It’s hard to believe the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are almost three years old. Since their predecessors had lifespans of around seven or eight years, now seems like a great time to revitalize interest and draw in new customers with a hardware refresh. Microsoft already (and accidentally) laid out its plans for a new, cylindrical Xbox reportedly set to be released sometime next year. Recently, Sony also posted its ideas for a PS5 refresh, and many gamers are having none of it.
On October 10, Sony revealed the new PlayStation 5, and it looks like quite the upgrade. This iteration of the PS5 will take up 30% less space than the original, which essentially makes it the “PS5 Slim” in everything but name. The new PS5’s features will only get better from there. The console will also include a 1 TB SSD; a substantial upgrade considering that the OG PS5 only has an 825 GB SSD and you only get 667 GB out of it due to the operating system.
Perhaps most impressive of all, if you buy the new Digital Edition and decide to purchase some game discs, you won’t need a new console to play them. Just remove one of the lower panels, slot in an Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive (sold separately), and you’re good to go. While Sony announced the new PS5 only a few days ago, you won’t have to wait long to buy one because they will be available this November, just in time for the holidays. So far, this all sounds like good news, but the devil is in the details, and boy oh boy are gamers capable of sifting through details.
The biggest criticism levied against the new PS5 is its price. According to the announcement page, the console will be $499.99, which is the price of a regular PS5. Comparatively, the PlayStation 4 was $399.99 at launch, and when Sony rolled out the PS4 Slim, that console’s smaller form factor came with a discounted price tag of $299.99. Most gamers expected the upcoming tantamount PS5 Slim to follow suit, but it won’t. Meanwhile, anyone who was eying the future Digital Edition is furious because that console will cost $449.99: a full $50 more than the current PS5 Digital Edition. The new PS5’s price problems only get worse from here.
While the new PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition are prominently displayed with a new vertical stand, these images seem to be misleading. The announcement video and blog state that the stand will be a separate item priced at $29.99. The new PS5 will include a “stand” that helps it balance horizontally, but it is a dinky little kickstand-like attachment. If the kickstand breaks, or if anyone wants to save horizontal space by orienting the new PS5 vertically, they will need to purchase the $30 vertical stand.
Sure, potential customers can save money upfront by just purchasing an original PS5 model, but soon they won’t have a choice. The announcement page states in no uncertain terms that Sony isn’t making any more of those consoles. Once store stocks run out, the new PS5 will become the only PS5. Anyone who doesn’t purchase or already owns a PS5 will essentially need to drop an extra $30 on the vertical stand sooner or later, whereas the original PS5 at least included a vertical stand as part of its price. Also, while the optional disc drive sounds like a great way to prevent customers from developing buyer’s remorse over a PS5 Digital Edition, the item will cost $79.99. At that price, gamers who buy a Digital Edition and then a disc drive will spend more money than if they just purchased a new PS5 with the drive pre-installed.
Many gamers view this new PlayStation 5 as little more than an unnecessary price hike. In previous console generations, the halfway mark in a platform’s life cycle was a signal to introduce new, smaller consoles at budget-friendly prices. Instead of following that trend, Sony is stealthily increasing the price of admission with its upcoming consoles. Anyone who buys a new PS5 or a new PS5 Digital Edition will end up spending more money than early adopters. Even if Sony lowers these prices in the (hopefully near) future, gamers will neither forgive nor forget the initial pricing decision.