Purchasing a PlayStation 5 is no easy task. Launching amid a global pandemic created problems for the latest Sony console with an international chip shortage and various supply chain issues. Nearly two years later, the PS5 still regularly sells out of its low stock.
All of this is getting worse with an incoming price hike in various markets as announced on the PlayStation blog. But in Sony’s home country of Japan, one group, in particular, is taking the latest news harder than others.
Final Fantasy fans.
Where is the PS5 price hike happening? — Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, broke the news in a PlayStation blog post on the morning of August 25th.
“We’re seeing high global inflation rates, as well as adverse currency trends, impacting consumers and creating pressure on many industries. Based on these challenging economic conditions, SIE has made the difficult decision to increase the recommended retail price (RRP) of PlayStation 5 in select markets...”
The specific markets affected will be Europe, the UK, China, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and Japan. The price hike will affect both the disc and digital versions of the console. There will be no increase in the U.S. which Ryan did not give further explanation for.
While the relative strength of the U.S. dollar over the summer could be one reason, a more pessimistic theory is that Sony does not want to deal with the particular vitriolic voices that fans in the U.S. are known for when it comes to video game news they don’t agree with. Ryan reassures readers that it is still the number one goal of SIE to improve the PS5’s supply chain situation so that as many people as possible can experience the exclusive titles that PlayStation offers.
One of the most anticipated exclusives coming in the summer of 2023 is Final Fantasy XVI.
Why are Japanese fans tweeting about FFXVI? On the same day as the price hike’s announcement, Final Fantasy XVI began to trend on Twitter in Japan. As explained by Twitter user aitaikimochi, Japanese fans are “worried they won’t be able to play the game due to PS5 high demand and price increase.”
The Final Fantasy franchise has long been associated with PlayStation. From Final Fantasy VII’s release on the original PlayStation in 1997 until Final Fantasy XIII’s Xbox 360 release in 2010, the only console where you could play mainline Final Fantasy games was on the most recent PlayStation hardware. Even more recent entries go back and forth on their console availability, with FFXIV being a PlayStation console exclusive and FFXV being available on Xbox and PlayStation
FFXVI is returning to the PlayStation ecosystem yet again, as an exclusive to the PS5. Although the PS5 has had good games, it has yet to have a truly killer piece of software that makes it a can’t miss purchase for gamers - FFXVI is that killer game. However, with the PS5 price increase making an already hard-to-come-buy product even more out of reach for many people, this killer game could end up being dead on arrival.
The Inverse Analysis — FFXVI Producer Naoki Yoshida told Inverse that he felt the series has been “struggling” to adapt to modern trends. But the PS5 price hike is creating an entirely different problem for Square Enix to worry about when it comes to their iconic franchise. No matter how good Yoshida’s vision for a mainline single-player Final Fantasy may be, it won’t be enough to win over the community if nobody can play it.
Some think that while the game is officially only coming to PS5 that it will eventually follow in FF7 Remake’s footsteps and release on PC a year or so after the console launch. The very first reveal trailer of FFXVI did mention a PC version of the game, but Square Enix quickly denied this and has not hinted at a PC version since. The desire for the game to come to PC, and the willingness of some fans to wait to play FFXVI on more available hardware speaks to how Sony Exclusives have lost some power in the latest console generation.
As Xbox has invested more in Game Pass and the idea of ecosystems over individual consoles, PlayStation has struggled to adapt to this new business strategy. While games like the Last of Us and God of War used to be enough to sell a PlayStation now fans are willing to wait for Sony to port the game to PC or even miss an exclusive altogether because it isn’t enough to justify the price of a PS5. With the price hike, it’s an even harder sell than it already was.