It might not seem like it to many, but next gen consoles are just around the corner. It is currently late August, with the potential release dates for the PS5 and Xbox Series X just a few months away, and yet we know so few of the important details about these new devices that it’s pretty shocking. We are also in the midst of an unprecedented, once in a lifetime global pandemic, but as Sony and Microsoft trudge forward with a 2020 launch it’s pretty insane that we still don’t have firm release dates or prices for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Which actually makes me think the prices are higher than most people think.
The current assumption has been that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will both arrive around mid November, or at least some time within the month. The other major theory pegs the price of both consoles somewhere around the $499 mark, with some thinking it will be $100 lower for the lesser tier consoles, specifically the discless PS5 and rumored streaming focused Xbox Series S. With so many people on the same page with their speculation, it would actually be pretty easy for both companies to confirm these assumptions. So why haven’t they? Maybe because they’re preparing to break some bad news.
Could we be in for another “five hundred and ninety nine US dollars” moment from Sony? Or Microsoft’s infamous $499 launch price of the Kinect bundled Xbox One? Could the PS5 and Xbox Series X prices be higher than we anticipated? It seems more and more likely as each day and week passes without an official price reveal.
Will the PS5 or Xbox Series X launch above $600?
With this in mind I would emphasize caution around that $499 price speculation, tacking on at least $100 and maybe even $200 for your own budgetary sanity. Will the PS5 or Xbox Series X launch above $600? Probably not, at least not for all versions or by a lot. I doubt either Sony or Microsoft will launch a $700 console into the current economic environment. But maybe they will, if the rush of sales usually expected for a console release aren’t expected this time.
As I said, and you probably already know, there’s a bit of a health crisis going on around the world, which has also caused an economic crisis. Consumers aren’t as ready to plop down hundreds or thousands of dollars for a new gaming console and accessories. Add in that this “generation” is more of a half step for many games and players, and enthusiasm is already lower than normal, even before factoring COVID-19 into the picture. So perhaps both companies are prepared for a slow start that ramps up more in 2021 and 2022.
Speaking of which, I don’t feel as skeptical of the release date speculation. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold problems in both shipping and manufacturing, so the silence surrounding this isn’t surprising. Both companies are surely doing all they can to hit the holiday season, and with consumers unable to congregate for launch like they have before, these releases will be much different than any that came before.
But the price of the console isn’t impacted as much, and is likely already set in stone by both companies. The only other major reason I can think of for holding up the price announcement is if Sony and Microsoft are playing chicken against each other. Both have a price in mind, with some potential wiggle room on either side. But neither is willing to be the first out of the gate to avoid being undercut by their competitor. This is certainly possible, as it has happened in the past, mostly with Sony shocking people in one direction or the other.
Still, consumers need to start budgeting for these upcoming purchases, and the delays are not helping. With the holidays getting closer and closer, and many trying to figure out how much they’ll have to spend on themselves and others, it would really help if we had hard figures for all of this. The fact that both Sony and Microsoft are holding up the price announcement means something is going on. It certainly could be the uncertainty of the current situation, but it would be wise for everyone to brace for bad news now. Whenever these details are announced be sure to find them here for PS5 and here for Xbox Series X.