I was playing Sly Cooper with my 8-year-old daughter this weekend and patting myself on the back for how much life I’ve squeezed out of our PlayStation 2 and how it fits into our minimalist leanings, serving both as our DVD player and our only gaming console. My wife and I have never been gamers. We bought the PS2 on a lark when we were still a duo to play the whimsical — and borderline psychedelic — Katamari Damacy. We’ve also enjoyed pulling it out with friends to play social games like Karaoke Revolution or DDR. It really started gathering dust once our daughter joined the family, but in the past few years, I’ve bought a couple of games for her from Half Priced Books. We picked up Lego Stars Wars that way, and it was a big hit. She’s only ever known iPhone games and has no idea that a PS2 is way behind the times.
I forget this sometimes, too. In fact, I was impressed with the graphics in Sly Cooper, so I paused the game and did a quick search to find out when it was released. I assumed it was recent-ish and backported to the PS2. Nope. 2002. The game is 15 years old! My console is 10 years old! Wow. The pats on the back got louder. Good on me for making it a decade with one gaming console. Now let’s pull out the calculator.
Lifetime ownership cost:
$100 — 10 games @ $10 (another benefit of staying behind the times)
$200 — PS2 Slim Console
$50 — Controllers, dance pad, mics, cables
$350 total ÷ 10 year = $35 a year
While keeping a console for 10 years sounds like a high-five moment. $35 a year actually sounds pricey to me for an object I feel like I’ve rarely used. In retrospect, I’d much rather have bought a nice bread machine.
I do like the $10 used games as a price for some cheap weekend entertainment, but I’m still paying off that initial cost of the console. Though, I figure I’ll get the amortized costs down to $25-$30/yr by the time I retire our PS2 in five to ten years.
How much have you spent on video games in the past decade? What’s their lifetime cost of ownership?