With the PlayStation 5 release date closing in—now around five months away—and the console’s design revealed, one of the last big questions to answer about the next-generation of consoles is the price. In fact, both Microsoft and Sony have been rather quiet when it comes to price points for their respective consoles, each casting obvious side-eyes at the other waiting to see who is going to flinch first. Sony, however, isn’t necessarily trying to hit a certain PS5 price point, but rather ensure there’s clear value at wherever the PS5 price lands.
Whether the PS5 price ends up being $400, $500, or even $600 (the same high price point that severely clouded the PS3’s launch), PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan wants to make sure players are getting the value for their money. “Conventional wisdom and history show that our business is one of the more recession-proof businesses,” Ryan said in an interview with the BBC. “But I think this will sharpen our need to ensure that we focus on getting the value equation right. And I emphasize value as opposed to price.”
He continued, “We must be more attentive than ever before to ensure that the overall value proposition in terms of the console and the games—the range of games, the quality of games, the quantity of games—makes this something that our community aspires towards.” This isn’t the first time Ryan has talked about the “value proposition” in regards to the PS5’s price.
Ryan’s comments don’t necessarily have a bearing on the final price point of Sony’s next-gen console (and I can say with almost 100% certainty that Sony doesn’t even have a final price locked in internally), but rather communicates that no matter where it does land, Sony is making sure that the value proposition matches or beats the number on the box. They company will not compromise on features just to ensure the console meets a certain lower price point. While it does understandably create some concerns about the PS5 being notably on the pricier side—especially when considering Mark Cerny’s comments last year—Sony is clearly committed to making sure the console feels like a true next-gen leap.
Sony also has the opportunity to use its two console skus—that standard PS5 and the PS5 digital edition—to dynamically play with the price, something that the company is no doubt already heavily considering. Much of that decision could come down to how Microsoft prices the Xbox Series X and Sony’s reaction, if they can hold out long enough to not make the first move on pricing. It seems like an ongoing game of chicken between the two companies, who are each arguably providing very different strategies for their respective platforms, but with holiday 2020 ticking ever closer, somebody is going to have to blink first.