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The Cost of Gaming

It seems like the prices of everything in gaming has been going up recently. The prices of consoles are reaching into the better part of one thousand dollars. Games are reaching well above sixty dollars, with the Legendary Edition of Halo 3 reportedly going for $100 dollars when it is released next year. So is this all madness? Are gamers being ripped off or are we getting more than our moneys worth for the consoles and games we love so much?

It has been become quite common, I know I have on numerous occasions, rip on Sony for pricing their console at $600 dollars or Microsoft for kicking off the $60 price point for current gen games. The thing is, if you take into consideration the amount of time that you spend playing a console or a specific game, it really isn't that bad. It's probably a really good deal.This argument probably doesn't relate to the game that you buy, play for a few days or even hours and then put down never to be played again. That game was not worth the money but could probably be attributed to the fact that you may have picked the wrong game. For instance, I purchased the Xbox 360 survival horror game Dead Rising. I may have played that game for a few days. It was fun but not enough to keep my attention. Is it Capcom's fault for making the game? Is it Microsoft's fault for pricing the game at $60? No, it's my fault for buying a game that was not for me and that I was not going to spend enough time with to make it worth my money.

This argument is more relative to games like Halo 2, Madden, Gears of War, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid and other titles that have both compelling gameplay and high replay value. Games like these are more than worth the asking price at release, not to mention the fact that they can be had much cheaper a few months after release. I know that these games are cream of the crop but this does apply to games that aren't great but are able to be played for a long while. For reference, because I did the math, I payed $60 dollars for Halo 2 and have played somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 games (For anyone who looks up my stats on Bungie, this is both pre and post the stats being reset). That means that for each game that I have played online I have payed 1.2 cents. I know that is extreme so let's take a season of Madden NFL 07. You have the preseason games. There are four of them for each team. Then there is a 16 game season. Let's assume you make the playoffs but are not a top seed (thus you do not receive a bye in Round 1). You then have 3 playoff games including the Super Bowl. That is 23 games at about an hour a piece if you keep the game at the standard 5:00 per quarter setting. Then you include the offseason modes, which can easily top 2 hours, and you have more than a full days worth of gaming. So are we saying that Madden is not worth $2 dollars, assuming a $50 MSRP since the PlayStation 2 version was the most popular this year? I find that hard to believe.

You can apply similar thinking to the price of the consoles. You can think in broad terms and say that, if bought at launch, a console is usually around for 5 years. So an Xbox 360 will run you $80 per year, a Wii will cost you $50 per year and a PlayStation 3 will cost you $120 per year. If taken into consideration the amount of hours that a "hardcore" gamer is said to play each week, 10 hours, and then extrapolate that over five years, then even the PlayStation 3 only runs a hardcore gamer around 23 cents per hour played in it's lifetime (the Wii 10 cents and the Xbox 360 15 cents). I cannot believe that it is not worth less than a quarter per hour, better than parking in most any city, to play your console of choice.

So, while prices of consoles and games may seem excessive, and continue to seem so as prices inevitably rise, think of how much these items are being used (unlike the $20 DVD you bought that you've watched once) before saying that they are overpriced.

So do you think games are overpriced or are you OK with the pricing in the industry?

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MicroGamer3853d ago

I wait until games get old and then buy them used at Gamestop or EB Games when they have their buy 2 get 1 free sales. If I pick up some that suck, it doesn't matter because I haven't dropped $60 bucks on them to find that out.