In 2006, Nintendo and Sony released their additions to the seventh generation of gaming consoles: the Wii and PlayStation 3. Most BYU-Idaho students were in their first few years of elementary or primary school, and iPhones were a year away from release. Now approaching their 15th birthday in November, is it time to start calling these systems retro consoles?
Perhaps a necessary question to start is at what point does something become retro? A quick Google search will reveal there is not an agreed consensus on the topic. Outside of gaming, some things lose value with age, like shoes, and others gain, like land. However, a third category defies a linear depreciation or appreciation cycle, losing value initially just to gain it back and increase later. Retro, vintage and antique items fall into this category.
Such is the case with the Atari 7800. According to Digitaltrends, this system cost $140 at its launch but can now net as much as $500 on eBay with games included. That means an Atari 7800 may sell for over 3.5 times the original purchase price. While the same is not true about the Wii and PS3 yet, they may be on the same path soon.
According to a retro gaming website, Retrogamerdaz, a console needs to be over 15 years old to be considered retro. That means that the Xbox 360, which was released in November 2005, joined the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Atari 7800 in the retro club. However, some disagree with a rigid definition such as age.
“Whatever console generation that was out when you were a kid or a teenager would be your definition of retro,” said Hiram Anderson, an 18-year-old freshman studying computer engineering. “I would consider the Wii a retro console, but someone … who was a teenager in the 80s would not consider it to be a retro console.”
Caleb Rhea, a 27-year-old sophomore studying marketing, doesn’t consider the Wii and PS3 to be retro but does think the GameCube and PS2 are retro.
Whatever one’s opinion may be on what is considered retro, hanging on to old systems may become profitable in the upcoming decade. As seen with the Atari 7800 tripling in price, old Wiis, PlayStations and Xboxes may be widely accepted as retro consoles for collectors.