It is a simple fact of economics that prices increase over time. This fact is especially prevalent in the video game industry where most consumers are feeling the weight of $60 games and $500 consoles. If you are on a budget or simply a cost conscious shopper, you may be trying to figure out what is the best way to indulge your video game habit without breaking the bank. Between the various consoles, computers, tablets, and hand held systems, it can be hard to determine what gives you the best bang for you buck. Keep reading for to compare and contrast the various choices.
If you have a preference for retro games, the Wii is clearly your best choice. You can currently buy a Wii for between $75 and $125, depending on whether you get it used. And you can buy the classic controller you will need to play many of those retro games for another $15 to $20. Retro classics cost $5 to $10 on the Wii Virtual Console and range from classic Commodore 64 games to relatively modern N64 games. Furthermore, used Wii and GameCube games can easily be found for $10 to $20, and even new versions of most Wii games have dropped in price to $40 or less. All told, you can easily own a new Wii with a classic controller, about 20 retro games, and 2 newer Wii games for roughly $360, or a dollar a day for a year.
If you prefer newer games and you are willing to sell games after you have finished them, either the PS3 or the Xbox 360 is your best choice. The former will cost about $200 used and about $250 new, while the latter will cost about $150 used and about $300 new, though both are very likely to have a price drop down to about $100 before the end of 2013. PS3 plays old PS1 discs and has a downloadable library of PS1 games and a few PS2 games. The Xbox 360 does basically the same with Xbox games. New games will cost $50 – $60 while older or used games will cost $20 – $40. But, if you are willing to sell these games on eBay or Craigslist, you can usually get back about half of what you paid for them. After the initial investment, you can spend roughly $30 a month, assuming you are reselling games, to play one new blockbuster a month.
If you prefer to own your games and don’t care about the best graphics or game play, you should either purchase a tablet or a handheld system. Tablets will cost you about $300 – $500 while handhelds will cost $150 – $200. The former is the better choice if you prefer online games or want to have a dual use system. It isn’t great for the pure gamer, but is probably a better choice for casual gamers. The latter is gamers on the go or gamers on a budget. Games tend to cost roughly $20 – $40, possibly even less used and have roughly the same resale value of console games. In total, you sacrifice some game play and graphics, but you will spend approximately half as much as you would on a PS3 or Xbox 360, both initially and over time for system and games.
Finally, if you prefer to forever own your games and want top rated games, a PC or laptop is your best bet. You can get a gaming worthy PC for about $500 – $1000. While the initial cost is very high, the system is dual use and has better long term support. More importantly, brand new games are cheaper on a PC. Many can be found for half the cost of a console game and if you are a little patient and wait for sales, especially from Steam, it is possible to get AAA games for as little as $10 – $15. Assuming you owned a console and kept all the new games you bought, the savings you will get for cheaper PC games should cover the difference in initial cost in about a year and a half.