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The worst thing about PS5 preorders may have saved you some serious money

Published Sep 24th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
PS5 Preorder
Image: Sony

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  • The PS5 preorders have sold out almost instantly, revealing that most stores had significantly more stock of the regular model than the cheaper $399.99 Digital Edition.
  • Missing out on the initial wave of PS5 Digital Edition units gives you the chance to make a better buying decision.
  • Purchasing the $499.99 might make more sense if you plan to buy used or significantly discounted PS4 games for the console. The advantage of having a disk also ensures better PS5 games deals along the way.
  • All PS5 games will be more expensive than ever, retailing for up to $70 at launch. The same goes for PS5 games.

Sony kicked off PS5 preorders last week, and its retail partners ruined the whole thing for the company. The PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition went on sale on Wednesday after the PS5 event instead of Thursday morning, and many retailers went out of stock by the time preorders were expected to start. Sony has apologized since then, promising that more stock will be available in the coming days, without committing to anything. It’s still up to retailers to manage preorders and inform buyers accordingly. As the days passed, some of the stores involved in preorders disclosed what may be one of the most annoying things about PS5 preorders. And it turns out that Sony’s PS5 preorder problems may have saved you serious money.

As we explained earlier this week, sources from US GameStop stores and UK retailers revealed that the initial PS5 stock allotment favored the regular model significantly. Stores had anywhere between 75% to 80% PS5 stock compared to 20% to 25% PS5 Digital Edition. That explains why you may have missed your window for scoring that PS5 DE that you wanted — and why you may have missed ordering a PS5 altogether.

Sony’s JIM Ryan went on record to say what we expected, that Sony would not disclose the ratio between the two models, and that making products is difficult:

The ratio between the Digital Edition and the disc drive model is currently something we cannot disclose at this time. We cannot give specific information on numbers, but we can say that we plan to produce the necessary number of units to meet the demand for that model type. However, we’ve never produced two different console models at the same time before so deciding on the right number and the right ratio is very hard to know. We are doing our best to predict demand.

The PS5 retails for $499.99, so the PS5 DE’s $399.99 price gives you $100 in instant savings. You only miss that Blu-ray disk, as the two consoles offer the same kind of hardware. That’s a massive advantage over the new Xbox lineup, as the Series S isn’t as powerful as the Series X — or the two PS5 models. But it’s also a huge problem for Sony.

The company is already expected to sell this first wave of PS5 units at a loss, and the loss might be even more difficult to swallow on the Digital Edition. The good news, however, is that Sony will stand to make more money off of the disc-less console, as the only way to get games to it is from the digital store.

This brings us to the money-saving part for you, the consumer. Buying the $399.99 PS5 DE will let you save $100 instantly. But you’ll have to pay full sticker price for all the PS4 and PS5 games you want to buy. That means up to $70 for PS5 optimized games, and whatever those PS4 games cost in the store.

Should you take that other route, and spring $100 more for the regular version, then you stand to save more money in the long run. That’s because of that built-in Blu-ray disc that lets you install games the traditional way. You’ll be able to buy used PS4 and PS5 games and take advantage of plenty of games promos along the way from your local games shop. The $499.99 PS5 deal might be an even cheaper solution for parents who purchase the console for their young children and will be in charge of managing their collection of games for the foreseeable future.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.