The biggest surprise of the PS5 Slim — at least for me — was the price.
Today, Sony dropped a surprise announcement that it is officially releasing a PS5 Slim. The new version of the console, which turns the disc drive into an optional accessory, has decreased in volume by more than 30%, and weight by up to 24% (if you buy the disc version) compared to the current models. If you buy the digital version, you can also choose to add the disc drive later for $79.99.
The most interesting thing about the PS5 Slim might be the price. The company revealed that the new console, which will launch in November (just in time for the holiday season), will cost $499.99 for the version with the disc drive and $449.99 for the digital version. For those who think they might want a disc drive, buying it upfront will only save you $20, so don’t sweat that decision too much.
You can check out the design of the PS5 Slim in Sony’s reveal video below:
The price alone gives Xbox a major win
Okay, let’s talk about the price of the PS5 Slim. I remember watching the Xbox documentary on YouTube and them talking about the launch of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 — Xbox took a big win when it came in significantly under the PlayStation 3 in price. Then, things flipped in the opposite direction when they launched the Xbox One for $499, and the PlayStation 4 launched at $399. Xbox took a big beating in the “console war,” not exclusively, but partly due to the price difference.
That historical context has me scratching my head at what Sony and PlayStation are doing here. The current digital version of the console is $399…so what are those customers getting for the $50 price increase? A smaller console…and a new stand? I don’t see that being worth $50 for anyone, really. I’d rather tell someone to buy the existing $399 version and save the $50 for a game.
In addition, I’m wondering why Sony would choose to increase the starting price of the PS5 when the Xbox Series S was already sitting at $100 cheaper and now, starting in November, $150 cheaper. It’s also common to see the Series S go on sale for $249 during holiday sales. Sony raising the price of the PS5 seems like a great opportunity for Xbox to take back this console generation on cost alone.
When the holidays come around, I wouldn’t be surprised for parents to look at the starting price of an Xbox Series S, look at the starting price of a PlayStation 5 Slim, and buy the Xbox. Sometimes, these purchasing decisions are that simple, and Sony has set itself up for a challenge when it comes to competing there.
Of course, we’ll have to see how things play out. Maybe the gaming community has gotten used to the idea of paying $500 for a console and this won’t change much. However, after thinking about the impact that price played against both companies in the past, I can’t help but wonder if Sony set itself up for a struggle here and handed Xbox an easy win.