Since this topic has resurfaced once more, let me offer some further insight and opinion on the whole DC vs. DCC and direction of the hobby situation as it relates.
The two previous posters have spoken to the N-scale aspect of the hobby today. The situation with the HO segment is little different. Prices since the introduction of DCC have skyrocketed, although certainly not because of DCC alone. Nevertheless, from the manufacturers' viewpoint ours is less and less of a significant interest among the general public, so it is more profitable to aim the products at those with deeper pockets, rather than the average hobbyist of today. The little 4 axel diesel switcher, or 4 wheel steamer, which in DC sold for perhaps $60-$100 not all that long ago is today priced at $250-$300. Road engines, especially the bigger ones, are largely unaffordable to the average hobbyist with DCC and their upgraded level of detailing. No matter how beautiful they may look, what are they worth when you cannot afford them?
Those of you who may have been with the hobby many decades (as I have) will recall that brass followed this same path of evolution. It was introduced as an every-man's alternative to die cast models of the day. Even when the detail was upgraded and it carried them to double the price of die cast they were still highly popular among average hobbyists. However, once it was realized that there was an even more profitable approach by directing the product toward the wealthy collector, prices rose out of reach and production runs plummeted to create scarcity.
Now take a look around at the HO hobby today. You may have already noticed the growing number of hybrid die cast/brass models priced at $500-$600. Even the all plastic versions exceed MSRP of $350-$400. This, sad to say, is where we are going in my opinion. To be very honest, were I considering entering into our hobby today, as a middle class guy just one look at the prices to get started buying new (and no newcomers really wants to settle for buying secondhand eBay stuff) would be enough for me to simply turn and walk away. I'm sure many do.
Last edited by CNJ999 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.