Would You Be Able to Afford an Atari in 2020 if Adjusted for Inflation?

There’s a running joke circulating that you shouldn’t buy a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X if your credit score is lower than the $499.99 price of each console. Ouch.

You’d need a near-perfect credit score to afford an Atari 2600 if the 1977 device, originally priced at $199.99, were adjusted for inflation. In 2020 U.S. dollars, the Atari would cost you $845.37. Both FICO and VantageScore top out at 850.

The median income in the U.S. at the time of the Atari’s release was $13,572. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $52,302 in 2019, meaning the Atari would cost about 1.6% of the annual income, or just over 42% of the biweekly paycheck, of someone earning the median income.

If you’re running out to get the latest system, you might also be concerned with the potential credit card debt you could put yourself in to level up (especially if you’re turning to the black market to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X). But you can pwn debt repayment with these ways to pay off credit card debt.

Looking at the adjusted price for the major gaming consoles dating back to the Atari, compared to the median income adjusted for inflation, here are several trends in the price of gaming consoles and the change in income levels over the last 43 years.

What’s the most affordable console?

Adjusted for inflation, the GameCube would be the most affordable console at $293.05 in 2020. The GameCube, which was $199.99 at the time of release in 2001, would be 12.46% of a biweekly paycheck of someone earning the median income, adjusted for inflation, that year.

Xbox vs. Xbox 360

The Xbox, Microsoft’s original gaming console released in 2001, and the Xbox 360, the subsequent version of the system released four years later, cost the same at the time of their release, but the Xbox 360 would be slightly cheaper than the Xbox in 2020.

The Xbox would be $439.58, or 18.7% of a biweekly paycheck of someone earning the 2001 median income, adjusted for inflation.

Meanwhile, the Xbox 360 would be $392.14, or 16.77% of a biweekly paycheck of someone earning the 2005 median income, adjusted for inflation.

Nintendo systems level up with downward trending prices

The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, aka the O.G. Nintendo, cost $199.99 at the time of release in 1985. Each Nintendo system up until the GameCube in 2001 cost $199.99 at the time of release. The Wii cost $50 more than the previous Nintendo systems at the time of release in 2006.

Nintendo’s systems would go down in price from the NES in 1985 at $479.07 to the GameCube in 2001 at $293.05 before going up with the Wii in 2006 at $322.57, adjusted for inflation.

Would you pay a quarter of your biweekly paycheck for a gaming system?

If you have a partner, you might not after spending a quarter of your biweekly paycheck on a gaming console.

Fortunately, there are only four systems that would cost more than 25% of a biweekly paycheck for the median income, with the price of each system adjusted for inflation: Atari 2600 ($845.37), Sega Saturn ($677.64), PlayStation 3 ($645.15), and XboxOne ($557.46).

Source: Credello


Categories: Video Games

Tags: Atari, Credit Card Debt, Debt, Gaming, Nintendo, Personal Finance, Playstation, Xbox

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