How much classic consoles would cost in today's dollars

By on December 18, 2013, 11:45 AM

Remember back when game consoles started at a $200 price point? Unless you were born prior to 1995 you probably don't, but there was a time when $200 would grant you access to the most popular of Nintendo's consoles. In the modern age we aren't so lucky, and you'll have to drop at least $400 if you want to get your hands on the latest creation from Sony. But we can't exactly blame developers for this hike in price, a lot of it has to do with inflation. Thanks to a nifty Infographic, created by Reddit-user Auir2blaze, we are getting a glimpse at just how bad modern price fluctuations would have affected retro consoles, had they released today.

Maybe we can blame developers a little bit. After all, Nintendo managed to keep their price points relatively low, just look at the Nintendo 64, Gamecube, and Wii. The Sega Dreamcast is also a clear winner here, and a highly under-rated system in my opinion. What is perhaps most shocking are the prices for the original in-home consoles (Atari 2600, Intellivision) as well as the NeoGeo and the 3DO. When you sit back and look at some of these consoles, Nintendo excluded, I guess Sony and Microsoft aren't that far off the mark with their newest systems.




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1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wow...an Intellivision would be almost $1,000?? I had one of those and played the hell out of it for years. Can't remember it being excessively expensive for the time, though.

Guest said:

It probably wasn't. Due to stagflagtion, standards of living have gone down since then.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Wow, this is an interesting article, I remember many of these consoles being a 90's kid. Plus since im a collector, I have almost every one of these consoles (I dont have a Neo Geo sadly yet :P)

treetops treetops said:

Hu ray for common sense ! I wonder how the games would compare, SNES games were like 60$ in the 90s

Guest said:

I had an Atari 2600 with a bunch of gaming cartridges. It was a lot of fun, all my friends would hang out at my house and play. I even had the BASIC cartridge and got into my first programing (more like math stuff). A few years later I discovered I had around $1000 (purchase price) worth of Atari games that nobody wanted. This is when I realized the value of computer (Commodore/PC) gaming vs Consoles. With a computer I could play games and do so much more and I have not purchased a console since.

Polaco Polaco said:

Wow...an Intellivision would be almost $1,000?? I had one of those and played the hell out of it for years. Can't remember it being excessively expensive for the time, though.

maybe you are more poor now?

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

I still own the Coleco Vision Console. I also own two Coleco Adam Family Computer System. One stand alone and other is Module #3 insert. That makes turns the Coleco Vision into a Super Game System. Instead of Carts you would use 250K High Speed Data on Cassettes. Playing games like Super Donkey Kong, Super Donkey Kong Jr., Super Zaxxon, Dragon Slyer. I am sure the entire Modules like Turbo with the steering wheel is worth a lot more. Module #1 was to play all Atari and Action Games.

NuguPabo NuguPabo said:

Where's the Atari 5200? I owned it and a lot of games; my first system and I still miss it and the games. Then I had the NES and after that a Korean Comboy NES that has about 40 old arcade games per cartridge. Still have that one and still play the games (Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Pac Man, etc..

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pretty much backs up what I thought... that the Dreamcast was one of the best consoles ever in terms of both pricing and quality of games!

MrAnderson said:

This is fun to play with numbers, but you also should show the price adjusted back down for manufacturing of the technology and parts given the day.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Wow...an Intellivision would be almost $1,000?? I had one of those and played the hell out of it for years. Can't remember it being excessively expensive for the time, though.

I still have mine and in mint condition in one of my cupboards along with a good few game cartridges. Like you, I don't remember it being close to the $300 mark. I bought mine brand new in the 80's for about $150 which was a lot of moolah at the time. Of course I'm loosely converting our ZAR to your USD which was worth more than the USD back then so that probably accounts for the discrepancy.

Emexrulsier said:

To be honest those prices are absolute bs. I owned many items off that list but ones that stand out are the Atari 2600 and the 3DO (wing commander owner pc and play station versions), and I am telling you now I never paid near that amount and we got them on release. I probs paid around £80 for the Atari and about £250 for the 3DO fair enough that's $131 and $406 (based on todays exchange) which is a little closer to the stated prices but back then (as we still do now for some stuff) UK prices were around double state side price. So for example something that costs $200 in America you would see in this country for £200 which now is about $327 but back then prices were roughly double so $400. To better relate this to modern prices in the US an xbox one costs $499.99 in the UK they retail for £429.99 that's $702 annoying then the actual xbox is made in China which for some is closer to the UK then it is the US

spencer spencer said:

We can all thank the FED RESERVE.

Guest said:

Would love to see a price inflation version of a PC or Mac. In NZ in the 90's I recall paying around $3,000 for a 386. I would shudder to think how much the price would be if inflated.:eek:

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

But is is worth anything today the 386SX or 386DX. To me the Colecovision and Coleco Adam are worth more than they were back in the early 80s.

Jorrie Jorrie said:

Here in South africa they still sell the old Nintendo's console for R120. That is +- 12$ brand new. Believe it or not a lot of people still buy them.

Guest said:

A lot of these costs are wrong. How could anyone mess up PS3's 599 USD price point? I don't think the Gamecube costed 200 either but idk.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Remember back when game consoles started at a $200 price point? Unless you were born prior to 1995 you probably don't, but there was a time when $200 would grant you access to the most popular of Nintendo's consoles. In...

Pardon me saying so, but this whole premise is absurd. I had an Atari 1200XL, I also had a floppy disc drive for it, and the list price of that was $400.00. If you could find a floppy today, it would be in the neighborhood of $5.95.

So comparing prices, with respect to 1990's money to 2013 money is sure spectacular, but so desperately in need of a reality check, it's not funny.

They tried to bring the Atari 2600 back a few years ago, and it was about 70 bucks.

Comparing price to performance, and working backwards in time, today's 55" LED TV, would be worth maybe $20.000, not 20 years ago.

(And I know this because I was in Best Buy's showroom looking at a Pioneer flat screen plasma set, with a $10,000 sticker price).

Newegg was selling a 46" Westinghouse LED TV at the beginning of "Black Friday", for $299.99 w/ free shipping. The 17 year old, 26" GE CRT I keep as a souvenir, set me back $280.00 on sale!

The only arena you can get more than your money's worth today, is in electronics. Would you rather spend $100.00 for some crap pair of basketball sneakers, or go home with a dynamite motherboard?

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

My friend had the Sega Master System and I liked it more than Nintendo at the time. The best console I never owned.

How come some of the controllers are missing?

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Pardon me saying so, but this whole premise is absurd. I had an Atari 1200XL, I also had a floppy disc drive for it, and the list price of that was $400.00. If you could find a floppy today, it would be in the neighborhood of $5.95.

So comparing prices, with respect to 1990's money to 2013 money is sure spectacular, but so desperately in need of a reality check, it's not funny.

They tried to bring the Atari 2600 back a few years ago, and it was about 70 bucks.

Comparing price to performance, and working backwards in time, today's 55" LED TV, would be worth maybe $20.000, not 20 years ago.

(And I know this because I was in Best Buy's showroom looking at a Pioneer flat screen plasma set, with a $10,000 sticker price).

Newegg was selling a 46" Westinghouse LED TV at the beginning of "Black Friday", for $299.99 w/ free shipping. The 17 year old, 26" GE CRT I keep as a souvenir, set me back $280.00 on sale!

The only arena you can get more than your money's worth today, is in electronics. Would you rather spend $100.00 for some crap pair of basketball sneakers, or go home with a dynamite motherboard?

I have a box of Maxell 1.44MB HD still in it's wrapper. I have closet full of 1.2MB HD 5.25 diskettes. Wonder if they're still worth anything. How about old Fisher 8-track deck or Bell and Howell Color Super 8mm Video Camera. I have to look in the attic to see what else might worth a lot.

I had until 2011 Panasonic 36-inch CRT couldn't get rid of it no one wanted it still worked. Cost me $1K back in 1999 New. It takes 2 guys to lift though.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I...[ ]....I had until 2011 Panasonic 36-inch CRT couldn't get rid of it no one wanted it still worked. Cost me $1K back in 1999 New. It takes 2 guys to lift though.
Like I said earlier, this whole thread is based on pure silliness. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop", and methinks he must have typed this himself. You can't work backwards in a simple, "today's money vs. yesterday's money" equation. The performance of today's electronics is exponentially superior to the "ancient" machines and formats. In 1993, a super VHS video cassette recorder, was about $600.00. At the point where standalone DVD recorders became affordable, retailers started selling off VCRs at as low as $40.00!

In any event, I have quite a few working relics laying around.(mostly worthless). A vacuum tube audio signal generator by RCA. (From when RCA was built in America). A post war 16mm projector I rescued from the trash for decoration. (It reminded me of the projectors they had when I was attending elementary school). A Sony STR-v55 stereo receiver, circa 1980. (I think that was the first consumer model with a digital synthesis tuner, and LED numerical tuning display.

I'm keeping the 26" CRT TV, so that when I drop dead and the house gets looted, they'll be saying, "wow, that crazy old coot had a working picture tube telly".

Does anybody here remember how utterly atrocious the picture was on a 480i projector TV. We all know how stunning an LED set of the same size looks today, and at about 1/3 the cost.

My P-4 eMachines system cost me $600.00 in 1995. Today, for that same 6 bills, you'd get at least an i5 quad. Throughput would be a multiple of about 10 times the eMachine's. If you turn this thread inside out, and transported an i5 desktop back to 1995, it might cost 10 times what the eMachines did.

I think being a collector willing to pay ridiculous prices for an ancient item, is more or less synonymous with having, "more money than brains". But, with that said, if you had the foresight to buy the first Barbie dolls and leave the cellophane on them, you'll make a killing off the first, "a fool and his money will soon part company", sucker, you find to foist them off on. Likely as good a return as Apple stock bought at its first IPO.

gunste24 said:

Now do the same for PCs. I bought my first IBM knockoff, a Columbia for about $1000-1200 In 1983.

Now, 30 year later an equivalent box will be not too far off, though a great deal more powerful and versatile.

gunste24 said:

But you failed to factor in inflation of 30 years. Also compare the prices to today's median wage.\In that time housing prices went up by a factor of 4, health care at least that much, and a college education by 5X.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

But you failed to factor in inflation of 30 years. Also compare the prices to today's median wage.\In that time housing prices went up by a factor of 4, health care at least that much, and a college education by 5X.
College tuition, home values, the price of gasoline, et al, have absolutely nothing to do with the price of a desktop computer. If we use your yardstick, (and keep in mind the average smart phone has bigger cajones than your ancient PC clone), a relative "equivalent performance" machine, might be a 200 buck refurb Dell "Optiplex", and that's a NEGATIVE inflation approaching 10 times.

I mean really, if the same machine costs 1/5 as much, erstwhile the money has devalued to 1/5. Figure it out.

Shabbadeux Shabbadeux said:

Like I said earlier, this whole thread is based on pure silliness. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop", and methinks he must have typed this himself. You can't work backwards in a simple, "today's money vs. yesterday's money" equation. The performance of today's electronics is exponentially superior to the "ancient" machines and formats. In 1993, a super VHS video cassette recorder, was about $600.00. At the point where standalone DVD recorders became affordable, retailers started selling off VCRs at as low as $40.00!

......

I think being a collector willing to pay ridiculous prices for an ancient item, is more or less synonymous with having, "more money than brains". But, with that said, if you had the foresight to buy the first Barbie dolls and leave the cellophane on them, you'll make a killing off the first, "a fool and his money will soon part company", sucker, you find to foist them off on. Likely as good a return as Apple stock bought at its first IPO.

I think you're missing the point entirely. The dollar amounts aren't "How much are these systems worth today," or even "How much would they sell for if they were introduced today." Rather, "What was the relative cost of these systems when they were introduced, expressed in terms of today's dollars?"

Pick some commodity whose price has remained somewhat stable and whose relative value hasn't changed much... For the sake of argument, let's pick a McDonald's Big Mac. It cost about $1.25 in 1980, and probably about that in 1979 when the Intellivision was introduced at $300. So, when the Intellivision was introduced at $300, it cost about the same as 240 Big Macs. In 1979, you'd have to forego about 240 Big Macs to save up enough to buy an Intellivision at $300.

These days, Big Macs go for around $4 apiece, on average. So, 240 Big Macs would cost you $960 dollars.

That's it. That's the whole comparison. Does that mean an Intellivision is worth $960 right now? No! Absolutely not! Nobody's saying that or even _implying_ that.

The whole point of the comparison is to say "Man, folks back then spent almost $1000 (today's money) to buy an Intellivision? You sure can get a lot more for that money these days."

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I think you're missing the point entirely. The dollar amounts aren't "How much are these systems worth today," or even "How much would they sell for if they were introduced today." Rather, "What was the relative cost of these systems when they were introduced, expressed in terms of today's dollars?"

Pick some commodity whose price has remained somewhat stable and whose relative value hasn't changed much... For the sake of argument, let's pick a McDonald's Big Mac. It cost about $1.25 in 1980, and probably about that in 1979 when the Intellivision was introduced at $300. So, when the Intellivision was introduced at $300, it cost about the same as 240 Big Macs. In 1979, you'd have to forego about 240 Big Macs to save up enough to buy an Intellivision at $300.

These days, Big Macs go for around $4 apiece, on average. So, 240 Big Macs would cost you $960 dollars.

That's it. That's the whole comparison. Does that mean an Intellivision is worth $960 right now? No! Absolutely not! Nobody's saying that or even _implying_ that.

The whole point of the comparison is to say "Man, folks back then spent almost $1000 (today's money) to buy an Intellivision? You sure can get a lot more for that money these days."

And I think you're missing the bigger picture.

The escalating quality and capability of today's electronics product, combined with it's plummeting price relative to the rest of consumer durable goods, renders the whole concept pretty much null and void. You do have to take into account that there are articles here at Techspot which are basically filler. Then too there are other articles barely related to technology which get most of the contention paid to them.

But, you go get 'em tiger, it's fashionable for any and every noob to dispute my postings, even if they have to dredge then up from 4 months ago.. I think it's some sort of right of passage

Now, why don't you run along and try to figure out how much ENIAC would cost today, and how that room and a half full of vacuum tubes, compares with a full out Core i7 rig of today. Never mind, Wiki has done that for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC

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