A stand-off that will actually affect your wallet..
With Thursday’s PS5 unveiling event (which you can still watch here) , the next generation console war has officially gone into full swing , with fans , tech and gamer publications and money-conscious Zimbabweans all getting involved on the online conversation about either or both of the two consoles, and often coming down to one factor : what are the prices of these things?
Well, for now that’s still a mystery. Sony made an amazing virtual reveal event for the PS5 that definitely had fans find new excitement for the console, delivering an impressive suite of upcoming games, but also the console itself in it’s two iterations (digital only and disk accepting version) as well as accessories that include a charging dock, remote and headphones(weird flex there Sony). Yet Sony didn’t reveal the price of either of the consoles or their accessories. In fact as far as local channels are concerned, Zimbabweans spent all of yesterday “fighting” about it on Twitter. So why didn’t Sony reveal the PS5’s price? And why didn’t Microsoft do that for the Series X either? Well, in simple terms, it’s their final trump card before the next gen console war starts. Both Sony and Microsoft want to move as many units as possible at launch and they know price is arguably the biggest factor to that. In past generations it’s determined the advantages of one console over the other, with the Xbox 360 gaining an advantage over the PS3 in early years, while the PS4 essentially won this console generation partially because it launched at almost $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. With the upcoming consoles the same rule essentially applies, and in a world currently going through a pandemic, and all the financial problems that come with it , a cheaper console will definitely offer a huge advantage in early sales.
This is why Microsoft has been tight lipped about the Series X’s price even when they unveiled it over 7 months ago now, because both Microsoft and Sony are essentially playing a game of seeing who blinks first and announces price, just so the other can price their console more competitively. In fact, due to it’s internal components, which are more powerful than the PS5, the Series X is expected to be the more expensive , ranging from USD $550 – 600 , while the PS5 is expected to be between $500 and $550. But of course this is based on industry analysts and the price of components, chances are Sony might charge a premium just because of how strong the PlayStation brand is after the success of the PS4 and the publicity the brand is getting, which might actually shift some fans to the Xbox again, especially considering it’s the technically superior console.
This is likely where the digital edition of the PS5 comes in, which won’t have a disc drive and is expected to be cheaper due to that, especially since these are 4K Blu-Ray drives that cost quite a bit on their own. This is why Microsoft released the Xbox One S digital edition, which we applauded for being cheaper but knew it wouldn’t be too useful in Zimbabwe, considering 70+ GB required for the average current generation game, an average that’s likely to increase with the PS5 and Series X games. This essentially means that even less Zimbabweans can buy the digital edition, and will hence buy the disc-based PS5 or Series X (which has an upcoming digital version as well) , guaranteeing that most of us will buy the more expensive version of these consoles anyway, but adoption in countries with better internet might be much faster considering these digital versions might go closer to the $400-450 launch prices of the PS4 and Xbox One. It’s obviously a bummer that we’ll need the most expensive versions, but, we could also consider their other advantage: backwards compatibility . Both the Series X and PS5 will run Xbox One and PS4 games respectively and considering long time gamers probably have those on discs then it will be nice to just slot those in and continue. Either way the prices of these consoles remain a secret for now, though we imagine this won’t remain for much longer. Hopefully though the pandemic’s effect on shipping and pricing won’t jack up their pricing even more, but if it does, well, worst case scenario some people have to stick with two very good consoles in the PS4 and Xbox One for one more year, and honestly, it could be worse.