It’s finally time. After the unexpected (to both us and Microsoft) announcement of the Xbox Series X/S last week, Sony have finally set up a showcase event this evening where we expect to finally find out the price for both the PS5 and PS5 Digital as well as a release date, and maybe some other surprises too… Because I’m impatient and can’t just wait for the news like a normal person, I’m here to discuss and predict what we might see announced from the Japanese giants tonight.
First off, the price. I don’t think I’m alone in predicting that the PS5 will likely cost more than the Xbox Series X, same goes for the PS5 digital over the extremely well priced Series S. Let’s start with the cheaper digital models as the $300/£250 price point of the Series S has been causing quite a stir. For me there’s just no way we see a PS5 sell at that price. Why? Because PlayStation don’t have to worry about getting into the secondary console market thanks to their dominance over this past console generation.
Now I know money talks and there’s no doubt that if the cheapest PS5 is £100 more than the Series S then there’s going to be a lot of players that choose to take the cheapest entry point into next-gen gaming. Having said that, Sony have been extremely smart with how they’ve pulled players into their ecosystem in recent years and I believe this will play a huge part in why they’ll get away with charging a bit more. Sure, Xbox is pushing for more crossplay with their games but that doesn’t solve the problem of live service games which people are already into.
Take Avengers for example, people who are into that game (yes they exist) will be encouraged to stick with the same console because 1, they’ll keep all their progress and 2, they’ll get the free update to the next-gen version, and with PS4’s dominance as well as the Spider-Man exclusive, you can bet most those players are already team PlayStation. This is just one example, people who already have a PS4 will be encouraged to stick with the brand so they can get their free updates for NBA 2K21, FIFA 21, Cyberpunk 2077 when it’s out and more. Yes, a lot of players won’t be fussed about transferring over their old games but given that the Xbox Series X/S won’t have any noteworthy releases on launch, it’s a big ask to make the jump when people can just update their current games on PlayStation and get Spider-Man Miles Morales at the same time. Convenience is king.
I’m pretty sure that the cheapest PS5 will be at least $400/£350, maybe even a bit more. Not only for the reasons stated above, but also because I think Sony will really push next-gen power more than Microsoft have. The one big criticism of the Series S is that it really isn’t much more than an Xbox One X (without native 4K) that can play next-gen titles. I believe Sony will double down on their digital edition being a ‘proper’ next-gen console which will run at ‘proper’ 4K and will come with a lot of other technical mumble jumble that I don’t understand but will still sound impressive. Basically Sony will not want to compete with the Series S, they’ll set their sites at taking down the Series X.
I’m also really interested to see if Sony follows in Microsoft’s footsteps with some sort of monthly payment system. I can almost guarantee that they wouldn’t have been considering this option until they saw the opposition announce the plan and receive pretty positive feedback. With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it feels like a move that makes Xbox look like the good guys for making next-gen gaming affordable even during a global pandemic, Sony can’t afford to look like the bad guys here. The big stumbling block comes with PlayStation’s lack of a GamePass.
To make these monthly payments profitable for Microsoft, they force you to take out their GamePass subscription as part of the purchase. I say ‘force’ but in reality it’s a great deal as Xbox GamePass is unquestionably the best service we’ve seen in video games and is quickly establishing itself as Netflix for gamers. This means that if you decide to take out the monthly option for Xbox, you’re essentially getting everything from your console to your games in one easy payment and again, convenience is king. This is only helped by the recent addition of EA Play as part of the service, meaning some of the PS4 updates I mentioned earlier like FIFA may not play a part in people’s decision if it’s available on EA Play or GamePass anyway. So can Sony match this?
It’s highly doubtful. Don’t get me wrong, they may surprise us all and hit us strong with a revamped PlayStation Now which can challenge GamePass during tonight’s showcase, but I can’t help but feel they’ve already lost that battle. I just can’t shake the feeling that this console war is going to come down to tradition vs progression. I predict Sony will launch the PS5 like they have every other console and just rely on their fantastic exclusives to keep people onboard while Xbox will continue to entice new players with modern monthly all-in-one passes and sacrifice next-gen power in order to enter the second console market.
So my official prediction of what to expect during tonight’s showcase event is that they’ll get the price points out the way early because they will be more expensive, but they will show off all the benefits as to why they’re more expensive and will shout at the top of their lungs about Spider-Man Miles Morales, Ratchet & Clank, Gran Turismo 7, Godfall, Horizon Forbidden West and maybe even a God of War or Uncharted sized announcement to really push home the strength of their exclusives. There’s a small chance we get a revamped PS Now announcement tied in with a monthly payment option but I’m not getting my hopes up there. Also, I fully expect Sony to launch one week before Microsoft just to be petty but we’ll see. Either way I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of tonight and remember to make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube channel to follow the PS5 Showcase stream as it happens, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more PS5 discussion coming your way very soon.