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Monday, August 22, 2005

Putting Xbox 360's Price in Context

Putting Xbox 360's Price in Context

"How does the console match up to previous system launches?

After the announcement of the Xbox 360 pricing plan our reader response has been a fiery mix of anger, jubilation, and confusion. The total package which includes the hard drive will cost gamers $399.99 meaning that a typical holiday bundle including a second controller and a game will run about 500 dollars. The Core unit is $299.99 (the launch price of the first Xbox) but lacks the wireless controller, HD cables, and hard drive which will enable backwards compatibility.

There is no question that four hundred dollars is a good chunk of money, but how wide is the gap between this console launch and the price of previous gaming hardware? What follows is a list of previous consoles with their prices adjusted for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index. is kind enough to provide an array of inflation calculators including a separate calculator based on the Employment Cost Index which is based on employee wages and benefits.

As pointed out by Erik Brudvig, our guides editor and resident smart aleck, computer technology doesn't exactly follow the same rules of inflation as other products. This is due to the decreasing cost and increased capabilities of the guts of a machine. So while the value of the $650 smackers paid for a Neo Geo is an exorbitant amount of cash by today's standards, the actual hardware could now be produced for a tiny fraction of that cost." [more]

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