So, after an entire year Sony has finally announced its official PS5 Console Covers, accessory face plates that let you switch-up the color and look of your PlayStation 5 console.
This move has been expected for a while, as the absence of any official form of PS5 face plates has led to third-party companies like DBrand offering up their own, which has in-turn led to all sorts of shenanigans.
For the record I think DBrand was right to launch their third party plates and was glad that it offered gamers a way to customise their own console that Sony was not delivering.
Pre-order the new PlayStation 5 Console Covers at PlayStation Direct (opens in new tab) [USA]
However, DBrand's capacity to produce plates would mean that only a tiny percentage of PS5 owners were going to benefit from its products. We desperately needed Sony to offer up a mass-produced official selection of products that, as relayed by the official PlayStation Blog (opens in new tab), it has now done.
However, for me at least, this is not PS5 face plate paradise attained, but PS5 face plate paradise lost. The reason? The price.
A galaxy of colours is coming to your PS5. 🌌 Introducing new PS5 console covers, available starting January 2022. Full details: https://t.co/Zm0hEBryzQ pic.twitter.com/QdmKlpnfynDecember 13, 2021
For two pieces of molded colored plastic Sony is charging gamers $54.99 in the USA and £44.99 in the UK. I mean, just... wow. To me, that is just outrageous and is an immediate deal breaker for me.
I'd love to be proved wrong (I often am!) and be shown how making these plates justifies the $54.99 price, but I just can't see it. I mean, it's mass-produced molded plastic using a process and design that Sony has already produced. Sony's got the scale to make these plates en masse already, too, as it has been doing so to make the standard white PlayStation 5 face plates that ship with the console.
I mean, just look at the official face plate shown above. It literally is just two pieces of molded plastic. Two pieces that are admittedly lovely to look at thanks to the excellent new Nova Pink colorway (the best of all the new colorways in my opinion).
But for me, if I held those pieces of plastic in my hand and then was faced with walking up to a till and handing over $54.99 / £44.99 to leave the store with them and affix them to my console, I'd definitely put them firmly back on the shelf.
I don't know about you, but when I can buy a brand new AAA game, advanced new gaming headset or brand new controller for the same money, I'd live with my white PS5 console.
And, speaking of controllers, Sony has also announced matching new controller colorways to go with the new Console Covers, with Nova Pink, Starlight Blue and Galactic Purple joypads shortly to be available, too. For $74.99.
I'd think many gamers would want to match their new Console Cover with a same-color PS5 controller, but that is then obviously another $74.99 in terms of spend, so together you're looking at $129.98 for a new look PS5 and DualSense. For me that just seems like too much money for a purely aesthetic change.
Hopefully this launch pricing will rapidly drop (the face plates and controllers launch in early 2022), or that we will get more after market face plates released for less money next year. After all, if DBrand can do it legally then so too must other firms. Some more competition here would only be a good thing.
As the thing that worries me right now is, if this is how much official Console Covers are going to be in just a plain colorway, how much are special edition plates going to be that are themed around games and offer unique graphics, decals and designs? I shudder to think.