Nintendo 64 was being a stick-in-the-mud by using cartridges. Piracy was rife on the Sega saturn, sega Dreamcast and PS1. Not to mention these three systems had terrible loading times. Also, the N64 had a CPU with a clockspeed about 3 times as quick as the PS1. Not that any of these specs matter. It all comes down to the games library :)

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"Sony started getting cocky with the PS3. It had sold over 250 million consoles, so you can't blame 'em really. The PS3 launched at a significantly higher price than the Xbox 360, but that hasn't stopped it selling almost exactly as well as the Xbox 360."

It wasn't an issue of being cocky with their pricing. The Sony PS3 had a blu-ray drive. At the time, standard blu-ray players cost twice as much as the PS3 itself. Sony sold every PS3 console at a loss because of that.

It's a shame that it is only now that game developers are getting the most from this additional memory and showing what the PS3 can really do.

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Granted the early sales of Wii U have been poor, though I think it is too early too write it off. Nintendo have enough cash reserves to develop consoles and games for 15-20 years and lose money every time. They have yet to drop the price of the system or release their premium titles so I am sure it will sell. I am going to buy one when the price drops so that I can get access to games like Mario, Zelda, Mario Kart etc.

Not saying it's going to beat the Xbox One or PS4, though you'd be wrong to write off the Wii U as it's a great console for playing games with friends. People wrote off the 3DS and that is selling like crazy now.

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I am not usually one to be so critical though I am tired of reading these poorly researched articles. If you are going to rush all your articles in this fashion, it won't be long until you join other content farms such as The Daily Mail. Every one of their articles contain errors and inaccurate details - is that the direction you want TrustedReviews to go?

Nothing personal against the original author, however this whole article was littered with inaccurate facts. Loyal readers deserve more. If you want to make TR as popular as it was before, you need to start looking at the quality of articles rather than rushing articles like this out.

Kevin

Alex Walsh

August 13, 2013, 11:09 am

The Turbografx 16 did get a PAL release, I've got one. It was released in 1990 IIRC. Irritatingly it didn't come with a "connectivity kit"- you didn't get a PSU or AV cable with the core console. Bonkers!

Kevin Muldoon

August 13, 2013, 1:56 pm

Wow. I never knew that. All the magazines I bought in the 90s advertised the PC Engine and I don't recall there ever being a PAL release.

Would love to know more about this. Do you still have it. I'd love to see a photos of it.

Alex Walsh

August 13, 2013, 2:29 pm

Hi Kevin, I've still got it- in fact I only bought it 5 or 6 years ago new. Amazon found 50 or so of them in the back of a warehouse somewhere and sold them off. I always wanted a PC Engine back in the day, so snapped one up. Looking in to it, they were distributed over here without the 16 suffix, just as the Turbografx.

The accessory pack, sold separately, had the PSU and AV cable, which is mad, since Amazon didn't have any of those in stock. Confused the hell out of me when it turned up in the post I can tell you! Hopefully the images will show properly...

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