- This holiday, the next-generation Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox video game consoles are scheduled to arrive.
- Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are largely known quantities at this point, except for one crucial detail: price.
- The PlayStation 5 could cost nearly $500, sources within the company told Bloomberg, due to manufacturing costs and parts. The Xbox Series X could be similarly priced.
- The decision is a crucial one: Price of the new consoles is the most important factor in choosing one over the other, according to a recent survey with over 50,000 participants.
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Next-generation video game consoles from Sony and Microsoft — the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, respectively — are scheduled to arrive this holiday season.
Though much is known about each console, there’s still one major question: How much will the two new consoles cost?
Neither company has said as much officially, but Sony’s PlayStation 5 has a potential price tag: At least $470, and maybe more, according to sources within Sony speaking to Bloomberg. The Xbox Series X, from Microsoft, could be similarly priced — in terms of horsepower, the two consoles are remarkably similar on paper.
Notably, price is a crucially important factor when people are deciding which console to buy. It’s arguably the most important factor.
A new survey proves out that logic: Price won out over several other crucial factors.
50,000+ of you have spoken and PRICE seems to be the most important factor for Next Gen consoles.
I’d have guessed Exclusive Games would be higher than 13%🤔 pic.twitter.com/5LLbXbxl7P
— Ed Boon (@noobde) February 18, 2020
The survey, conducted by “Mortal Kombat” creator Ed Boon on Twitter, got over 50,000 responses from exactly the kind of folks who are likely to at least consider buying a new game console.
Beyond stuff like “better graphics” and “exclusive games,” the most important factor of all was an “affordable price.” And in the last few generations of game consoles, “affordable” pricing meant “$400 or less.”
Take Sony’s PlayStation 3, for example: In 2006, Sony launched the PlayStation 3 as a follow up to its wildly successful PlayStation 2.
The Japanese consumer electronics giant was riding high on the landmark success of its prior console, and set the price of its new PlayStation higher than ever before: The base model would cost $500, and a premium model with more storage would cost $600.
When the PlayStation 3 launched in November 2006, it arrived alongside a wave of criticism from consumers and game makers alike. Consumers didn’t like the notoriously high price of the console, and game makers didn’t like the complexity of making games for the PS3, which used a non-traditional “Cell” processor instead of the more familiar architecture used by Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
“I’m getting concerned about Sony; the PlayStation 3 is losing a bit of momentum and they don’t make it easy for me to support the platform,” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said in a June 2009 interview, two years after the PS3 launched. “It’s expensive to develop for the console, and the [Nintendo] Wii and the Xbox  are just selling better.”
The PlayStation 3’s reception looked especially bad by comparison with the competition: Nintendo’s Wii was at peak popularity, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was a runaway success despite requiring a $1 billion recall program in the wake of the so-called “Red Ring of Death” scandal.
It took years for Sony to make up some of the ground it lost to competition from Microsoft and Nintendo, after lowering the price of the PlayStation 3 and bolstering the console’s game library. By the time the PlayStation 4 launched in 2013, Sony had ingested the lessons of the PlayStation 3’s failures.
The cost of the PlayStation 4? $400.
The PlayStation 4, which was priced $100 lower than Microsoft’s $500 Xbox One at launch, has gone on to sell over 100 million units across seven years.
A variety of factors go into the success of any game console, of course — a killer line-up of PlayStation 4-only games has kept people buying PlayStation 4 consoles across the last seven years, but few of those were available at launch. And Microsoft’s Xbox One launched with its own sleight of Xbox-only games.
The crucial difference between the two consoles, which launched just one week apart? $100.
Nintendo’s Switch doesn’t compete in horsepower with Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, but it’s the only portable console and it has a murderer’s galley of killer games you can only play on the Switch.
More importantly: it’s very affordable, with the Nintendo Switch Lite coming in at just $200.
The next Xbox and PlayStation consoles are unlikely to compete with that low of a price, but it’s clear that consumers will be watching as Microsoft and Sony set the prices for their new consoles in the next six months — and it could make all the difference in the long run.
SEE ALSO: The price of the PlayStation 5 may top $450, and that could cost Sony the next major battle with Xbox in the console wars
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