Nintendo’s decision to price the Wii U at $300 (and $350 for a version with more storage) raised some alarm bells among price-conscious consumers, who noted that the Wii debuted at just $250 in 2006.
That made us wonder which console was the best bargain — and which was the worst bargain — in all of video game history at the time of launch. Fortunately for us, the folks at Statista like doing math. They calculated the launch prices for video game consoles throughout history, and then they adjusted the price for 2012 dollars based on inflation rates. And here are the results. The Neo Geo turns out to be the most ridiculously priced system at the time of its launch, coming out in 1990 at $650, which is $1,146 in today’s dollars. 3DO, which debuted in 1993, was close behind at the outlandish $699 price, or $1,114 in today’s dollars. The cheapest console was the Nintendo GameCube, priced at $199 (or $259 in today’s dollars) back in 2001.
Sure, we know that adding bigger storage and more accessories will make some of these systems priced below more expensive, but we’re measuring the base system cost.
By comparison, the Nintendo Wii U is coming out at $300 on Nov. 18. That price will make it the fifth most-reasonably priced console in video game history. Here’s a link to Statista’s research on game consoles.