Inflation vs. hardware prices – home PC for 11 million, can come?.

Maybe they still remembered when we tried to compare the prices of old consoles with today’s production. Now the PC is in serial, and yes, it will be quite an expensive pastime for this time travel as well.

Today in Hungary you can get a game console for about one hundred thousand forints, and a new AAA category video game can be obtained for between 10-20 thousand forints, rather at a price close to twenty. Browsing the ads in old gaming magazines, it may seem like everything was cheaper five to ten or twenty years ago, but in fact, it could easily be that video gaming was more expensive than it is today – I wrote about this in the previous section when I looked at how much the consoles cost on the day they came out and how much they mean at today’s value in the U.S. market. Whoever missed out on the previous article has a quick start: inflation is a measure of the devaluation of money, the deterioration of its purchasing power, a natural economic phenomenon. And with the inflation calculator, you can see how much money we paid for something years or even decades ago would be worth in today’s money. Thus, surprising things turned out from the previous article, and in the following we will visit Hungary from America.

Inflation vs.  hardware prices – home PC for 11 million, can come?

In other words, this time I examined Hungarian prices and Hungarian inflation – I took the prices from the advertisements of contemporary video game magazines, and my inflation calculator found on the Internet worked on the basis of the data of the Central Statistical Office measuring the consumer price index.

I made three tables, one for all kinds of hardware (I tried to collect prices for PC configurations from the same advertiser), one for video games (also from the same toy store), and one for the interesting features I stumbled upon during the collection. The bottom line in each table is the fourth column: that’s how much the old iron, toy, or service would cost at today’s value. Maybe it’s not just statistic maniacs who will love browsing, for which I wish you a pleasant beetle, after I’ve drawn some conclusions as well.

Inflation vs.  hardware prices – home PC for 11 million, can come?

Let’s start with the hardware!

Immediately from the front lines, a smaller wallet horror unfolds. At today’s value, any computer cost in the order of millions of forints in 1984: both the ZX Spectrum and the C64 were a thick luxury item, but even the black-and-white display, the school education machine, the HT-1080Z was quite expensive. Then it is nice to follow the lower prices (in 1991 the C64 was quite affordable), but it is no wonder that half of the country bought a computer for schilling in Austria in the years before the change of regime – in thousands of forints (tens of thousands today) could be saved, even with the cost of gasoline. PCs were downright unaffordable for the average household in the 1980s (386 machines for 11 and a half million in 1989), but by the mid-1990s their prices had fallen at a good pace to allow the platform to take the lead from the Commodores . It is important to note that I selected pretty high-end machines in the table every year, but there were also much cheaper alternatives – which could then be further pimped into parts, but sometimes they were a bigger investment (I gave a few examples). Consoles were much cheaper than PCs – as early as the early 1990s – but they were only slow to prevail over PC superiority. The reason for this was, on the one hand, that fewer dealers were involved in the distribution of frivolous gaming machines than in computing (Commodores were not consoles, but home hobby computers), and, on the other hand, that console games could not be copied or waged very hard.

Not copied, bought

And with that, we got to the other two tables. In the 1980s, there was no mature copyright law for software, so cassette and disc copy services flourished openly, selling a full disc or a cassette of copied programs (up to a dozen on a cassette) for a third to a quarter of the price of a legal full game. . Then came the regime change and with it new laws, as well as a law enforcement organization called the BSA – and those services suddenly disappeared. The price of legal Commodore games was already affordable at the time, but on the PC in the CD era, there was another strong rise because CD readers and writing to CDs at all were not cheap until technology spread. In the second table I only collected new AAA category games – it seems that the price of the games soon reached the level of around ten thousand forints, but in 2000 it reached more than double that of today (fortunately there were devaluation promotions at that time, even if not to the same extent and mass as today). In the last two generations of consoles, the price of console games has pulled a bit away from the PC, but in reality, even that is within the price level of 15-20 years ago.

Inflation vs.  hardware prices – home PC for 11 million, can come?

The programmer comes home

Finally, the third table is about services, some of which may already need to be explained to younger readers. I have already mentioned cassette copiers, but even more anachronistic is the Dotting Service, for which I found a 1986 advertisement in the Commodore Association Gazette. The service undertook to go home and type short user programs (such as a drawing program or a routine that spells accented letters) for potom money. His name is already wonderful.

The polyphonic ringtone from 2004 was also a nice age imprint, but institutions like gaming pubs (LAN clubs) also existed around 2000, and the monthly internet was already affordable in 1998.

Inflation vs.  hardware prices – home PC for 11 million, can come?

Just how fast the internet went, you good god! And if we’re already here: how slow that old PC was, how ugly that old game was. Because in calculating inflation, let’s not forget that we get a lot more pixels, polygons, and floating-point operations for our unit of money today than we did a decade or two ago. Exactly how much, however, I will certainly not be able to calculate.