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There's a new list of all the major consoles released throughout the years with a breakdown of how much they're worth based on what they cost back when they first released and adjusting for inflation. And the most expensive game console is one you probably forgot about.
IGN did a listed breakdown of each of the consoles, and while the adjusted inflation for consoles like the Atari 2600 sees the original 1977 $199 price tag escalating to $790 for a 2016 price, it was the Panasonic 3DO that took the top spot, originally releasing in 1993 for $699 but adjusted for inflation in 2016 for $1,165.10.
The 3DO back in the 1990s was a little like what the PS3 was back in the mid-aughts when it introduced Blu-ray to the mass market. The 3DO was the first high-end CD-based game console with FMV playback featured in both games and movies, and even gave users the option to purchase and watch television shows and other media on it. The 3DO also introduced gamers to one of the 1990's most famed animals with an attitude, Gex.
The 3DO was followed closely by the Neo-Geo, which launched in the early 1990s for $649 and is adjusted for inflation in 2016 to $1,147.68. Pretty crazy, right?
Technically the inflation adjustment is looking at raw numbers inflated for the consumer dollar value over the course of the past 20 years and not an accurate value of the hardware itself. For instance, the N64 released in 1996 to the tune of $199 and the chart shows that its adjusted price of inflation would be $305.48. The truth of the matter is that you can run N64 equivalent tech these days for less than $10.
You can buy a Raspberry Pi for $9.99, hook it up to your TV via HDMI and plug in hard drive or SD card with an OS on it and run an N64 emulator and play the games with no problems.
The reality is that, while the dollar value of those prices may have changed over time, technology has changed as well. Technology doesn't exist in stasis; every new piece of tech eventually begins to have diminished monetary returns the longer its on the market due to newer, more powerful, more stable forms of that tech being created just about every six months.
It's the reason why the GameCube launching in 2001 at $199 -- and being adjusted for inflation to $270.64 -- is kind of moot considering that you can play Wii, GameCube and other Nintendo games via the Dolphin on a Ouya for $99, which was the Ouya's launch price back when it released in 2013.
Comparing game consoles and their prices based on what they were priced at when they launched to what they're worth in the current year and adjusted for inflation is always fascinatingm but not entirely accurate to the way tech and pricing works.
Heck, when the chart is updated again a decade from now they'll likely have the PS3 -- which launched at the astronomical $599 back in 2006 -- at around $1,500. Then again, the 3DO will be even higher yet, despite the fact that you'll likely have people playing 3DO games on emulators via a holographic smart ring a decade from now.