In November 2020, Sony released the PlayStation 5 to almost unanimously positive reviews. Critics praised the console’s incredibly fast loading times, its silky-smooth framerates, and its slick user interface. Some criticism was reserved for its oddly small storage and its physical shape and size, but for the most part, the PS5’s reception was solidly positive. In addition to its specs, another aspect of the console that’s been praised is the price, but not everyone loves it.
The PS5 should cost around £449 for the standard disc edition and £399 for the discless version. Some say this is too expensive and that the console should be cheaper, while others praise the PS5 for managing to keep costs down. The fact is that Sony is actually selling the PS5 as a loss leader, which means that it’s making a loss on each sale of the PS5 (and making that amount up with other sales). Let’s take a look at why some people think the PS5 is expensive.
Perhaps the main reason behind the perception that the PS5 is too expensive is scalpers. If you don’t know what a scalper is, here’s a quick definition. A scalper is someone who buys something at its regular price, then sells it back at a much higher price, knowing that the item is in such high demand that people will have no choice but to pay the higher price.
This is exactly what happened at the PS5’s launch; there weren’t enough units manufactured for every gamer who wanted one, so scalpers quickly bought up PS5s and began selling them for ludicrously high prices, sometimes upwards of three times the standard price. If you’ve seen a PS5 on sale for a massive amount of money, it’s almost certainly a scalper looking to make some cash.
When the PS4 launched in 2013, it cost £349, which is £100 less than the PS5’s launch price of £449. This led many gamers to question why the new console cost so much more money. The fact is that the PS5 is a significantly more powerful machine than the PS4; its solid state drive alone will drive up costs massively, because SSDs cost much more than traditional mechanical drives.
t’s not just the storage drive, though. The increased graphical and processing capabilities of the PS5 mean it has to cost more money. After all, with Sony still selling each console at a loss, one can imagine that if the company charged less for the PS5, it would essentially be haemorrhaging money. Loss leaders can be good business, but selling at too much of a loss is basically throwing money down the toilet, as they say.
The PS5 console itself costs a lot of money, but the accessories are also pretty pricey. A DualSense controller alone can set you back upwards of £60, which is significantly more than the DualShock 4 controller cost for the PS4. The reason for this is fairly obvious: the DualSense has better components inside it, and the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback motors drive up the cost.
The controller is just one of the PS5’s accessories that costs more than the original did. The Pulse 3D headset, as well as items like official controller chargers, also cost more. Again, this is due to higher production costs, as well as lower production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s unfortunate, but there isn’t really much that Sony can do about this situation as it stands.
In many cases, the only way for retailers to beat bots and scalpers is to sell consoles as bundles with games or accessories. Bots often can’t detect bundles on sites, so only legitimate human customers can purchase these bundles. This means that many PS5 customers purchased their console alongside games, controllers, headsets, and other accessories.
Of course, a bundle drives up the cost of a PS5 thanks to the additional items you’re getting with it. The upside is that, naturally, you’re also getting games and other extras that you can enjoy. After all, a PS5 isn’t worth much without games to play, right? In fact, we’d still recommend that if you’re looking to pick up a PS5, you hunt down a bundle instead of a console by itself.
It’s not just scalpers driving up the price of the PS5. Production difficulties have caused Sony to slash its production outlook for the fiscal year, with issues like logistical problems and component shortages contributing to widespread difficulties obtaining a console. Unfortunately, Sony’s outlook seems pretty grim; if you don’t already have a PS5, you might have some trouble obtaining one in 2022.
This is also due to the fact that components are very difficult to obtain right now. In particular, semiconductors are in short supply, partly because of the coronavirus pandemic but also because of several other factors. This means that Sony simply can’t manufacture PS5 consoles fast enough to make up for demand, which, in turn, drives up the prices of PS5 consoles that do exist out there in the world.
As you can see, there’s no single reason why the PS5 is so expensive. Whether you’re paying inflated prices because of scalpers or you simply think the basic price of the console is too much to ask, there are lots of factors that go into deciding the PS5’s cost, and even Sony can’t control all of those factors. Here’s hoping that it gets easier to obtain a PS5 in the future and that the price of the machine does eventually come down.