The Rising Cost of Console Gaming?

A lot of people complain about how expensive it is to be a gamer these days.  $300+ for a console, then 60 bucks a pop for games to actually use on your console and we’re not even going to get into DLC.  This rising cost of console gaming is not new; it’s been going on for years…or has it?  Today, we’re going to take a look at the cost of console gaming now versus the cost of console gaming “then.”  We’re actually going to adjust for inflation from each major console release, starting with the NES.  We’re only going to be looking at the price of the console itself today, but worry not, next up we’ll be looking at the cost of console games.  

I would like to say that all prices mentioned here are USD.  These prices are the MSRP of the console and does not include sale prices or second-party sellers.  Most of the data (prices and sales numbers) came from Wikipedia and the inflation calculator can be found here.

Sorry, PC gamers, we’re only looking at console prices.  PC costs are way too varying to really do this.  I considered undertaking that next, but there are just so many variables in buying a gaming rig.  Stick around though, you might find it interesting.

Console Launch Prices

Generations 3 and 4

NES Console
By Evan-Amos – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11408666

Generations 3 and 4 of gaming were big times for gamers.  These are the consoles that a large number of today’s gamers remember playing, but not necessarily buying, when they were young.  You wouldn’t believe all of the misinformation regarding prices that I had to wade through before getting all the correct information.  Here’s a look at the main consoles from the generations and what they cost then vs. what they would cost now.

Generation 4 is considered the true beginning of the “console war” between Nintendo and Sega (which morphed into the console war that we have going on now).  Generation 4 was also when the predecessor to the ESRB was created by Sega, the Videogame Rating Council.  This council was created due to the controversy of video game violence.  We’re looking at you Mortal Kombat.

Console NameNA Release YearNA Launch PriceInflation Rate2018 Cost
Nintendo Entertainment System1985$199.99129.1%$458.20
Sega Master System1986$199.99124.9%$449.84
Sega Genesis1989$189.9998.8%$377.72
Super Nintendo1991$199.9981.0%$361.98

Gaming consoles are in about that price range at launch now, so the price of gaming hasn’t actually changed that much, but let’s keep going through the generations.

Generation 5

Sega Saturn
By Evan-Amos – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17351664

The 5th generation of gaming ushered us into the world of 32-bit gaming and pushed into the beautiful world of 64-bit gaming.  Sony burst onto the console gaming scene with their first PlayStation system overpowering it’s predecessors and outselling it’s contemporaries.  CD-Roms were becoming the go-to for gaming consoles; they were cheaper to produce than the cartridges of old.  Nintendo still held on the old cartridges with the N64.  Of note this generation:  The Sega Saturn brought us online console gaming.

Console NameNA Release YearNA Launch PriceInflation Rate2018 Cost
Sega 32X1994$159.9966.3%$266.14
Sega Saturn1994$399.9966.3%$665.37
Sony Playstation1995$299.9961.8%$485.27
Nintendo 641996$199.9957.1%$314.23

The Sega Saturn was an outrageously priced console.  Why Sega decided on a $399.99 price point on launch is beyond me.  This ridiculous price point helped Sega continue down the road to complete annihilation in the console wars.  The Saturn only sold 9.26 million units.

Generation 6

PlayStation 2
By Evan-Amos – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12821919

128-bit gaming, here we come!  This is the last generation that the dying Sega released a console and the first appearance in the console wars for Microsoft.  Sega consoles went the way of the dodo after this generation.  Of note, the Sega Dreamcast sold only 9.13 million units and the top selling game on the PlayStation 2 (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) sold 20.81 million units by August 2013.  It’s truly a shame that Sega didn’t survive this generation.  I believe it would be a different world in gaming if they were still producing consoles.

The 6th generation of gaming brought us further into the world of online console gaming.  All 4 entries this generation had some online capabilities.

Console NameNA Release YearNA Launch PriceInflation Rate2018 Cost
Sega Dreamcast1999$199.9948.0%$295.93
Playstation 22000$299.9943.2%$429.47
Gamecube2001$199.9939.3%$278.54
Xbox2001$299.9939.3%$417.82

Generation 7

Sony PlayStation 3
By Evan-Amos – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50763779

With only 3 entries now, generation 7 made leaps and bounds in gaming.  We no longer talked about bits; graphics had reached the point where we looked at the system specs instead of just how many bits it claimed to offer.  Generation 7 went whole hog into online gaming and integrated the Xbox 360 and PS3 into our everyday lives, making it a home entertainment system instead of just a gaming console.

This wasn’t our first generation to offer a camera, or in Xbox 360’s case shove one down our throats for early adopters, but it was the first generation that they actually tried to fully integrate the camera into our gaming.  I say tried here, because they were overall unsuccessful.  Many of the Kinect and Move required games were just bad and the games that had optional Kinect or Move features seemed to have done it as an afterthought.

In the background of generation 7, there was a format war going on.  Microsoft sided with HD-DVD and Sony with Blu Ray.  We all know who won that war.

Console NameNA Release YearNA Launch PriceInflation Rate2018 Cost
Xbox 3602005$399.9926.2%$504.90
Playstation 32006$599.9922.3%$733.69
Wii2006$249.9922.3%$305.70

Generation 8

Microsoft Xbox One
By Evan-Amos – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31257131

Generation 8 ushered in yet another new era of gaming.  The subscription service required for online play.  PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold were not new this generation, but they are now required for online gameplay and in Xbox’s case for some other online services to function.  This generation also saw GameDVR added to the list of system capabilities.  And several years into generation 8, virtual reality has made another appearance.  Yes, another…some of us remember the Virtual Boy.  That is actually one of the main reasons that I’ve not jumped on the band wagon yet.  Also, no developer seems to have truly embraced the VR possibilities.  Some devs are taking a chance on it.  It’s yet to be seen if it will last this time.

Console NameNA Release YearNA Launch PriceInflation Rate2018 Cost
Wii U2012$299.998.0%$323.87
Playstation 42013$399.996.4%$425.59
Xbox One2013$499.996.4%$531.99

Noticeably missing from this chart is the recent Nintendo Switch.  This system doesn’t know if it wants to be a handheld gaming system or a console.  Nintendo itself calls it a hybrid system.  Though, for completion’s sake the console released in 2017 at an MSRP of $299.99 which at today’s cost would be $301.71.

What about the cost of console gaming?

GenerationConsole NameNA Release YearNA Launch Price2018 Cost
3/4Nintendo Entertainment System1985$199.99$458.20
5Sega Saturn1994$399.99$665.37
6Playstation 22000$299.99$429.27
7Playstation 32006$599.99$733.69
8Xbox One2013$499.99$529.11

This chart that shows only the most expensive console of each of the generations covered shows us that, with the obvious exceptions each generation, prices are pretty close to the same.  The Sega Saturn and PlayStation 3 are glaring exceptions, but the price of a brand new console at launch still sits around $400-$500.  Nintendo consistently undercuts the market.

The best selling console?  PlayStation 2 has sold 155 Million units!  The most expensive generation 6 console and it’s sold more than all the others.  That says something, I think.  The worst-selling one that we covered?  The Sega 32X.  This dud only sold 665 thousand units by the end of 1994, it’s launch year.  It was discontinued in 1996.

So the cost of console gaming isn’t as bad as we think it is; in fact, the prices aren’t really going up.  I have one more chart for you to look at.  It should prove interesting.

All wages here are US Federal Minimum Wage Rates. Individual states may have had higher wage rates.
GenerationMinimum wage during generationHours worked at minimum wage to buy console
3/41985-1990: $3.35
1991: $4.25
NES, Sega Master: 61.5 hours
Sega Genesis: 56.7 hours
Super Nintendo: 47 hours
51994 - 1995: $4.25
1996: $4.75
Sega 32X: 37.6 hours
Sega Saturn: 94.1 hours
Playstation: 70.6 hours
N64: 42.1 hours
6$5.15Sega Dreamcast: 38.8 hours
Playstation 2: 58.3 hours
Gamecube: 38.8 hours
Xbox: 58.3 hours
7$5.15Xbox 360: 77.7 hours
Playstation 3: 116.5 hours
Wii: 48.5 hours
8$7.25Wii U: 41.4 hours
Playstation 4: 55.2 hours
Xbox One: 69 hours
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Turmoil (PC)

Turmoil Start Screen
Turmoil Start Screen

In my days playing tycoon/management type games, I must admit that I’ve never been a rags-to-riches oil tycoon.  I’ve been a lemonade stand tycoon, a roller coaster tycoon, a zoo building tycoon, a drug tycoon and many more than I care to list.  Turmoil is definitely the first time I’ve been an oil tycoon.  This game was purchased as part of a Humble Bundle (More details about the current Humble Bundle can be found here.), Best of 2017 which is available until February 20th, 2018.

Turmoil Information

Mommy and Ninja RatingB
Available PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, iPad
Available FormatsDigital
Platform Reviewed onWindows (Steam)
GenreSimulation
DeveloperGamious
PublisherGamious
Release Date(s)June 2, 2016

Parent’s Information

Steam doesn’t require ESRB ratings to sell games, so this section won’t show you the ESRB or the PEGI ratings for the game.  So, I’ll have to rate it myself.

There’s nothing at all inappropriate here.  Unless the fact that there is a saloon in the game (at which no actual drinking occurs) is offensive to you, this is one of the least offensive games I’ve played in a long time.  Would I let the ninja play it?  Sure.  Can he play it?  He’s 6, so management games aren’t really his bag.  You don’t technically have to be able to read, but it would be helpful if playing campaign just so you know what people are saying to you.

There is no sexual content or nudity, no foul language, no drug/alcohol references (other than the presence of the saloon).  It’s pretty non-offensive.

Is it good?

That’s what everybody wants to know, isn’t it?  Well, it’s not bad.  Turmoil isn’t going to win and Game Of The Year awards (or rather didn’t), but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing.  There is something to be said for a game in the management/simulation genre that gives you a new experience…even if it is only in the subject matter.  Overall, the game offers the same basic fare as any other genre game.  A couple of buildings, a slew of upgrades…nothing too extraordinary here.  The simplicity is the beauty of this game.  It’s intended as a casual game and what you see is what you get.

Gameplay

It’s a management game.  It’s easy to understand and easy to play.  The buildings are self explanatory (oil rig, oil silo…easy) and the upgrades are easy to figure out just reading the title.  The game has two modes:  Campaign and Sandbox.  Campaign guides you through a competition between you and your 3 AI-controlled rivals.  Competition is a bit of a stretch of the word, but you do bid on land against them.  Mostly, the AI is dense when it comes to bidding.  They will have a bidding war with 16 pieces of land still left unused and drive their prices up for no reason.  It’s an interesting aspect.  During the campaign, you spend your money on upgrades between the levels and then bid on another piece of land.  The levels are not challenging and overall, the campaign is not particularly challenging either.

Turmoil is beautiful in it’s simplicity, but that’s a downfall as well.  The gameplay is too simplistic.  One campaign will be just like the others.  There will be no real risk of losing.

Shady deal offer at the saloon
Shady deal offer at the saloon

Graphics and Music

As mentioned, this is a management game.  Those of us who regularly play these games aren’t in it for top-notch graphics and you won’t get that here.  Nonetheless, Turmoil is visually appealing especially in this genre.  I love the art style here.  That said, the graphics won’t be pushing the limits of your graphics card (unless you’re running something akin to an old Commodore 64).  The user interface is clear, concise and, more importantly, easy to see and read.  It is not cluttered with nonsense.

The music is catchy.  I caught myself more than once dancing with the music as I played.

Replay Value

In a management game, this is important.  Am I going to come back and play it again or am I going to blow my money on a few hours of fun and delete it?  This is one of those games that is too casual.  I won’t delete it, but it won’t be at the top of my list to play again.  Turmoil would be a good game to play while you’re doing something else, like waiting on hold with tech support on the phone or listening to an audio file.  This is a game that I would play while I was “watching” one of the Ninjas shows on Netflix with him.  You know, I watch the show with my back eyes and play with my normal eyes…  Replay value here is medium at best.

Overall Mommy and Ninja RatingB
Overall Gameplay4/5
Story/Plot3/5
Sound, Dialogue/Voice Acting4/5
Graphics4/5
Controls5/5
Pros-Unique
-Procedurally generated Sandbox levels
-Simple
-Easy to understand/play
Cons-Not particularly interesting
-Too Simple
Bottom LineNot a bad game. Pick it up on sale.

Final Thoughts

At it’s regular price (currently $9.99 on Steam), I would not say this is a good purchase except for the biggest fans of the genre.  As part of a Humble Bundle or at a 50% or better discount, this is worth picking up for someone who casually enjoys casual sims.  I’m not disappointed, but I would have been upset if I’d paid full price.  It’s a decent time-waster.

Review - Turmoil (PC)
Review – Turmoil (PC)
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Review: Humble Monthly Subscription

Today, we’re going to take a look at something that the ninja and I just found out about a couple of months ago.  The Humble Monthly Subscription.  We’ve already been taking advantage of our Humble Monthly offerings.  Humble Monthly comes from the company that gives us the Humble Bundle.

What is Humble Monthly?

Have you ever heard of Loot Crate?  Nerd Block?  [Insert the name of ANY subscription box here]?  That’s what Humble Monthly is.  Sort of.  It’s essentially like all of the subscription boxes available, but for PC games.  Each month you are subscribed, you will receive about 8-10 games for a set price.  I say about 8-10 because it does vary from month-to-month.  All of the bundles that have been released so far have an MSRP of over $100.

That number sounds a little better than it truly is, but it’s still an awesome deal.  The numbers they use are the regular price of the game.  Anyone familiar with Steam (or Humble Bundle) will know that they can get some kick-butt deals on a large variety of games.  Still a rocking deal, though.  Plus, some of the proceeds from Humble Monthly goes to charity.  You’re getting a great deal and helping a charity.  Does it get any better?

Humble Monthly February 2018
Humble Monthly February 2018

How much does it cost?

Over $100 dollars in games each month?!?  It must be expensive, right?  Honestly, that’s what I thought when I saw a list of the games from one of the bundles a few months ago.  Upon investigation, the price is actually quite reasonable.  Only $12 per month.  So, for a measly $12 you get 8-10 games?  Yes.  There were 8 games month, so each game cost only $1.50 which is a steal.

There are currently 4 subscription options:  Monthly ($12/mo); 3-Months ($11.67/mo); 6-Months ($11.17/mo) and 12-Months ($11/mo).  With the 12-Month Subscription, you basically get 1 month free.  All subscriptions are recurring, but can be canceled at any time during the subscription period to avoid the recurring charge.  There is also an option to gift a monthly subscription to a friend.  You can choose to pay with a credit card or PayPal.

What do parents need to know?

Parents, are you kids asking you for the Humble Monthly subscription?  Or maybe your kids are gamers and this is something you think they would like.  If they’re PC gamers, they probably would like this.  Do note that not all games are child-appropriate.  There are M-Rated games included in some of the monthly bundles and there is no way to tell what’s in it beforehand.  If this is a problem, you should check out the Humble Bundles offered instead, which are usually really great limited-time deals.

What types of games are included?

All of them.  If it’s a type of game, it’s included.  Seriously.  They’ve had AAA titles; they’ve had indies.  There have been action, simulation, survival, puzzle, sports and strategy games.  Any kind of game you can imagine.  The Long Dark (our PS4 review here) was in January 2018’s monthly bundle; I was upset that I missed that one.  March’s early unlock game is Dark Souls III and the Ashes of Ariandel™ DLC.  Past games have included NBA 2k17, Tomb Raider, Life Is Strange, Civilization VI, Resident Evil 5, Elder Scrolls Online and Quake Champions and that’s just going back 6 or 7 months.

What platforms are available?

The only guarantee is that all games will be available on Steam.  Beyond that, they make no promises.  Some games are also available on macOS and Linux.

What else do I get?

Dang!  8 games for $12 isn’t enough for you?  Well, Humble Bundle has you covered.  Not only do you get the games each month, but you also receive 10% off games in the Humble Store.  Still not enough?  You also get access to The Humble Trove.  The Trove contains Humble Originals and more.  You can download as many of The Trove games as you would like.  They are all DRM-Free games available to download for anyone with an active subscription.  As of 8 February 2018 there are 46 games in The Trove.  Some of the games were in previous bundles, but if you weren’t a subscriber at that point…that’s 40+ more games you just got access to.

What’s the catch?

You have to subscribe before the bundle details are announced.  They tell you what the early unlock game is, but not the remaining games in the bundle.  That’s it.  There’s no other catch.  And what’s better is that when you cancel your subscription, you keep the games.  All of them.  Forever.  Unlike a PlayStation+ or XboxLive Gold subscription, where you lose access to any free games, you keep these even without an active subscription.

Is it worth it?

Your mileage will vary, but $12 is a steal for these bundles.  Dark Souls III, for example is still $59.99 and the aforementioned DLC is $14.99 as of today on Steam.  If you were thinking of getting Dark Souls III, now is the time to buy Humble Monthly!  You can’t beat that deal.  If you weren’t, but might like it…still worth the subscription price.  If Dark Souls III doesn’t interest you in the least, maybe wait until next month…or take the gamble and do it anyways!

Where do I sign up?

Well, there is a limited-time offer that could earn you (and me) an $8 credit to use in the Humble Store if you click this referral link and subscribe.  Simple as that.  If that wasn’t enough to get you to sign up, there is a discount for first-time subscribers, making the cost $10.80 for your first month.  Clicking that link will make your first month essentially cost you $2.80.

Humble Monthly Review
Humble Monthly Review
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