Issue 6

Nov/Dec 83

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In mid-September, the rumoured price of the new 600XL was 139 with the 400 being reduced to 99.95. With a new series of machines in up to the minute styling and with still the top specification, Atari surely can't go wrong and the long awaited mass acceptance of Atari will come at last. Or will it? There is no doubt that the Atari machines represent excellent value for money, but let's be honest, the software - from nearly all sources - is vastly overpriced.

If you did not already know how good the Atari was, would you buy one? Look through the software price lists and you will see that most of the software for the Atari is around 25 and above. Now let's suppose that you buy an average of one program a month - not unreasonable for most owners - and your total outlay over one year, if you buy a 600XL and cassette player will be around 500. What else could you buy instead? A BBC and 12 programs with 80 change, a Dragon with 12 programs and 230 change or a Vic-20 and 12 programs and 250 change.

There is no denying that the Atari is the best home computer and the best Atari software is unbeatable, but let's not kid ourselves, not all of the high-priced software is of the highest quality and much of it can be emulated by the other machines. The support that Atari gets on the software side amongst retailers (other than the specialists) is pitiful and the reason is that your local camera-cum-computer shop does not want 20-30 programs tied up in stock. Why should he when he can stock and sell four times as much Spectrum software?

Who then is going to take the step? One or two English software producers have reduced some of their prices and more will follow but overall the prices remain high. Will Atari take the lead? Or the independent importers?

You know that you bought the best machine, isn't it a pity that you can't afford the best software?