Sony’s PS5 Digital Edition doesn’t directly counter Microsoft’s rumored plans, but it does offer the company some leverage around pricing for the PlayStation 5. Even though a 4K Blu-ray drive doesn’t make up a huge amount of the cost of next-gen consoles, it should equate to roughly a $50 price cut, thanks to the drive costs and associated licensing charges. Price is a huge factor in this next-gen console phase, particularly as it’s clear we’re about to enter one of the worst recessions for decades. Any small price savings could be key, especially if Sony and Microsoft are willing to stretch their usual losses on hardware to aggressively chase after game sales and subscriptions.
The PS5 Digital Edition eliminates the optical disc. But it also means Sony takes its cut on every game someone buys through its digital store. Sony hasn’t addressed whether it plans to allow people to loan games to friends digitally or even resell digital games, both of which could drive digital sales of games if they’re not supported.
Microsoft has already been experimenting with digital Xbox editions and even the idea of sharing games digitally. The software giant introduced a disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition for $249 last year, shaving $50 off the Xbox One S retail price. It’s been a popular choice, especially as so many games now require large updates and need to be installed to a drive. Microsoft even originally planned to let Xbox One users share any games digitally, but a backlash over the used games policies and online check forced the company to reverse most of its more promising plans.
Console pricing is just a part of the broader next-gen price war, though. As we move into this next generation of game consoles, it’s clear storage and digital games are going to be far more important than before. Sony is requiring that all games be installed to the internal SSD to make use of the improved read speeds, and the Xbox Series X internal SSD will be required for Series X Optimized games.
How Microsoft and Sony expand storage on their next-gen consoles couldn’t be more different. Sony has opted to allow PS5 owners to expand storage using SSD drives that meet its spec for performance. It’s not clear how many drives will even meet this baseline at launch, but it does mean PS5 owners will have greater storage options eventually.
Microsoft has gone the proprietary route, partnering with Seagate to produce 1TB expansion cards that slot into the rear of the Xbox Series X. We don’t know how much these cards will cost or whether other drive makers will be able to create Xbox Series X expansion cards in the future. These storage costs will factor into the total cost of ownership, whether you pick a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X later this year.
- Category : Video Games & Consoles
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