The PlayStation 5 release date may still be a year or so away, but looking at Sony’s current position in the industry could help us infer what’s going to happen when it comes to the launch of the next generation.
A new interview with PlayStation CEO and President Jim Ryan, in which the PlayStation boss notes the PS5 is already “way beyond any experience they’ve had on any other PlayStation platform,” could also hold some hints about how Sony will price the console at launch.
One of the most interesting pieces in the GamesIndustry.biz interview saw Ryan talking about the explosive growth of PS Now, and how that’s going to impact the future of the platform.
Ever since Sony announced a price cut and began a new marketing push last month – in which we saw TV ads, theatre placements and more outline the benefits of a PS Now membership – the company saw a 50% increase in subscribers.
PS Now, as a result, currently boasts over 1,000,000 subscribers.
“We are taking this very seriously. The commitment we’ve made in terms of price cuts, the investment in content, the marketing campaign… It’s a pretty vivid illustration of that seriousness. We’ve been doing this for a number of years and very quietly we’ve been taking an awful lot from it,” explains Ryan.
So how could that affect the price of the PS5? Well, Sony has been known to take a hit on the retail price of its hardware at launch in order to exert more pressure on the competitors, and get more users through the door at an early stage.
If Sony knows it can recoup costs via subscribers to its services (PS Now and PS Plus), it’ll be even more incentivized to take a hit out the door to strengthen its ecosystem in the long-term.
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We already know that gamers expect the PS5 price to come in at roughly £399 or higher – 71% of respondents to a Daily Star poll said they’d pay more than that.
But go too high and you risk alienating a massive share of the market – something Sony has done before, back with the launch of the PS3.
By taking a hit, lowering the barrier to entry at the start of the generation, and making sure fans continue to pay into the PlayStation ecosystem going forward, Sony could quickly secure a foothold in the brave new world of this generation – something it’ll need to do to fend off the advances of Google Stadia and Xbox Scarlett .
We’re already seeing Microsoft mobilising its audience, offering a payment scheme so people can assure themselves an Xbox Scarlett console at launch if they start paying in now.
We’re already starting to see the first tentative steps into the next-gen price wars. Things are about to get interesting.