Having written on the cost of PC gaming hardware in the past, I feel it's only fair to give console gaming hardware equal time.
I've been keeping an eye on the price of the PS3 over the Black Friday weekend. The new sleeker version of the console retails for $300 and includes one controller and a component video cable. If you want a remote control for the machine's much-touted Blu-ray playing capacity, that will cost you an extra $20. If you need an HDMI cable to plug into your HDTV, that's going to be an extra $10 (if you get a generic one, $40 if you buy the official one from Sony, or from most retailers).
In short, you can expect to sink two years' worth of MMORPG subscription fees into hardware, which is a very expensive hood ornament for your entertainment center until you spend more money on something to actually use with the system. Games retail for $60 and often can't be counted on to last more than 10-20 hours. Is it any wonder that, at those prices, gamers are renting or re-selling games in greater and greater numbers?
Console gaming has numerous advantages. Players don't have to worry about their system specs, because every game was designed to play on the same device. The variety of gaming experiences you can expect with a console and an all-you-can-rent plan is far greater than you're going to get out of 1-2 MMORPG subscriptions. I'm just saying that the cost is nothing to sneeze at, even before you get into expensive peripherals (hello, Rock Band) and not-so-microtransactions (which gaming publishers have somehow managed to brand as "DLC - downloadable content", an acronym that deliberately does not mention cost).