We're still in the dark when it comes to what the PS5 price might be; unfortunately for us and anyone wanting a PS5 pre-order, Sony seems to be playing chicken with Microsoft on who announces the cost first. We can't be far off, though. After the appearance of a mysterious product listing by a French retailer and a datamine on a new PlayStation website, an announcement about the PS5 price seems like it's closing in. Especially considering a statement made during the Summer of Gaming's PS5 controller first impressions stream.
- Next-gen explained: PS5
"We will let you know when you can pre-order PS5," the worldwide head of PlayStation marketing said during the event. "It's not gonna happen with a minute's notice". This is a relief; it means we won't be blindsided by a PS5 pre-order or PS5 price announcement that leaves us scrambling for our wallets. It also means we won't be disappointed by the console going out of stock before many of us are even aware that pre-orders have gone live.
Can you imagine? It'd be gutting. Especially with everything we've seen over the last few months. Although the June Future of Gaming event didn't reveal a PS5 price or PS5 pre-order deal, it was packed with hot new information nonetheless. For example, we got our first look at upcoming PS5 games (including Horizon Forbidden West) and the physical PS5 design itself.
Or should we say designs, plural? That's right, there will be two kinds of PlayStation 5 released later this year - the standard PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition. The latter looks slightly slimmer and sheds the disc-drive, so it should be cheaper overall.
Sadly, we're still not sure how they'll stack up against each other in terms of cost... or how it'll compare to the Xbox Series X. Let's get into some speculation, shall we?
PS5 price - how much will it cost?
The cost of next-gen has become a hot topic over the last few months. Indeed, we're in the dark about the price of PS5 and the Xbox Series X price. Although an investor call with Sony's chief financial officer claimed that PlayStation is "analyzing the cost, the acceptable price in the market, and platform penetration" of PS5, we suspect Sony and Microsoft are waiting for the other to blink first. Not that we're complaining, of course. If they want to undercut each other, that's good news for us gamers.
What's more, that focus on an "acceptable" PS5 price gives us hope that it won't cost a bomb - as do comments by Wired's Peter Rubin on Twitter. According to him, PS5 architect Mark Cerny said that he "believe[s] that we will be able to release it at an SRP that will be appealing to gamers in light of its advanced feature set".
This adds to our suspicion that standard PS5 pre-orders will launch somewhere between $400 - $500 / £400 - £500 / AU$700 - $800 (you can probably knock off $50 / £50 / AU$100 for the PS5 Digital Edition). That would be incredible value; the PS5 is shaping up to rival the best gaming PCs in terms of tech, and it's more than capable of giving the Xbox Series X specs a run for their money.
That's because Sony is teaming up with hardware giant AMD again to create the best-in-class PS5 specs. More specifically, it's been confirmed that we're getting a modified third-generation Ryzen 3 processor and advanced Navi-based graphics that'll enable ray tracing, a supremely fancy lighting system. The real game-changer is the addition of the PS5 SSD, though. This will slash load times by a considerable amount (if you want a little taste of how SSDs can speed up your life, be sure to check out our guide to the best PS4 SSD).
Some have complained that the PS5's 825GB SSD isn't as big as the 1TB NVMe equivalent in the Xbox Series X, but let's look on the bright side. The PS5 price would be much, much higher if Sony had opted for a larger SSD.
Will the PS5 Digital Edition be cheaper?
Neither console had a price tag mentioned during the Future of Gaming presentation, but it would be safe to assume the PS5 Digital Edition will be cheaper than the regular one. Marginally, anyway - we're assuming the only difference is the lack of a disc-drive. Because the disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is only $50 / £50 / AU$50 less than the standard Xbox One S, we think that might be the sort of price gap between the two PS5 models.
However, much like with the Xbox, we can't see the digital model being a decent choice. PSN games in most territories cost significantly more than their physical counterparts (obscenely so in the UK), and prices take much longer to drop. Not to mention the fact that you shut yourself out from playing pre-owned games, your old DVDs, and 4K Blu-rays.
We could be proven wrong, particularly if PS Now evolves into a worthy rival for Xbox Game Pass, but at the time of writing we'd recommend sticking with the standard PS5.
What about PS5 bundles and deals?
Despite the unveiling of new PS5 games, it remains unclear as to which ones will be out at launch. That said, we do expect Assassin's Creed Valhalla and FIFA 21 to be shoe-ins for inclusion. They're coming out at a similar time to the PS5, so bundling them together makes sense. It's the same story with the PS5 controller charging dock and the PS5 Pulse 3D gaming headset.
Just don't expect those offers to be cheaper than buying both items separately - next-gen consoles aren't normally discounted at launch, and we're more likely to get a few free months of PS Plus instead.
No matter what, we hope Sony will continue the tradition of its bundles coming with physical copies of the game to increase resale value. We can't guarantee it, though. Because Microsoft only included download codes with Xbox One bundles (as per Nintendo with Nintendo Switch bundles), we wouldn't be surprised to see Sony go the same way with its PS5 pre-order bundles. If that's the case, we might be needing a new broadband deal to download those gargantuan install files.
Where can I pre-order a PS5?
As for where you can pre-order the PS5, it comes down to the usual suspects (unless there's a limited number of consoles available at launch due to coronavirus-related limitations on manufacturing, that is). In the US, Amazon will be the most popular pick thanks to its vast network and super fast shipping options. Walmart and Best Buy will also be taking orders, and you'll probably have the option of picking up in-store as well. GameStop will be taking orders both online and in-store too.
In the UK, Amazon will be a hot spot for stock once again. Additionally, we expect Argos, Game, and Currys to have stock online and in stores. Smaller online stores like Very and AO.com should be worth a look as well.
In Australia, Amazon will likewise be the most obvious candidate, though JB Hi-Fi and EB Games will also have stock. As far as other big local retailers, Big W is taking expressions of interest, though there's no sign yet as to whether others, like Target and K-mart, will follow suit.
Will I have to pay upfront for a PS5 pre-order?
At most, we'd expect in-store reservations for a PS5 pre-order to require a deposit between $50 - $100 / £50 - £100 / AU$100 - AU$150. As for online orders, we wouldn't expect them to take money from your account until your PS5 bundle is shipped. Do look out for any mentions of a deposit being taken at the time of ordering, though. And don't forget, your deposit comes off the final price.
If any online retailers want payment in full way before release date, we'd arguably shop around as that's not regular practice at most stores. And given margins on gaming console are ridiculously small, if any pre-order price looks suspiciously good, it may well be bogus. Stick with the stores you know.
That's what we'll be doing on this page once PS5 pre-orders are live - we only link to tried and tested retailers that we'd be happy ordering from ourselves.
PS5 coronavirus delay?
PlayStation CEO, Jim Ryan, recently told the BBC that despite complications caused by coronavirus, the PS5 release date and price remain unaffected:
"It's obviously introducing a level of complexity any business would prefer not to have to deal with," he said. "But we're feeling really good about the supply chain, we're going to launch this year and we'll be global... We're going to launch this holiday, we're going to have a global launch, and we're feeling good about things."
Good news, right? Sort of. Although we'll definitely be getting PS5 pre-order deals at the end of this year (no matter what the PS5 price is), there's no telling how many are actually going to be available during the first few months. In fact, a new report from Bloomberg claims that Sony expects to produce "5 to 6 million units [of the PS5] in the fiscal year ending March 2021". By comparison, the PS4 managed to sell 7.5 million units in the first two quarters of its life alone.
- PS5 vs Xbox Series X – will Sony dominate the next-generation?
With murmurs that Sony is releasing a limited batch of initial PS5 stock, we've just got to hope we can get our mitts on the console when it comes out. After all, it's unclear just how big an impact COVID-19 will have on the PS5, and whether those production woes will spread to the Xbox Series X.
When will we know more?
Why hasn't Sony announced the PS5 pre-order price yet? A recent third-quarter earnings call at Sony hints at their reasoning for playing coy. As CFO Hiroki Totoki explained, "because we are competing in the space, [...] it’s very difficult to discuss anything about the price at this point of time, and depending upon the price level, we may have to determine the promotion that we are going to deploy and how much costs we are prepared to pay.”
It's not hard to read between the lines here. With Microsoft yet to confirm the Series X's cost, Sony isn't quite ready to commit to a PS5 price either. And as for determining the "costs" the company's willing to pay, it sounds like a decision has yet to be made on whether Sony is willing to cut into its profit line on each console sold. We imagine Sony will want to avoid selling the console at a loss as it did with the PlayStation 3 at launch.
There's no denying the coronavirus pandemic is giving both Sony and Microsoft pause for thought too, especially with E3 being canceled. In reality, we expect it'll be the end of summer before we see an official PS5 price.
How specs will impact the PS5 price
Let's do a bit of maths (based on really rough estimates) to see what the PS5 price would be if we were to create the console right now, shall we? The biggest expense is likely to be two-fold: graphics processing and the SSD storage.
Let's look at the GPU first. Right now, you'd be looking at an RTX 2080 equivalent graphics card (e.g., the best graphics cards) to handle ray tracing at any kind of decent frame rate or resolution. To produce ray tracing at 4K - before we even get to the 8K Sony has promised - you will need a powerful chip like a Radeon VII, or whatever the Navi equivalent will be inside the PS5. For a GPU that can handle 4K gaming at 30fps and medium-high settings, you'd be looking at $800.
Now, onto that SSD. If you go bargain hunting right this second, you'll pay $350 for a 1TB NVMe SSD from the likes of Samsung. Sure, you can go cheaper, but Sony is claiming that the PS5's SSD will outperform all current PC SSDs - as such, $350 or more is about right.
With that in mind, we're already looking at $1,000+ build. And that's before you take other parts into account. We assume 32GB of RAM at a minimum, a Ryzen 7 equivalent CPU with 8 cores (which we know about), and all the cooling, power, wireless tech, and casing required to keep everything together... well, that's another $500 - $800 at least.
Then there's the DualSense controller. It contains haptic feedback that's going to replace the traditional vibrations we've had for a long time, increasing immersion in games literally through touch and feel. The adaptive triggers will also seek to increase immersion by offering differing resistance depending on what you're doing in-game, like drawing a bow or driving over gravel. That's bound to increase the PS5 price.
This doesn't mean the PS5 will cost over $1,000, though. Given the strides in GPU development and the inevitable cost-cutting Sony has arranged, the PS5 should be a fair bit cheaper than that by the time it launches; there's no doubt time, efficiency, and mass production will decrease the cost of PS5's components. As such, the PS5 price should be brought down to more acceptable levels when it releases at the end of this year.
What history tells us about PS5 price
When it launched on November 15 2013 in the USA, a first edition PS4 would have set you back $399. Had you purchased the console on day one, as one million people did in North America alone, there was just one configuration being sold: a black model with 500GB of storage. From what we can tell, it's going to be a similar story for the PS5 - besides an extra, otherwise-identical Digital Edition, there won't be alternate colors or storage capacities upon launch. Unlike the Series X (if rumours are to be believed, anyway) there's not going to be a more / less powerful version of the console either.
That's likely to come some way down the road. For example, the PS4 Pro touched down almost exactly three years after the original system hit shelves with 4K capabilities and improved visuals. In addition, a smaller PS4 Slim arrived at a lower cost. That means the PS5 price is likely to drop as and when it's replaced by a slimmer, more efficient model in a few years.
Given the lucrative success of the PS4 and its many models, it would come as no surprise if Sony wanted to keep PS5 price similar. However, judging by everything we've heard so far, that may not be the case this time around. Ambition seems to be outweighing financial prudence, and Sony clearly thinks it has built up the PlayStation brand enough to put out a more expensive PlayStation. And when millions of people around the world regularly spend close to $1000 on the latest mobile phones from the likes of Apple and Samsung, you can't blame them for aiming high. We'll just have to hope it's not a repeat of the disastrous PS3 launch.