Looking at software only, break them down into tiers:
- Entry level - smaller camera count (say 25 or less) - $50 to $100 USD MSRP
- Mid level - 100 cameras or less, some more functionalities - $125 to $200 MSRP
- Large / enterprise level - 'unlimited' cameras, 3rd party integration, enterprise management - $250 to $350 MSRP
Most VMS companies offer multiple tiers and most pricing falls roughly into 1 of those 3 buckets.
Btw, for larger systems, MSRP is not a good measuring criteria as most VMS companies will negotiate, often significantly, the price. See: Huge Discounts On Enterprise VMS Software
For small projects, only considering the VMS licensing cost is a reasonable way of comparing vendors. However on bigger projects this is not the case. A TCO analysis which takes into account all the direct and indirect costs of running VMS A vs VMS B is needed. Beyond the camera license cost, other things to evaluate include:
- Additional “add-on” VMS licenses needed (e.g. SDK license, concurrent user license, server license, etc)
- How much infrastructure is required (e.g. how many servers does one vendor use vs another vendor)
- Any special 3rd party licensing requirements (e.g. is Microsoft Clustering needed for high availability)
- General operating costs (e.g. the cost of maintaining the software, training users, etc).
When you consider more than just the up-front VMS license cost, the differences are more visible. Hope this helps.