In the early hours of Thursday morning, Sony announced some big news for its PlayStation 5 family of consoles. Around the world, console prices are rising.
The price increase for both PlayStation 5 models (one with a disc drive and one without) is effective immediately in at least six regions, with Japan joining the fight over the price increase on September 15. sony ad it lists specific price increases for some of its largest gaming territories, but also warns that “select markets” may see their own price increases in the coming days. These include territories in the Asia-Pacific region, Central and South America, and the massive group of nations that comprises EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).
Somehow, one region in particular is out of Sony’s sights for now: the United States.
|PS5 price increases, August 2022|
|Europe (all digital)||€449.99||€399.99||12.5|
|UK (all digital)||£389.99||£359.99||8.3|
|Japan*||54,980 yen||49,980 yen||10|
|Japan (all digital)*||44,980 yen||39,980 yen||12.5|
|Porcelain||4299 yuan||3,899 yuan||10.3|
|China (all digital)||3499 yuan||3,099 yuan||12.9|
|Australia (all digital)||$649.95||$599.95||8.3|
|Mexico (all digital)||MX$12,499||MX$11,499||8.7|
|Canada (all digital)||CAD519.99||$499.99||4|
* Japan’s price hike will not take effect until September 15, 2022.
The price increase appears to be a fixed amount of currency in each affected region for both PS5 models. So, on a percentage basis, the more affordable PS5 models without disc drives bear the brunt of today’s news. Canada comes off easier with today’s increase on a percentage basis, while Europe, Japan and China are tied for the most severe PS5 price increases.
Sony attributes price jumps across the board to two main economic factors: rising inflation and record lows for the Japanese yen. US purchasing power doesn’t seem immune to any of those problems, so it’s not clear whether Sony’s guarantee of “no price gouging in the US” is ironclad.
Bad news for the next PSVR2?
The price increase follows similar news from Meta’s virtual reality division, which opted to increase the prices of its Quest 2 VR system late last month. Meta tried to soften the impact of its $100 price hike across the board by including a free download of its popular rhythm action game. beat saberwhich normally retails for $30.
As of press time, Sony has not suggested that it will include any downloadable freebies as part of its price increase plan, although its price increase currently does not appear to exceed 13 percent in any region, unlike the price increase of Goal reaching 25 or 33 percent, depending on the model.
Interestingly, Sony’s Tuesday launch window announcement about its upcoming virtual reality system, PlayStation VR2, didn’t suggest a retail price. Perhaps Sony is keeping that news under wraps to buy more time to price the PS5 add-on amid current market realities. (This may prompt a rethink of our recent PSVR2 pricing guesses.)
Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland recently researched the history of console pricing, though his analysis mostly revolved around the Nintendo Switch, a 2017 console that has had more years to grow in terms of its price-performance ratio. Had that best-selling console followed historical console price trends, Orland’s analysis suggests its price could have dropped to somewhere between $150 and $180 in the United States. However, a combination of economic factors, including chip shortages and unusually high demand for a years-old gaming system, has helped it rapidly drop back to its original MSRP worldwide.
Orland’s report was due in part to Nintendo recently assuring investors and financial watchdogs in its home country of Japan that the price of the Switch would not increase in the near future. Neither Sony nor Microsoft’s Xbox division had made similar promises before Thursday’s PS5 news. Microsoft enjoys some advantages over Sony in the same inflation-ridden market: namely a more diverse financial portfolio, more than double Sony’s cash reserves, and much less reliance on the Japanese yen. Time will tell whether Microsoft will continue to absorb the inflation-related costs of keeping the prices of its own Xbox console stable.