A reader responds to reports that the PlayStation 5 could end up costing £440 or more in the UK and insists it should be worth it.
I’ve seen a lot of negativity around the internet, and a few on GameCentral, regarding the launch price of the PlayStation 5. I’m going be the devil’s advocate here, and at $500 I believe the PlayStation 5 will be a bargain. Of course, this is subjective and I don’t expect everyone to agree with my thoughts. For the purpose of keeping the figures comparable I will be quoting the costs in dollars, as the information I’ve researched to support this piece are in US currency.
All the news regarding the cost of the PlayStation 5 has so far come from one report, albeit a fairly reliable one. However, nothing can be taken as conclusive or final until Sony announce the price themselves. After all, the PlayStation 1 launched back in the nineties for $100 less than everybody expected.
In any case Sony are producing what seems so far to be a very powerful and capable machine that will be expensive to produce and given early reports the PlayStation 5 will likely be sold at a loss.
The PlayStation 4 initially cost $381 to build and retailed for $399. Taking the retailers’ mark up, tax, distribution, etc. Sony made a huge loss on every console sold. This doesn’t even take into consideration the massive development, tooling, and production costs on the console.
Even more extreme, the PlayStation 3 20GB model cost $499 at launch but cost $805-$840 to manufacture!
Prices have always been high for launch consoles. It’s easy to forget that the NES launched in North America for £179 back in 1985. Taking into account inflation that would equate to early $468 in 2020.
We should be celebrating the fact that Sony will continue this trend and launch the console at a loss, subsidising each and every unit sold. Something Nintendo has never done, yet seem to avoid similar controversy.
Furthermore, to compare the PlayStation 5 to a comparably specced PC would likely cost double the price, and probably the same again for the six or seven years of the console’s lifespan to keep the PC upgraded and reliant.
There are plenty of arguments against the cost, such as ’why pay a premium to be a glorified beta tester?’ to highlight early build issues such as Red/Yellow Lights of Death, Joy-Con drift, etc. You’re essentially paying a premium to be an early adopter, knowing the price will drop later.
All the above is true, but for me to get another 12-18 months’ usage out a system is well worth the $100 or so inevitable price drop.
And what are the alternatives? Launch a cheaper, underpowered system that requires an upgrade in three to four years, meaning you’ve had to pay out twice? Of for Sony to take an even bigger loss at launch?
Let’s say they were to launch at £299. To cut $200 off the price for the 5 million consoles Sony plan to launch would cost them 1 billion dollars! While I’m sure a company such as Sony could survive a loss such as this it would hurt the company badly and likely stall a lot of the internal development of future titles and possibly the PlayStation 6.
We have to be realistic about our expectations. Sony are packing a LOT of tech into this machine and this will come at a cost.
Assuming I’ll be getting a very conservative 100 hours’ usage out of the system each year, and it has a six-year lifespan, that works out at only 83 cents an hour (excluding the game cost) which I believe to be fantastic value for premium entertainment.
Of course, it does involve a $500 initial outlay and I do sympathise with those that have rightly highlighted this is a lot and out of reach for some. But the high price does not constitute bad value and there are a lot of alternatives for those that chose not to pay it.
I for one would struggle to find that money on a whim, but Sony have made the presence of the PlayStation 5 known since April 2019, when Mark Cerney first announced it in Wired magazine. With 19 months since the announcement and the (assumed) launch date of November 2020 has given me plenty of time to save for the system and stockpile Amazon gift cards that I requested for birthday/Christmas gifts in anticipation of this.
As soon as the pre-orders go live I will be putting mine in and looking forward to ‘Quarter 4 2020’ to receive my PlayStation 5, even if it does mean paying upwards of $500 for it!
By reader Huw
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