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PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X, the Next-Gen Game Console Price War

On June 11, Sony’s next generation game console, the PlayStation 5 was finally revealed after almost a year since its announcement. During the presentation, which was held online because of the cancellation of the E3, Sony previewed twenty five either exclusive or priority games, and fans finally got the chance to see the PS5 hardware.

The exact day of its release is still unknown, but it has been confirmed it will be in the holiday period of 2020, sometime between October and December. By now, everything about the device is of public knowledge except one key detail — its price. This is mainly due to Microsoft’s own console, Xbox Series X being released at the same time. The two consoles will go head to head in a price war. 

Despite many fans may have a preference of one console over the other, for most buyers what really matters is the price of the device and what console your friends and acquaintances own. And it turns out both factors are correlated. For the companies it’s of vital importance to be the “go to” console the first couple of weeks after its release, since this creates a trend of what console to buy that people will follow — and this will eventually determine the overall success of the console. Over the past console generations, the company that gets a head start in sales has always ended up being the most successful. 

Microsoft is yet to announce their price as well, and the explanation for this information delay is simple, if not obvious: one company will inevitably try to undercut the other and get the majority of the market share by setting a slightly lower price. It appears Microsoft learned from their mistakes after launching their previous console, the Xbox One for $499 prior to Sony’s PlayStation 4 being announced. This allowed Sony to undercut Microsoft and launch their product for just $399, which created an obvious advantage for the latter in the price race between the companies: in March it was reported that Sony had sold above 106 million PS4 units, meanwhile Microsoft had sold just over 56 million Xbox One units. 

Both companies seem to be reluctant to discuss the price of their new consoles, and are rather focussing on its value and quality, highlighting all the features and improved specs. At this point, talking about the price of the next generation consoles is pure speculation, and for now too early to tell. 

However, we can look back at the launch price of its predecessors and try to make an inference from there. The PS4 was released in 2013 for $399 and was a huge success. On the other hand, its antecessor, the PS3 was released in 2006 for $499-$599 (price varied depending on its hard drive capacity) and while it found its footing after a rough start, it is considered by many as their least successful console. Lastly, The PS2 initially launched for $299 in 2000 and the PS1 launched for $399 in 1995. 

Likewise, the Xbox One was released for $499 in 2013, the Xbox 360 was launched in 2005 for $299-$399, depending on the hard drive capacity, and the original Xbox was first sold for $299 in 2005. The Xbox 360 was a big hit and definitely beat the PS3. Taking a closer look we can see a pattern here because it was also priced lower than Sony’s console. 

Sony officials admitted it was a mistake setting the price of the 40GB PS3 at $599. Taking into account all these factors, most experts agree the console will not be priced higher than $599. In fact, the most frequent number when asked is $499. What’s more, former Xbox executive Albert Panello was in the news over the past week after tweeting he believed there was no way the PS5 would be priced higher than $499. And who knows, since this number has been going on so strongly and for very long, Sony might not want to exceed the expectations and price it too highly. 

During Sony’s online reveal event there was one more surprise that is believed to set up the next generation price war to the next level. They announced that a PS5 digital edition with the same hardware specs, but without the 4K Blu Ray drive, will be released. The price is also yet unknown, but this simple and insignificant change, as nowadays most people download games instead of buying the disc, should equate to a roughly 50$ price cut. Price seems to be key in this console’s war more than ever, and as we seem to be about to enter a new recession; any small price savings could be crucial in this competition. 

Assuming the PS5 will be released in December for $499 as it has been speculated, fans of the console have 6 months to save for the new release. By putting $83.33 into your savings account every month from July until December, you will be able to get yourself a brand new PS5 for the upcoming winter holidays.


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