We’re almost into July and the holiday season of 2013 is just edging closer, along with the launch of next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The big $100 gap between the $399 PlayStation 4 and $499 Xbox One has certainly sparked plenty of raised eyebrows and debates; since Sony’s offering is clearly cheaper AND apparently has slightly better hardware to power games, while the Xbox One comes with the Kinect camera (something gamers will have to shell out extra for with the PlayStation 4).
But how do these two consoles (and 2012’s Wii U) compare to the prices of the predecessors and ancient game consoles dating back to the 70’s? Tech publication Ars Technica has published their findings and conversion of original launch prices into figures in “2013 dollars”, and there are no surprises in here. The $399 PlayStation 4 is not only below the median price of $421.75 but also the cheapest PlayStation to date.
On the flip side of the coin, the $499 price of the Xbox One is above average and makes it the second-most expensive game console launched in this century – beating the PlayStation 2’s $300 launch price in 2000; $405 after inflation adjustment and beaten only by the PlayStation 3’s $600 launch price (which turns into a whopping $696 in today’s monetary terms).
They’ve also done a little homework on historical patterns of price drops after launch and have found that most successful consoles rarely drop below 80% of their original price in the first 24-36 months in the market (though there are exceptions, such as the original PlayStation 1 was both very successful and had its price cut fairly quickly).