Microsoft’s premature reveal of the Xbox Series S and X price points was surprising. Not only is the console maker selling a $300 option, but it’s also including a payment plan for both the hot plate and fridge. It welcomes in a whole crowd of people that might otherwise be locked out of getting a console and Sony would be wise to do the same with the PS5 whenever it actually announces a price.
Regardless of when Sony announces how much it will cost, it just isn’t going to win the price war against Microsoft. The Series S is a weaker system when compared to the Series X and PS5, which gives Microsoft the ability to sell it at such a dramatically reduced price. You get what you pay for.
The two PS5 systems are not built like that. Both PS5s have the same horsepower; one just doesn’t let you play physical media. Only cutting out the disc drive without also dialing down the power doesn’t leave much room for Sony to compete with a $300 box. The PS5 Digital Edition is going to be cheaper, but not by much. After all, the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition was only $50 cheaper than its counterpart with the disc drive.
There’s not a lot of wiggle room there and almost ensures that Sony won’t have the cheapest box. Price is important and mandating that people pay (presumably) $400 or $450 when there is a cheaper next-generation system for $300 is a harder sell. Sure, it’s a weaker system, but not everyone needs the strongest, most powerful system and those people would probably want to spend less on a console. A payment plan wouldn’t make the console cheaper than the Series S overall, but it would lessen some of the sticker shock, which is what Sony needs to do to be competitive while keeping its stronger console.
PlayStation All Access…?
A monthly payment plan would help ease in those who might not otherwise afford one either. Appealing to people with tighter budgets is almost always good, but even more crucial now. Unemployment is still rather high in the United States. Wallets are tight. The virus is continuing to impact people’s mental, physical, and economic well-being. Now is not the time to push such a premium, luxury device without any sort of softer alternatives. You have to read the room, especially if you don’t want to cave on your initiative to not maker less powerful consoles and push next-gen at all costs.
Microsoft has offered systems like this in the past and the plans for the Xbox Series consoles are just as good. It lets players pay either $25 or $35 a month depending on the system for 24 months and they get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Even though some people may not want Game Pass Ultimate, it ends up being cheaper than buying both separately. The plan gets you into Microsoft’s ecosystem (a win for Microsoft) and a more affordable Xbox (a win for you and Microsoft). The name itself — Xbox All Access — even makes it sound like a cool club and not some boring way to pay off a piece of electronics.
VentureBeat reported that GameStop is considering payment plans for both the PS5 and Xbox Series family of systems. It’s smart as it helps out everyone involved yet Sony needs to do something more official that covers more than just one desperate retailer. Sony has the games and fan following that will likely make the PS5 a success, but when Microsoft is coming out swinging, the house of PlayStation needs to make sure it is swinging back on every front, too.