After several leaks that spoiled the surprise, Microsoft officially unveiled the Xbox Series S on Tuesday. An all-digital and more affordable alternative to the Xbox Series X, the Series S will still hit 120 FPS gameplay and have ray tracing, if a leaked trailer is any indication. It will do so with a smaller form factor, 1080p resolution, and all at a price of only $299.99 at launch.
This competitive pricing from Microsoft might wind up being a boon to anyone who prefers the PlayStation 5, because now Sony may now have to ensure that the PS5 Digital Edition either matches or undercuts the Xbox Series S.
An image and a clip from a reveal video for Xbox Series S leaked online Monday night. This prompted Microsoft to reveal the console, which has a striking white design with a massive cooling vent, early Tuesday morning. Windows Central subsequently reported that the Xbox Series X would be $500 and that both Xbox platforms would come out on November 10, 2020.
Then, on Tuesday morning, the Guilleford Twitter account for UK retailer GAME tweeted: "PS5 have scheduled an announcement tomorrow so things are about to kick-off for this week," in regards to pre-orders. If this tweet is true, then the prices of all next-gen consoles will be confirmed by the end of this week, and rumors suggest that Sony will try to be as competitive as possible with PS5 pricing.
Microsoft and Sony have made it equally clear that they were both waiting for the other to make a price announcement first. During a February investors call reported on by TweakTown, Sony's Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki stated that "the PS5's cost is not very clear or visible because we are competing in the space." This feels like an admission that Sony was monitoring Microsoft's plans.
"Depending on the price level, we will have to determine the promotion that we are going to deploy and how much cost we are prepared to pay," he also said.
Sony's approach has been to wait and see while analyzing the market trends for Xbox's next-generation consoles so that the company might later price the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition accordingly. This is likely one of the biggest reasons that we haven't learned the PS5's price yet even though it will allegedly be released within the next three months.
If Game Guilleford's tweet is any indication, Sony could make an announcement regarding PS5 pre-orders sometime this week despite Sony suggesting otherwise in a PlayStation Blog post about PSVR announcements on Monday. If that's true, pricing information will have to be included, and we'll see just how competitive Sony is willing to be with pricing.
The Inverse Analysis — Now that the Xbox Series S's price is out there, it's very likely that Sony will try to match the pricing of its Digital Edition to it. Furthermore, it also seems plausible that the company might reveal the price soon to steal the spotlight from next-gen Xbox consoles.
While no official price has been shared, the PS5 is expected to cost $499.99 with the PS5 Digital Edition being slightly cheaper. One has to wonder if Sony will lower the PS5's prices beyond what the company originally had planned so as to be competitive. It's possible that Sony may have planned for Digital Edition to cost $399.99 or more, but now that the Xbox Series S is so much cheaper, it may force Sony's hand to match it. In other words, we may have Microsoft to thank for a cheap PS5 Digital Edition price in the long run.
For now, we just have to wait for an official price announcement to see how all four next-generation console variants stack up against each other when it comes to pricing.
Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PS5 will reportedly be released in November 2020.