Sony arrogance has lost them the next gen unless they lower PS5 prices
A reader argues that Sony’s high prices for PS5 games will cost them the lead in the next generation, when compared to Xbox Game Pass.
So the Xbox Series X is out in six weeks’ time and all of a sudden they’re not looking like they’re dead on arrival after all. Given the lacklustre build-up to Microsoft’s next gen campaign, culminating in the disastrous Halo Infinite unveiling, I had given up on them completely. I didn’t even feel bad about it, as they’ve done to tempt me into getting an Xbox One this gen and have not shown one single interesting looking exclusive on the Xbox Series X.
That hasn’t changed but what has is the announcement of the Xbox Series S and the buying of Bethesda. The Xbox Series S was much cheaper than I think anyone expected and didn’t seem to have any negatives beyond the lack of 4K (I don’t care and I’ve got a 4K TV!) and the small hard drive (a bigger problem given the cost of the expansion card but still far from a deal-breaker).
The Bethesda deal was harder to parse because I’m not a big fan of Fallout or The Elder Scrolls (or more accurately I think Bethesda Game Studios are a terrible developer and very lazy and manipulative towards their fans). I do like the output of Arkane Studios, MachineGames, and id Software though, so from that perspective I can see the attraction, even if $7.5 billion seems extremely overpriced.
For me though the Bethesda deal barely moved the dial. I agreed with a lot of the concerns voiced in last week’s Reader’s Feature, about Microsoft just buying it’s way to success, but they’re a long way from a monopoly at the moment so I’m minded to give them a chance not to prove themselves a Disney style monster.
No, what has boosted the Xbox campaign is not so much what they’ve done but what Sony has. The price of Xbox Series S is tempting but what made it far more so is the announcement that first party PlayStation 5 games are going to be £70. £70! I can barely believe that even as I type the number!
There are arguments going around about how games haven’t had a price rise in decades, and they used to be that price back in the 16-bit era, but that’s irrelevant. You’re talking about nearly 30 years ago, things have changed. Things have changed a lot in just the last two or three years, with Game Pass becoming better and better value and reaching its absolute peak – with the addition of Bethesda and EA Play – just as Sony dropped its bombshell.
Maybe Microsoft got wind of the increase and was able to get the timing perfect, I don’t know, but in that instant I believe Sony lost the next generation. Especially as it came just as a bunch of other unwelcome details emerged, such as their miserly upgrade policy, lack of backwards compatibility for anything other than the PlayStation 4, and bizarre U-turn on next gen exclusives.
Sony’s marketing campaign has reeked of their famous brand of arrogance since it began and to a degree it seemed justified: the PlayStation 5 has been excellent and Sony has not dropped the ball all gen. Compared to that, Microsoft has been awful (especially those terrible names, which I also can’t believe as I type them) and the Xbox Series X/S seemed to be repeating many of the same mistakes as before.
But all it takes is one mistake or one major positive and fortunes can change. Perhaps Microsoft will make another error, perhaps Sony still has a secret weapon waiting to be shown off – but with six weeks to go that seems unlikely.
I will get a PlayStation 5 at some point but if I get any new console this year it will be the Xbox Series S. Then I’ll look to see how prices go on the PlayStation 5, but I don’t see how digital price tags are going to drop significantly any time soon. If Sony announce that it was all a mistake and, actually, they’re only going to be £60 that might make a difference to me but I don’t think they will.
They don’t want to be seen to do a humiliating climb down (even though they have already with cross-gen games) and I don’t think they full understand how much Game Pass has changed the game. During the worst recession in living memory people have a choice between an unusually cheap console and a spectacularly good subscription deal and a console that has just seen the biggest price rise for decades.
With no must-have exclusives at launch the PlayStation 5 is suddenly looking like a very expensive luxury and personally I don’t have the money to spend on that sort of thing right now, and I expect many will feel the same way.
By reader Goshal
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