The Sony PS5 May Repeat a Mistake That Hurt the PS3 in 2006

Could this misstep come back to haunt Sony?

Unsplash / Nikita Kostrykin

Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 is anticipated to be the mother of all consoles. A recent batch of leaks confirmed previous rumors about the gaming system’s graphical capabilities, and added a few more details to what Sony has already confirmed will come with the PS5. A recent analyst report predicts that the PS5 could repeat a detrimental mistake that held back the PS3 when it launched in 2006.

Japanese analyst Hideki Yasuda of Ace Research Institute released his quarterly report of Sony on May 9 and forecasted that the PS5 will be notably more expensive than the company’s last release. Yasuda predicts that the console will hit shelves on November 2020, starting at $499, $100 more expensive than the the PS4 Pro at launch.

“It will be launched at the present time in November 2020 and priced at $499,” writes the analyst in a report translated using Google Translate. “It is assumed that sales of 6 million units in the first year and 15 million units in the next year.”

The PS5 could cost notably more than the PS4 Pro.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

The future console is expected to come with a solid-state drive (SSD), support a rendering technique that can create a very high degree of visual realism, and a Boost Mode feature to increase games’ frame rates. These are all premium features that likely won’t come cheap, but Sony could shoot itself in the foot if it charges too much.

Sony reported slow PS3 sales back in 2007, and Jack Tretton, former console chief for the company, even acknowledged the company made some “missteps” during its initial launch primarily regarding its price. Asking too much for the PS5 could see it lag behind the competition, especially since Microsoft and Nintendo are both expected to launch a budget-friendly console.

Microsoft is developing two variants of its upcoming Xbox “Scarlett” consoles, codenamed “Anaconda” and “Lockhart.” The Anaconda is expected to rival the PS5 in terms of specs and capabilities, while Lockhart will be a budget console that is anticipated to rely heavily on Microsoft’s xCloud game-streaming service.

Sony has to be weary about not charging too much for the PS5 or risk being boxed out by the cheaper consoles that Microsoft and Nintendo are reportedly launching.

Flickr / steamXO

Here Comes Nintendo

Nintendo, on the other hand, is reportedly gearing up to launch a cheaper version of the Switch. The so-called Nintendo Switch “Lite” is expected to be non-detachable and primarily handheld but come with the ability to connect to a TV either wirelessly or via a dongle. A video game industry analyst perviously told Inverse that this console could launch for $249.99, half the price of the estimated PS5 cost.

The competition is casting a wider net by offering casual gamers an entry-level console, while Sony seems to be leaning into the premium, die-hard gamer market. Leaks and patents have suggested that Sony is gearing up to release a wireless virtual reality headset to succeed its 2016 PSVR hardware. Analysts believe Sony needs to price the headset affordably to make it commercially viable, but the leaks suggest it could cost $250.

Sony has essentially won this generation’s console war, racking up more than 91 million unit sales throughout the PS4’s lifetime. The company’s dominant position might allow it to continue making the crème de la crème of consoles. But if the Xbox Anaconda is priced below the PS5, Sony could be in for some of the same troubles it faced with the PS3 in 2006.

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