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Costs of gaming
Member Name: D1A1
Costs of gaming
Date: 18/04/01, updated on 18/04/01 (313 review reads)
Advantages: Blah, blah, blah - I've said enough!
Disadvantages: Read the opinion!
To make this less complicated, I'll divide my thoughts into sections - with each of the available and 'soon to be released' consoles having their own paragraph, with an arcade and PC section. So, if you're only really interested in one gaming device, then you can easily skip parts of the review! Ok then, here goes!
The Consoles (Now):
The Sony PlayStation:
Sony are an incredibly successful company and now lead the way in the world of home console gaming with their PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles being the highest selling of the lot. The PlayStation has been here for around 6 to 7 years now, and has seen massive price changes, and has had a whole new makeover! The PlayStation is currently being sold in it's slender 'A 3rd of the original size' form, complete with a dual shock pad for £79.99 in most games stores. Now you will be able to get a PSone with a couple of games or more for slightly more than this price, but it's not bad value considering how much it used to be! On release the PlayStation was £399.99, but rapidly came down in price - more than halving to £185.99 in 1997 quarter 1. The P
S isn't the latest piece of hardware anymore, and the games do look outdated next to the newest machines, but the console doubles as a CD player, has a vast catalogue of games - over 1000 possibly, and is very popular!
The games cost £29.99 new, but their are various ranges like the 'Platinum' range, the 'Classic' range and so on, with games at around £19.99 and £9.99 respectively. You can find some great deals on the slightly older games - for example, in HMV you can get 3 games for £20, but there are currently loads of offers like this so check out all the stores - offline shopping seems to be better for bargains at the moment! The PlayStation games used to cost £39.99 RRP, but this was lowered by 25% making the RRP of PS games pretty good value. If you've missed out on some classics like Gran Turismo 2 and Colin McRae 2 for around £15 or less now - both are great and at really good value too! If you want to get back into games like Tomb Raider then you'll be able to pick these up for next to nothing - £10 for any game is cheap.
2nd hand: You can get your PlayStation chipped and use back up/copied CD games, and that'll cost you hardly anything per game, but I'm set in my ways and am firmly against copying games, getting illegal software and ripping the games companies off because the price of PlayStation games isn't that much, and it's almost like stealing in a way. But hey a lot of people do it. But getting second hand, you can get one of the original - larger - PlayStations for around £50 and you'll get a few games with it too. I've found that the Sony machine does hold its value well, and is incredibly popular still! A console on it's own should cost around £30 - £40. Check auction and advertising sites, but local games stores, and online stores often offer second hand stock at reasonable prices.
Overall? The PlayStation is not the forefront of gaming, but you can still have a l
ot of fun out of it. It's fairly cheap new and second hand, and could make a nice present for someone! I don't currently own one, and seeing that the PS2 plays PlayStation games, I don't suppose I'll ever get one again! But, the PSX offers reasonable value. Just don't expect the games to be the best available. However, due to the immense popularity of the thing, games developers will continue to make games for it - so the PSX or PSone as it is now known, will probably never leave our shelves (well it will, when people buy them, if you see what I mean)!
Okay, next one!
The Nintendo 64:
Originally, Nintendo were going to name their console the Ultra 64, but didn't. Either way, they made the mistake of making it cartridge based yet again; making the N64 games incredibly expensive, and they still are when new! I've never been a great fan of the Nintendo consoles, as they always seemed a little bit too gimmicky, plastick like and aimed more for children. But the N64 is a great console, and is purely for gaming. You can't play music on it as it's cartridge based, and there're no special additional features! However, Nintendo have had so much success and revenue from their Pokemon franchise that it doesn't matter how many N64s have been sold. A lot of people do own them, but not on the same scale as the amount that own Nintendo's other machine - the Game Boy. If you're a Nintendo 64 owner, then you might be a bit disheartened at the lack of shelf space the N64 now gets, but seeing as only 1 game a month on average is being released for the 'slowly fading away' console, there isn't much point in game stores doing this.
How much then? Well the N64 is on its last legs really, but if you haven't played on one then that's a great reason for getting one while they're cheap! The N64 started life back in March 1997 and arrived at £249.99, with the games costing an incre
dible amount - really expensive in my view - some games were like £69.99!! Now though, new, you can get an N64 on it's own for around £49.99, but retailers seem to be bundling them with games just to clear stock, so you could pick one up with 6 or more games for around £100 or less. That's not bad, but the N64 hasn't impressed me really. Although there are some great games like Mario Kart (supposedly great), Mario 64, Perfect Dark and Golden Eye, I can't see the attraction - nor can a lot of people. But you can get them cheap now!
The games? Well as I say they started off really high, and even today brand new releases (about 1 a month) cost around £50, which is a lot of money. You can't get that many N64 titles now, as the stock seems to have run dry, but you could get some new games, some of the older ones for around £20. It’s not as good value as the PSX games, but then the N64 isn't anywhere near as popular as that machine! Look online though for the latest releases as some places do give a good discount. Very expensive games overall in my view!
2nd Hand? Well there aren't many piracy problems with the N64, but second hand you can get one for around £25 and that are a steal! (Sorry) The better games sell well second hand, but most won't fetch more than £20. You can get most titles for around the £10 mark, but there aren't many N64 games about for sale!
Overall, not the most expensive console now, and nearing the end of its 4-year life, and second hand it’s a bargain. It just never really appealed to me, and the lack of games is evident, so I don't personally like it, but it's cheap now!
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Ok next up, we have...The Sega Dreamcast!
The Sega Dreamcast:
For some reason, after the relative failure of the Saturn and the hardware add-ons to the Mega Drive in the f
orm of the 32X and Mega CD, Sega decided that people may not trust their brand name, and so with their new console, they almost totally disposed of their ‘Sega’ name, removing it from the packaging almost entirely, and labelling their product in a similar fashion to Sony’s PlayStation. However people didn’t really ‘get’ Dreamcast, well some did and more will, but not enough did at first (thanks partly to some dubious advertising strategies) and so the Dreamcast production has now officially ceased. Sega will continue to support the Dreamcast for a good while longer, so don’t worry – don’t sell your machine, as there are some incredible games available for it, with loads arriving soon. Dreamcast has to be the best value console in my view, and just cannot be ignored any longer!
How much then? Well, back in October 1999 when it was launched, the Dreamcast cost £199.99 and sold really well to begin with, but then slowed down, so Sega cut the price to £149.99 a year on, and then just after Christmas it became £99.99. I paid the full price of £200, which compared to the PlayStation 2, still would seem in my eyes, good value. However, here’s the best bit. If you haven’t got a Dreamcast yet then read the reviews – most people would recommend them, and I certainly do, as I have done in the past. Right now the best offer, which has just recently passed was at Gameplay.com where you could have gotten a Dreamcast with 4 games for £74.99. Naturally I took the offer up and will sell the console separately and keep the games!
But at £99.99 you can get a couple of games: Sonic and ChuChu Rocket I think. This is still great value, although I have seen a DC + 5 games for £110 at ToysRus.co.uk so that may be worth checking out. The Dreamcast has some of the best looking games at the moment and certainly the most playable (Crazy Taxi springs to mind). You can surf the net and send & receive emai
l through your Dreamcast, as well as play online games – against people from all around the world due to the Dreamcast modem! There are no other Internet ready games consoles available at the moment, so this is the best in that respect.
The games? Well the RRP is usually £39.99 on DC games, but you can get them cheaper everywhere including online stores and offline. The games are really cheap though, as they seem to half in price just a couple of months after release! The best prices I have seen are at comet the electrical store, where you can pick up Soul Calibur for £10 and have change. Great value! Look out for special offers, and never ay £40 for a game!
2nd hand the Dreamcast isn’t that much cheaper than new, with DC consoles on their own selling at around £70, but you could pick up a big bundle with a few peripherals, many games and the console (maybe 10 games) for around £140, which is exceptionally good value. 2nd hand games though cost less than £20 normally, with many games selling for under £10 – great value!
Overall, the Dreamcast offers great graphics, loads of great games and is online ready. Great value and definitely the best buy at the moment!
Next up? The only console left (left as in currently for sale other than the hand-held machines)….
The Sony PlayStation 2…
I have a PS2, and I did pay the full £299.99 for it, and some people, including myself at times, feel that I’ve wasted my money, somehow being ripped off, but to be honest it isn’t that much really. If the Dreamcast were still £200, then the PS2 would probably seem like a bargain to most people. But compare the price to the N64 starting price back in 1997, and you can see that the PS2 offers relatively good value. Sony do make a loss with every console sold, but I’m sure it’ll come down in price – not by a lot, but around Christmas time I reckon the PS2 will be £250.
Ok, so why so much? Well it isn’t ‘that’ much considering the PlayStation originally cost £400, but next to the ‘competition’ the PS2 is at least 3 times the price. You can play most PlayStation games through the console though – therefore there is a wide range of games already available for it, but you didn’t buy the latest piece of gaming for 32bit 3 yr old games! So, although I have been quite disappointed with the PlayStation2, it is selling well, and the games are getting better. So in a few months time there could well be games that attempt to rival the brilliant Shenmue on Dreamcast, but let’s wait and see. You do get a DVD player as well as a games machine in the PS2, and although it isn’t online ready and modem equipped (or broadband, as it will be soon), most people will appreciate the DVD function. No it isn’t the greatest DVD player in the world, but it’s comparable with the cheapest models, which would set you back around £140. So that leaves you the latest gaming device for £160, had it not been DVD equipped…still, it’ll get cheaper!
The games? Well the PS2 games are £39.99, but some are being sold for slightly more at £44.99, and then there are some at slightly less. The PS2 is relatively new, and so you can’t get many discounts on games, so the best bet if you want a PS2 game for less than RRP is to go second hand. I sold Tekken Tag and Moto GP for less than £25 each, and most games, even brand new ones online at auction sites will cost around 30% less than new prices.
Verdict? Well, £300 is a lot of money, and then you’ve got to buy the games, the memory card, the stand, the remote the…and so on, so it isn’t cheap. I’d recommend going halves with a family member or something to spread the costs, but if you’ve got the money, and have nothing to get with it, then Sony wouldn’t say no to your cash. When the PS2 game
s pick up in terms of quality and sales, the PS2 will be more worthwhile, and I do think at £250 it’d be better value. But if it’s selling well, and if Sony isn’t stupid, then the price won’t go down for a while yet!
Phew…this is getting tiring now! Hope you’re still awake! Anyway, moving onto handheld consoles, arcades, the future, and the USA…
The Nintendo monopoly:
Nintendo have achieved over 140million Game Boy console sales, and has fought off competition from Sega’s game gear and recently the Neo Geo Pocket Colour. The Game Boy is unrivalled at the moment, and is about to be updated by the Game Boy Advance! The Game Boy is around £60, with the games costing £20-£30. There are no piracy problems here and so Pokemon will continue to sell 10million per colour of game! I’m not that interested in the Game Boy, and if you’ve read everything in this post so far, you probably couldn’t care less, but as I said you might have skipped parts to get here, so I’ll make an effort! The Game Boy is very popular, so the public obviously think it’s worth the money, and let’s face it – who hasn’t played Tetris? Everyone knows someone with one of the mini Nintendo’s, and no one I know complains about the prices of the games. Possibly because they’re so great and last such a long time, or maybe because there’re special hypnotic devices/subliminal messages encoded in the GB games ‘this game is great value – do not complain’?
So what about the future? Well the Game Boy Advance is just around the corner, and should land on our shores June 22nd. It’s going to be very impressive and very successful and very good value hopefully! The actual console will be £79.99, with games priced similarly to the current GB games. Nintendo could charge what they wanted, and they do make loads of money from their hand held devices,
but everybody likes them, and the market is monopolised in a nice way…
The arcades! The arcades typically in England cost a lot at £1 a go, but if you’re the best at the game then you won’t need to spend a great deal! Arcades are great fun, well some are, and the 4 player racing games like Sega Rally 2 are worth the money I think! Anyway, not much to say about arcades now other than it depends how good you are as too how expensive it can get. Always give yourself a limit, as proving you’re good at something shouldn’t cost you more than a few quid & if it does you’re probably no good at it anyway.
The future consoles in the form of Nintendo’s Game Cube and Microsoft’s is just around the corner, and should arrive in under a year’s time. Both console look very strange – check the websites www.xbox.com and www.nintendo.com but hopefully they’ll both be under the £300 price. I’ve got the feeling the GC from Nintendo will be £199.99 with the X-Box retailing at £249.99 or more. Either way whichever way you look at it, the prices will probably be less than the original PSX was.
The USA? Well all I have to say on this point is, no I can’t it may offend – they get games at the equivalent price in dollars as we do in sterling. So, for example, the PS2 here is £300, it’s $300 in the US. That equates to around £180! So they’re getting everything at really low prices!
Thanks for reading.
Spend wisely, and I hope I helped!