The PS5 price was decided in early 2020, long before Microsoft had unveiled the price of its Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, it seems – meaning that the perceived game of chicken on price between the two manufacturers didn't exist.
The assertion comes from Sony Interactive Entertainment boss, Jim Ryan, in an exclusive interview with Edge (opens in new tab), where Ryan stated that the PS5's price had effectively been decided far back in early 2020 – as many centuries ago as that feels.
"Our preferred pricing was determined early in this calendar year, pre-lockdown," says Ryan, in response to a question over how Sony's strategy for the console had changed throughout 2020.
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When pressed on whether Sony's preferred price changed at all, Ryan had this to say:
"[Flatly] No. No, no, it didn't, no. We've been able to launch PlayStation 5 at $399, with all the horsepower and the feature set that the console has, at the same price that we launched the PS4 back in 2013. That was important for us, and we're very happy that we've been able to do that."
It's an interesting counter to what many perceived as a cold war on pricing between Sony and Microsoft throughout the year, with both holding back on announcing the final RRP for each console until quite close to release.
Microsoft unveiled its Xbox Series X pricing in September – $499 / £449 / AU$749 – alongside its far cheaper and lower-spec Xbox Series S console, which could well have panicked Sony execs with its $299.99 / £249.99 / AU$499 price tag.
Sony's $499 / £449 / AU$749.95 PS5 does have a step-down alternative, of course – the $399.99 / £359.99 / AU$599.95 Digital Edition – and it's notable that Ryan cites the discless version's lower price in the interview, seemingly treating the pricier console as an outlier or secondary console rather than the other way around.
We likely won't see a meaningful price drop on any of these consoles until well until 2021, and the widely-expected PS5 Slim probably won't arrive for another 2-3 years from this point.
It's certainly an enlightening interview, with Ryan also delving into Sony's continued focus on the Japanese gaming market – but you can read the full interview in Edge E353 (opens in new tab).
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