- The PlayStation 5 is expected to debut later this year, but we still have no idea what it will cost, or what it even looks like.
- Sony is reportedly struggling to keep the price of the console low.
- The launch price for the next-gen console likely won’t be anywhere close to the $US400 price tag of the previous PlayStation 4 console.
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The PlayStation 4 has been around since 2013. Personally, it’s my most-used piece of technology. And it’s about to be replaced with something much better.
We still don’t know what this thing looks like, or how much it will cost, but based on Sony’s hour-long video presentation from back in March, where the company gave full details into the console’s technical specifications, it sounds like it won’t be cheap.
For reference, the PlayStation 4 cost $US399 when it launched – that was pretty expensive in November 2013. Microsoft had also just announced its own new-at-the-time console, the Xbox One, which had an even higher starting price of $US500. People really balked at that price.
We don’t know the price of either the new Xbox or the PlayStation 5, but a lot of people are hoping it will be $US400 or below. In the case of the PlayStation 5, I honestly don’t believe it will cost any less than $US500, at least to start. And I think it would make a lot of sense.
Consumer technology has gotten more costly everywhere
There is almost no way the PlayStation 5, a brand-new console meant to last 5 to 7 years, is going to cost $US400 at launch.
Apple’s cheapest smartphone right now is $US400. Premium headphones from companies like Sony or Beats cost around $US350 or $US400. The PlayStation 5 is an actual computer with a state-of-the-art solid-state drive, which is going to enable incredible next-gen experiences with next to no loading times. That is a much bigger deal than it sounds, according to many developers who have worked with the new console already.
A $US500 game console might sound expensive to some people, but that same amount of money for a smartphone would be considered downright affordable – and phones are not meant to last as long as this device. I’ve had my launch PlayStation 4 since 2014 and it still works wonderfully, even on new games like “Final Fantasy 7 Remake,” one of the best-looking games I’ve ever seen.
Pricing the PlayStation 5 at $US500 might not be feasible for a lot of people, especially during a pandemic, but this console (like everything else) will inevitably drop in price, so by the next year’s holiday people will be sure to find deals.
This is how it works for most console cycles: The initial price is high, as the manufacturers work out the kinks of the hardware and developers work out the kinks of the software – and by the time the console hits its stride in its second, third, and fourth years on the market, prices drop and demand goes through the roof since there’s a larger library of available games to play.
Mentally prepare yourself for a high starting price at launch, especially given the novelty of the first living-room console with a PC-quality solid-state drive. Expect a $US600, or even a $US700 console – and be pleasantly surprised if Sony undercuts that, rather than disappointed if it ends up being around this amount. The way I see it: You’re paying a little more upfront to be on the ground floor of new high tech.
Not everyone at first will buy in, but a lot of people will. Look no further than Apple: People resist their prices all the time – like the $US1,000 iPhone X a few years ago, and last year’s $US5,000 Mac Pro – and yet there’s a huge market for those items. It’s all about the value proposition, and the PlayStation 5 will have excellent value as a complete entertainment system for games, but also for apps and other forms of streaming content. If it costs any less than $US500 or $US600, I would be shocked.
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