PS5 Price Hike a Sobering Sign of the Times

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Image: Push Square

As energy bills skyrocket and grocery prices soar, we greeted today’s PS5 price increase news with a shrug: of course it has. The reality is that everything is getting more expensive, from essentials like fruit and vegetables to luxuries like your Netflix subscription – why would video games be exempt? While we won’t be getting our violins out for a billion dollar corporation, the reality is that Sony is feeling the pinch like everyone else.

To be fair, we probably should have seen it coming sooner when Meta massively increased the price of its Quest 2 headset. At the time, we looked upon the “unprecedented” announcement positively: we felt it put PSVR2 in a good place. Now we’re wondering just how much Sony is going to charge for its next-gen headset: its cutting-edge hardware features were already looking costly, but currently we’re worried they may be through the roof.

As we’ve already written, weak currencies in relation to the dollar are undoubtedly affecting the Japanese company. But with Xbox and Nintendo yet to make any adjustments to the pricing of their products, the firm is fast establishing itself as an expensive alternative. We’ve already seen Sony push for $69.99/£69.99 games, which has dominated the discussion around releases like The Last of Us: Part I and Returnal – and now we’re seeing it increase console prices as well.

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Image: Push Square

Looking at the firm’s latest financial report, for the quarter ending 30th June, the PlayStation division did see a 37 per cent decline in profits year-over-year. But it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for the manufacturer when it still generated $4.5 billion in sales and $397.3 million in profit. Many will quite rightly feel that, regardless of any “adverse currency trends”, the company could shoulder the costs a little longer – rather than pass them straight on to the consumer.

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Analysts are already predicting that the price hike will have a negligible impact on the PS5’s sales potential, and we tend to agree. While the stock situation is slowly stabilising, the reality is that the system is still somewhat difficult to find – in fact, we’d argue that had Sony flogged the format at a higher price from the outset, it’d still have moved an identical number of units to date. That’s a sobering outlook.

Our view is that if Sony is going to pitch itself as the premium option, then it needs to start acting like it. There’s no question the PS5 is a great console that’s already amassed a compelling library, but many fans have been left frustrated by the firm’s reluctance to reveal a meaningful roadmap of first-party releases – or, if we’re honest, much of note at all since last September. We don’t even know if there’ll be a PlayStation Showcase this year yet!

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Image: Push Square

Ultimately, the price increase may be a sign of the times, but there’s still an onus the platform holder to justify it. Irrespective of the world’s precarious economic position, there’s been an intangible scruffiness to the way PlayStation has presented itself these past few years. If it is to become the pricier, premium option, then it needs to act like it. The best place to play will need to be more than a mere marketing slogan if it’s also be the most expensive place to play.

What do you make of the PS5 price hike? Do you think Sony is just being greedy, or is the change understandable given the current economic situation? Do you think the company needs to work harder to justify the costs, or will the system sell out regardless? Spend that little extra in the comments section below.

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