It looks like Sony still hasn’t settled on a price for the PS5 (opens in new tab), as Reddit user youessbee (opens in new tab) shared what they claim to be a survey from Neilson asking for their thoughts on pricing.
The survey, which you can see a screenshot of below, allegedly presents two random prices and asks for the respondent’s views. This particular Reddit user received two ridiculously low prices which just seem beyond implausible for us, so we’re pretty sure that when Neilson says “random” they really mean it.
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We’re going to go out on a limb right now and say there’s simply no way the PS5 will launch at £349 with a digital edition at £259. That translates to ~$436 and ~$323, which would be just $36 more than the PS4 Pro, and $64 cheaper than the launch price of the 20GB PS3. But if you read between the lines, it seems something really interesting is happening here.
If Nielson is generating random prices, then it stands to reason that some users have been presented with exorbitantly high ones to comment on. Sony is presumably amassing a whole range of prices, sending them out to users and seeing the point at which people flip from “shut up and take my money” to “uh, I think I’ll wait for a sale.”
It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean the company needs a majority to think the price is appealing. Sony will have its own sales targets in mind based on the number of units it can physically produce and the reduction in production costs over time.
Why is the PS5 price so contentious?
The PS5’s price has been the source of much speculation, partly because you can come up with a rational argument that it’ll be pleasingly low or higher than we’ve ever seen before.
Just last a PS5 price leak (opens in new tab) from IronManPS5 (opens in new tab) on Twitter claimed that the PS5 will cost $499 in the US and £449 in the UK when it launches at the end of the year. The leaker also revealed that the PS5 Digital Edition (opens in new tab) will be $100 and £100 less than its disk drive-equipped sibling, costing $399 and £349 in the US and UK, respectively.
Price pessimists will just point at the hardware. The closest thing we have to the console’s GPU specs costs around $350 on its own (opens in new tab), while a 825GB SSD will easily clear the $100 mark with a Blu Ray drive adding another $100. That’s already $550, and that’s before we factor in the other bits necessary for it to run: a CPU, RAM, a mainboard, a gamepad – that kind of thing. Do the math, and even with bulk pricing discounts and Sony prepared to take a hit to get the hardware in people’s homes, a price tag of $600 or higher doesn’t feel implausible.
But equally true is the inescapable fact that a console can live and die by its launch pricing. Sony has only ‘lost’ one console war since entering the market, and that was the PS3. Why did it lose? Well, it certainly didn’t help that while Microsoft was flogging the 20GB Xbox 360 for $400 and a cheaper memory card-only system for $299, Sony was struggling to convince people that a $500 20GB PS3 was a good investment – let alone the $600 60GB model.
In all likelihood, Sony will eventually come down somewhere in the middle: absorbing some of the costs, but not exactly giving the console away either.