A report from Bloomberg says that when Sony launches the PlayStation 5 this holiday season, it’s going to be producing far fewer units than previous console generations, according to the site’s sources.
From the sound of it, the PlayStation 5 will be more scarce then the PlayStation 4 was in 2013 because the technical specifications and parts required to make this elusive plastic box will be costly to make and (probably) purchase, which the company expects to weigh on the demand for the console this year.
Sony has reportedly told its assembly partners that it aims to make 5 to 6 million consoles during the fiscal year ending in March 2021, which is roughly three-fourths of the 7.5 million PlayStation 4 units it produced in a similar timeframe. While Sony hasn’t said anything about a price for the PS5 yet, reports dating back as far as February have been surfacing that the console’s launch price has been an internal issue for Sony, specifically because the development costs are much higher this time around than the PlayStation 4. Bloomberg’s report says developers who have been working for games on the platform anticipate it to land somewhere between $499 and $549, which would be an extra $100-149 compared to the PlayStation 4. When the PS4 launched in 2013, its cheaper price point at $399 was a major factor in its pulling ahead in sales early on, as the Xbox One launched at $499 in the same month.
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While the hypothetical price of the PlayStation 5 might be viewed as a deterrent for some, Sony apparently plans to use recurring revenue streams like PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now until PlayStation 5 consoles are no longer in limited supply. Whether there are plans to cut prices for PlayStation 4 consoles in the lead up to the launch in order to get people to buy into the ecosystem is unclear at this point, but it would make sense. PS4s currently run either $300 or $400 depending on whether you buy the base model or a PlayStation 4 Pro, and those prices haven’t been touched in a minute.
Beyond all of the internal discussions happening around how Sony expects to make money off this thing, from the sound of it, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown several wrenches into the company’s promotional plans for the PS5. Recently the company revealed the console’s new controller called the DualSense, but Bloomberg’s sources say the entire process had to be rushed due to its original plans being upended by the pandemic making it unwise to gather in large groups. The company also had to cancel its GDC appearance to talk specs with developers, and was forced to come up with a digital alternative.
Regardless of the effects the pandemic has been having on Sony’s marketing, Bloomberg’s sources say the PS5 is still on track to launch this holiday season, and Sony is unlikely to delay unless Microsoft does the same for the Xbox Series X. So basically, these two are playing a game of chicken, and if neither gives way to the other both systems should still make their holiday release window.
If nothing else, this explains why PlayStation 5 information has been delivered so piecemeal over the past year, as Sony has been trying to come up with new plans in the wake of the coronavirus. Not that the company was doing much in the way of public presentations before this all started, as Sony had already announced plans to skip E3 long before it was cancelled due to safety concerns.