After months of a standoff between Sony and Microsoft regarding the price and release date of next-generation consoles, things are finally starting to roll out. The Xbox Series S, Microsoft's lower-end console complementing the high-end Xbox Series X, has been officially revealed with a price point of $299. Sources at Windows Central indicate both consoles will release on November 10, with the Xbox Series X being available at $499.
Meanwhile, the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition are still on track to release in Holiday 2020, but no price has been announced. Fans can sign up to possibly be selected for pre-ordering first, but that's the extent of what we have at this time.
With this in mind, Sony needs to match the price of the Xbox Series X with the PS5. The PS5 isn't quite as powerful as the Xbox Series X, but it's in the same ballpark and uses a more advanced, ultra-fast SSD — meaning it's overall reasonable for the console to hit $499. Going any higher runs the risk of alienating anyone not extremely invested in the PlayStation ecosystem, but who still want to grab a higher-end next-generation console.
Sony needs to match the price of the Xbox Series X with the PS5.
The real question comes in the form of the PS5 Digital Edition. There's simply no way it can match the Xbox Series S, which has a far less powerful graphics chip and a smaller SSD in order to reach its price. Meanwhile, the only difference between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition is the latter lacking a disk drive. A $450 price point is where this console will likely fall, though if Sony is willing to take more of a loss, a $400 PS5 Digital Edition would be the best possible answer for the Xbox Series S.
There are other factors to consider besides the price and the technology in the consoles. PlayStation currently has a strong slate of games announced, with titles such as a Demon's Souls remake, Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales rounding out a hefty exclusive lineup.
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is currently slated to arrive in Holiday 2020 alongside the PS5, while Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is releasing in the "launch window," a vague term that could mean anywhere in the first six months of the PS5's lifespan. Finally, Horizon Forbidden West is scheduled to be released in 2021.
Sony can press a short-term advantage for mindshare but this won't last forever.
Meanwhile, Halo Infinite is the only major first-party exclusive announced as coming to Xbox platforms in 2021. It is possible that Sony could price the PS5 above the Xbox Series X and rely on the value of the games shown so far. Sony can press a short-term advantage for mindshare, but this won't last forever as titles like Avowed and Fable release later on for Xbox. The better option is to make sure the PS5 isn't out of position compared to the Xbox Series X.
We'll see what happens over the next few weeks. The global pandemic has many wallets and purses tighter than they would be normally, and while PlayStation enjoys a major lead worldwide with over 112 million PS4s sold, this might not repeat in the next generation if the PS5 isn't priced comparably to its competition.
Get your hands on it before it sells out
The PS5 isn't available for preorder just yet, but a few retailers are letting fans sign up for notifications so they don't miss out. While it's unknown at this time what the PS5 will cost, you should expect to pay more than what the PS4 launched at. Thankfully, the Digital Edition will probably cost less than its counterpart.
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