PS5 price and release date: what to expect in terms of cost and how to pre-order
The PlayStation 5 and its games have finally been revealed, but how much will the console cost and does it make sense to try and pre-order?
We might know what the PlayStation 5 looks like now, and have the first details on many of its games, but there were two very important questions left out of the recent reveal event: how much will it cost and when will it be released?
The release date isn’t too controversial, it’ll be November or early December at the latest and the exact date will depend on boring things like manufacturing and shipping restrictions – both of which have become very difficult to estimate thanks to the coronavirus.
The price is a completely different question, as it’s not based simply on economics or supply, but on what Microsoft is doing with the Xbox Series X and how cheap Sony can make the PlayStation 5 without losing too much money on it.
Consoles are regularly sold at a loss, especially at the beginning of a new generation, with companies making their money back via games and services such as PlayStation Plus. So the question for Sony is how much do they dare to charge without seeming more expensive than the Xbox Series X.
A recent leak from Amazon.co.uk suggested a 2TB version of the PlayStation 5 will be sold for £599.99 but they subsequently claimed that this was an error and the listing was just a dummy product. They may have been just saying that to put people off the scent, but Sony has said nothing about versions of the consoles with different hard drive sizes yet, so that detail currently doesn’t match up.
Sony will be very sensitive about price, as the relative failure of the PlayStation 3 was put down almost entirely to its high launch price in America of $599 for a 60GB model and $499 for a 20GB.
And yet everything about the PlayStation 5 screams expensive, especially when PlayStation boss Jim Ryan says things like wanting to ‘emphasise value as opposed to price’, as he did in a recent BBC interview.
This is where the Digital Edition comes in, something Sony hasn’t done before (although Microsoft has) and intended to be a cheaper version of the main console by removing non-essential features and components, most obviously the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive.
There isn’t much price difference between the Xbox One S and the Xbox All Digital Edition but Sony will likely try to make their digital-only console as cheap as possible.
Apart from the PlayStation 5 simply being expensive to produce both Microsoft and Sony has said they’re waiting for the other to make the first move on price, which has put them into a game of high stakes chicken where neither of them wants to announce a price first because they know the other will immediately undercut them. Especially as Microsoft has much deeper pockets than Sony and can afford to sell their console at a bigger loss.
How much will the PS5 cost?
This is essentially still just guesswork but market analysts from IHS Market Technology and Katan Games have both suggested a US launch price of $499 for the PlayStation 5, with the Xbox Series X expected to be around the same. That works out to £395, although the actual UK price is likely to be £449 at the bare minimum.
That’s $100 more than the PlayStation 4 was at launch but the same as the Xbox One, so it seems a safe, obvious guess. This was all before the Digital Edition was announced though, which may be an attempt to get the price below at least $450.
Microsoft doesn’t have another big reveal event planned until July, so if Sony really are waiting on them to make their decision about price we won’t know for sure about the PlayStation 5’s price tag until then.
How to pre-order the PS5
Despite nobody knowing the price of the new consoles, some stores are taking pre-orders already or at least encouraging you to register your interest with them, so they can let you know when pre-orders start. Although if you find any of them listing a price it’s just a guess and nothing official.
Pre-orders may be more important than they have been previously because, especially thanks to the coronavirus, stock is likely to be limited this year.
Almost every console runs short of stock at launch, whether it’s a hit or not, so the combination of this being the PlayStation 5 and the coronavirus pandemic could end up making it almost impossible to just walk into a shop, or browse an online store, and pick one up a PlayStation 5 on a whim. Especially as the console is being released in all major worldwide markets at the same time.
Stores including GAME, Currys, Very, Smyths, and ShopTo all have pre-order or registration details up already, so for now it’s probably best to pick at least one and hope that there’s enough consoles to go around this Christmas.
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