Last week, we all let out a collective scream as Amazon put up a PS5 pre-order page with an alarming £599.99 price tag. And although Amazon later confirmed it was just a holding page with a fictional price, another pre-order page is so similar that we’re getting legitimately spooked that Sony is planning a PS5 price bombshell when it launches later this year.
Play-Asia’s PlayStation 5 listing now has no price listed, but when it first went live it said $699.99 (see below image). That’s a currency conversion of about £558 at the time of writing, so not too far removed from Amazon’s holding price.
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Granted, this was for the disc-based version, rather than the digital-only version with no disk drive which should be cheaper, but this is still plainly going to be too expensive for many would-be day-one buyers. So is it right?
Could the PS5 cost $700?
Of course, Sony can set the price at whatever level it wants. But the company still remembers how much the $500 PS3 hurt it back in 2006 – the last time it lost the hardware sales battle in a console generation. Sony just couldn’t compete with the $400 Xbox 360, and by the time price cuts had made it more competitive, the damage had been done and the deficit was insurmountable.
And given the PS3 launched two years before the financial crash occurred, conditions are far less welcoming to an expensive launch for the PS5. Not only are we still in the midst of a global pandemic, but spiraling unemployment rates and a deep recession likely means that people will have less disposable income to splash on a new console. This all points to a lower price than the holding pages suggest.
But ultimately, pricing is at some level beyond Sony’s control: the parts cost money, and somebody has to foot the bill. We know that the PS5 is going to pack a 825GB SSD, a Blu Ray Drive and a graphics card capable of ray tracing. By my calculations that already puts us at the $600 mark, and that’s before we take CPU, mainboards, RAM and gamepads into account.
Sony will be expected to absorb some of this cost, and hope to recoup it via software, subscription services and accessories. But exactly how much cost is an open question – and perhaps one that Sony still hasn’t figured out the answer to, as it plays a game of price chicken with rival Microsoft and its Xbox Series X...