A price-related stare-off between PlayStation and Xbox begins. Who will flinch first? Sony's CFO has suggested that the PlayStation company will wait to see how the Xbox Series X is priced up before determining its own price level. How much will the new PlayStation 5 cost? One of the factors appears to be the Xbox Series X's retail price. That's the interpretation of commentary offered by Sony's Chief Financial Officer, Hiroki Totoki, who was speaking to investors after Sony announced its latest quarterly earnings.
Responding to a question about variables Sony can and cannot control when transitioning to Holiday 2020's PlayStation 5 era, Totoki remarked that competition with other companies is one factor that could affect the PS5's price to an as-yet unknown degree. "What is not very clear or visible is because we are competing in the space, so it's very difficult to discuss anything about the price at this point of time," he said, according to Video Games Chronicle's translation.
"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." In other words, the company is yet to determine by how much it will subsidize the retail price of the PS5: one significant factor is going to be the price of competitors' products. Given that the Nintendo Switch has been on the market since 2017, and Nintendo claims it will not release a major revision in 2020, the implication is that Sony is carefully watching Microsoft's Xbox division and its own Holiday 2020 offering, the Xbox Series X.
For comparison, the November 2013 PlayStation 4 launched at $399 USD, its price (and final internal specifications) announced in June 2013, mere hours after Microsoft had set a $499 launch price for the Xbox One. Following gradual price cuts to the base PS4 and XBO consoles, a more powerful PS4 Pro had launched in November 2016, at $399 just like its direct predecessor, while the Xbox One X became the world's most powerful games console when it debuted at $499 in November 2017.
Meanwhile, Nintendo introduced its 2017 Switch at $299, with a September 2019 Switch Lite, an all-in-one unit without TV Out or detachable controllers, launched at $199.