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Gaming Over the Years

Last week, I saw this image floating around the internet.


If it holds any truth, then I find it interesting how much the cost of a gaming console has fluctuated. At first I was shocked at how expensive the archaic Atari 2600 was. Then it occurred to me that it's because it is the forefather of all consoles. Like any new cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology, it will come with a premium price. (Can anyone say Google Glass?)

I have always been a fan of video games but was never a big console person. Not because I don't like them, but because we couldn't afford them growing up. I got a NES when I was 5 and later a SNES. Looking back on my childhood, I sorely regret begging, whining, negotiating…anything in my power for my parents to buy us a gaming system. At the time, I didn't realize just how expensive they are. My parents busted their butts at low paying jobs to provide food and a small apartment for my two brothers and I. And they still got us a multi-hundred dollar Nintendo system. This is not even accounting for the cost of the games! If I remember correctly, they were $50 each, the same price as it is today making today's games actually cheaper after inflation. I was a lucky kid and I didn't even know it. Today, my wife and I both bring in decent income and if I'm going to spend $400 on anything, it better be mission critical.

But I digress…

So although games are cheaper today, they are making up for it in volume. You can't borrow game cartridges from your friends like you used to. Today each person has to purchase their own copy and the ever growing popularity of online gameplay only reinforces that. Considering the console makers are releasing new consoles at roughly the same clip as the first generations, they obviously will be making their money off the games. Did I mention Grand Theft Auto 5 sold a record $800 million…in its FIRST DAY?

It'll be interesting to see where the gaming industry goes from here. Now games are not just played with your controller and thumbs (or feet). The Wii introduced controller-based motion sensor and the Xbox Kinect took it a step further by sensing your entire body. Maybe the next progression will take the games off a flat surface and be fully immersive with this. There's really no way of knowing but I can guarantee you video games will continue to push boundaries for many generations to come.

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