Personally I always thought the crash in prices would have a negative effect on the game.
The reason has always been for me that when it becomes too easy to start playing that it removed a massive community essential. Back in the day of $500-700 TM's if you wanted to play you'd have to make a large commitment. If you were new and wanted to try the game you'd meet some locals and get an invite out to get a little taste; either by renting or borrowing an AEG.
As the prices came down, the number of people limited by coin dropped significantly. Now you will encounter completely new people whom no one knows but they have a complete kit/setup that would have rivaled those we labeled "elitest" back in the day.
But that's just like... my opinion man.
"The hydrogen economy car from the people who brought you the 'Hindenburg
'" - Glen Foster
Condoms do not guarantee safe sex any more. A friend of mine wore one and was shot by the woman's husband!