Correlation does not imply causation, as the old saying goes, and PS5 and Xbox Series X fans would do well to remember this. Rumors recently started making the rounds that each console would start at $500 because of a financing option listed on the Best Buy website. While it’s true that Best Buy has a $500+ financing promotion, and the promotion shows up on Best Buy’s PS5 and Xbox Series X sites, there may not be any direct connection between those two facts.
Publications like DualShockers pointed to the PS5 and Xbox Series X informational pages on Best Buy, and paid special attention to a small advertisement at the bottom of the page: “Limited time: 18 month financing on storewide purchases $499 and up.” You can then click on a link to learn more.
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The financing option is pretty standard retail stuff. If you have a Best Buy Credit Card and pay off your item within 18 months, you don’t have to pay any interest. If not, the interest rate varies depending on what you buy and how fast you pay it back. You can also get additional Best Buy Rewards. If you’ve ever dealt with a retailer’s financing options before, there’s nothing surprising here.
In theory, because this financing advertisement is on the bottom of the PS5 and Xbox Series X pages, both new consoles will cost at least $500. But this reasoning overlooks two salient facts: First, the 18-month financing is a sitewide promotion, and you can find it on almost every page. Second, Best Buy offers financing options for every console, regardless of price, so there’s no reason why products that cost less than $500 would be excluded.
The first point is probably the most salient. Best Buy’s website, like most retail websites, is designed to sell you stuff — particularly stuff you didn’t come to buy. As such, every part of the Best Buy website is an advertisement for other parts of the Best Buy website. The 18-month financing option is not specific to next-gen consoles; in fact, you can find it on just about any item, from TVs to dishwashers. Granted, I didn’t see the offer advertised alongside cheaper items, like video games and Blu-rays. But advertising $500 financing plans to customers who came to buy a $20 movie would admittedly be a silly strategy.
The second point is also worth considering — and in its defense, DualShockers made it as well. Five-hundred dollars is not some kind of financing threshold. Customers can finance any console on the Best Buy site, whether it’s a $300 Switch or a $400 PS4 Pro. The financing promotion could be there simply to remind customers that financing will be an option, using the $500 number as a placeholder. Since you can’t pre-order a PS5 or an Xbox Series X yet anyway, it’s not as though the promotion has to tie into a specific product.
However, it is worth noting that clicking on the financing offer for the Nintendo Switch reveals a financing option "on storewide purchases $299 and up" rather than the $499 option shown on the PS5 and Xbox Series X pages. This does add a bit of weight to the rumor, but could still very well be a placeholder price.
It’s true that Best Buy is having a promotion for $500 financing, and it’s true that the advertisement has shown up on Best Buy’s PS5 and Xbox Series X pages. But trying to determine console pricing based on those two facts seems specious. While the PS5 and Xbox Series X may very well cost $500 or more, this seems more like business as usual: a store trying to sell things.