Apparently, the PlayStation 5 is gonna be hella expensive to make. That’s causing an internal dilemma for Sony, which is now withholding the price for the PS5 until it can figure out how to stay in competition with Microsoft this holiday.
According to a report from Bloomberg Technology, “scarce components” have caused Sony’s latest console to become a pretty costly venture. Sources claim the cost of manufacturing one PS5 alone is $450 per console — which doesn’t even include cuts to retailers. Though we don’t know for certain if, or how much that will be reflected in the final selling price.
It’s not a great year to have this sort of issue. We’re on the verge of another “console war” this holiday, wherein two or more companies beg customers to spend money on console one instead of the other. While it’s generally a weird capitalist show, it also affects how companies, game developers, stores, and platforms plan their marketing and product releases. Not to mention the hardware itself influences the games.
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This year, the battle is mostly between two corporations: Sony and Microsoft. Microsoft already revealed its newest console, the Xbox Series X. The company hasn’t set a price on it yet, which Bloomberg reports is part of why Sony hasn’t revealed its price either. Although some estimates place it as even higher than the $450 PS5 parts cost.
Chances are, though, that this will all be a pricey affair. The Xbox Series X reports a solid state drive, a custom CPU, custom graphics card, and GDDR6 memory. It’ll support 8k resolution and up to 120 frames per second in live gameplay rendering. The PS5 touts basically the same specs, with a similar custom CPU and graphics card. But as these machines get beefier, obviously, the price must go up.
Not to mention the PlayStation 5 prototypes look really, really weird.
The competition between Microsoft and Sony will be the main factor in pricing, of course. Two other potential conflicts are somewhat out of the way. One is that the Nintendo Switch has been out for three years now, and nearly everyone who should have it already does. However, it’s still selling strong. There’s also the Lite edition, which is a far cheaper option at $199.99, compared to the original Switch’s already-affordable $299.99. Chances are the stragglers and grown-up kids may see some kind of Switch in their holiday gift pile.
The other conflict would have been Stadia… if Google didn’t tank the service’s reputation immediately upon (or even before) launch. Users have complaints about a lack of features, a lack of games, and, well, the whole damn model. Plus there’s major miscommunication about the subscription model altogether, because technically, you don’t need one to buy and play the games. But let’s assume everything had gone right. A Chromecast plus controller for $129 would have been a far easier sell this holiday season. It’s possible the Stadia team returns to lean on this angle this year.
To cap things off, this year’s dollar is a little weaker than it was in 2013, when the last console war started. Basically, a $450 cost in 2013 amounts to $500 today; if the price increases, potential buyers are looking at a costly choice.
But who knows! If the pricing goes up, parents’ choice between consoles and services could end up being a show of class. It’s like continuously buying Fortnite skins for kids to show off to classmates.