I knew waaaay more people who owned the magic little few-hundred-dollar box that makes the picture games come up on the TV than I knew people who owned the two-thousand-dollar desktop machine with a shabby monitor that many times required you to dig into config files and compilers to play anything (it sure did Wheel of Fortune and Yahtzee good, though!)
I understand the situation was probably rather different in the US than it was in Europe and Australia, for example. But I did mention "home computers" as they were called back then. Things like the Commodore 64 were not significantly more expensive than consoles, and they also could be hooked up to the TV set. I also don't think they were that much harder to use - and some console hardware of that era was notoriously flaky and troublesome (most consumer electronic gear was somewhat flaky in the 80s).
For example, many of the home computers of the time took game cartridges, just like the consoles, which didn't require any more fiddling around than a console did. So, I'm generally not referring to the IBM-PC style of computer (although those were used for gaming, but typically in wealthier households, and not until years later - more late-1980s).
With a multi-purpose home computer costing only a few hundred dollars, and a single-purpose game console also costing a few hundred dollars, it wasn't a difficult economic for many families to buy the home computer that could play games and
do a bunch of other useful stuff, than to buy the much more limited console in a similar price range. Again, I know that game consoles were relatively more popular in the US and Japan, but in the rest of the world, the reverse was often true.
All the issues (compatibility, useability, exclusivity, adaptability) were about a millions times more important in the day than they are now, from a consumer standpoint.
I'd strongly disagree with this one. At hat time, there was no "standard" Operating System or hardware for home computers. There was a multitude of competing proprietary systems - far more than there are today. And "usability" wasn't something that was taken for granted. People expected that they had to learn how to use something like a computer. People even expected to have to build their own hardware, or learn to program them.
It was like the days when a car owner would expect that they would have to learn how to do mechanical maintenance in order to be a driver.