As their touted ‘holiday 2020’ release windows draw closer, we’re learning more and more about the PS5 and Xbox Series X - and this week we're seeing exactly why we can't believe the 'leaked' PS5 price.
As new console hype starts to build, gamers tend to look to their wallets next. However, despite a solid understanding of the consoles internal specs (if not the external design, in the case of the PS5), one vital factor still eludes us: the PS5 price.
The internet is rife with armchair economists doing the maths on what all these components will cost, and web-crawling sleuths spotting any sign of a pre-order page on retailers, and spouting the price tag as a coded message from the Sony and Microsoft gods on high.
But they can’t be trusted – and this week we've seen perfect evidence that retailers 'leaking' prices just should never be believed until Sony itself announces the cost.
- Sony PS5: everything we know so far
- Best PS4 games: all of them are coming, but which will come first?
- PS5 vs Xbox Series X: all the info to compare the next-gen consoles
- PS5 price: how much will the next console cost?
The latest PS5 price rumors
Two leaks this week in particular have had the fanboys and fangirls in a frenzy over the PS5’s potential price – and both could not be more distant from each other.
First, a look at Danish retailer føtex. It’s listing the PlayStation 5 for a pre-order price of 6,989 Danish krone, which converts to around $1043/ £837. That’s an eye-watering price – especially compared to the PS4’s launch cost of $399 / £349.
Next up is Canadian retailer Play N Trade Vancouver Island, which has kicked off pre-orders for the PS5 at CA$559.99. That’s roughly US$396 or £318. Which by comparison to even the PS4 is an absolute steal. And as such, just as much of a shot in the dark as the Danish price tag.
Guesswork and estimations for guaranteed custom
It’s an obvious point, but the fact is that, until Sony (and for that matter, Microsoft) give an official word on the next-gen console pricing, we’ll be no surer of the price than if we’d asked the ‘psychic’ octopus that predicts sports scores.
The year 2020, as it progresses, is turning into one of the most difficult of all time to make economic predictions.
Though both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are said to be on course for their intended release dates, the Covid-19 pandemic is decimating workforces across the globe, and disrupting supply chains required to create any sort of gadgetry.
The knock-on effect to component prices, and potential shortages, is yet to be felt – and as such, yet to be reflected in a price tag.
Both Sony and Microsoft will likely wait until the very last minute to finalise pricing as a result, as they assess the most accurate projections on the margins they will achieve on their hardware sales.
It’s telling that there’s still yet to be a reveal of the PS5’s exterior design – and the coronavirus outbreak has almost undoubtedly disrupted plans to do so there, too.
As for the retailers, they’re just as eager for news as the gaming fans themselves, but for very different reasons. The sooner they can start listing a price, the sooner they can start saving money to allow for it.
They’ll be aware that the first run of stock for a new console often falls short of demand, and that gamers will be happy to stump up the cash early in order to guarantee a day-one machine.
Whether the price is higher or lower than the final RRP makes little difference – there will be T&Cs, in most cases, that keep both retailer and customer safe in the event of any huge discrepancy in cost. Retailers can tweak what they're demanding in terms of pricing to stay competitive once a set price is revealed, and gamers are unlikely to withdraw an order once placed for fear of missing out on inevitably low stock if they do so.
And so wildly varying pre-order price tags will remain the norm until Sony shows its true hand.
For now then, relax. We’ve got our own price estimations over at our PS5 news and rumors hub guide – and we’d be remiss if not to suggest that you take even our carefully-researched estimations with a pinch of salt.
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Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.