Define expensive. The PS3 did mighty well, and the base price (499$) today would be 650$ if you take into account inflation. Look, I'm not saying that I or most consumers don't want a cheap product, but considering this gen, I would be more than OK to pay for the extra oomph, and I bet most Sony/MS fans would be willing to do the same, so they can have a competent system 5-6 years down the line.
The ps3 did horribly bad until sony stripped what it could to make the price $399 and even then it was an uphill battle.
A competent system doesn't need to be expensive and most fans didn't do that for the expensive ps3 and xbox one.
Let's don't rewrite history here. The PS3 first-year sales easily beat the first-year sales of the X360 and several other successful systems. A console cycle is not a sprint, it's a marathon, and it's pretty obvious that pricing is only a factor from many, that decides if a system will perform well in the long-run.
Also, 500$ today is not expensive, even if you do not like that price point. Is it more expensive than a 400$ system? Sure, but overall well withing the budget os most households that it targets. But I much rather pay more and get more, especially now that 500$ is basically the 300$ they were asking during the 6th generation.