In the early hours of Thursday morning, Sony announced some massive news for its PlayStation 5 family of consoles. All over the world, console prices are rising.
The price hike for both PlayStation 5 models (one with a disc drive, one without) is effective immediately in at least six regions, with Japan joining the price hike fray on September 15. Sony’s announcement lists specific price increases for some of its largest gaming territories, but it further warns that “certain markets” may see their own price increases in the coming days. These include territories in the Asia-Pacific region, Central and South America, and the huge group of nations that includes EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
Somehow, one particular region is out of Sony’s price hike target for now: the US.
|PS5 price hike, August 2022|
|Europe (all digital)||€449.99||€399.99||12.5|
|UK||479.99 pounds||449.99 pounds||6.7|
|UK (all digital)||389.99 pounds||359.99 pounds||8.3|
|Japan*||54,980 yen||49,980 yen||ten|
|Japan (all digital)*||44,980 yen||39,980 yen||12.5|
|China||4,299 yuan||3,899 yuan||10.3|
|China (all digital)||3,499 yuan||3,099 yuan||12.9|
|Australia (all digital)||AU$649.95||AU$599.95||8.3|
|Mexico (all digital)||MX$12,499||MX$11,499||8.7|
|Canada (all digital)||CA$519.99||CA$499.99||4|
* The price increase in Japan will not take effect until September 15, 2022.
The price hike appears to be a fixed amount of currency in each affected region for both PS5 models. So, as a percentage, the more affordable PS5 models without a disc drive are hit harder in today’s news. Canada comes off the easiest with today’s percentage increase, while Europe, Japan, and China each tied for the steepest PS5 price increases.
Sony attributes the widespread price jumps to two major economic factors: rising inflation and historic lows in the Japanese yen. U.S. purchasing power doesn’t seem immune to either problem, so it’s unclear whether Sony’s assurance that “there will be no price increase in the United States” is ironclad.
Bad news for the next PSVR2?
The price hike follows similar news from Meta’s virtual reality division, which opted to raise prices for its Quest 2 VR system late last month. Meta tried to soften the impact of its overall $100 price hike by including a free download of its popular rhythm-action game beat the saberwhich normally costs $30.
As of press time, Sony hasn’t suggested including downloadable freebies as part of its own price hike plan, although its price hike doesn’t currently appear to exceed 13% in any region, unlike the Meta price increase. reaching 25 or 33%, depending on the model.
Curiously, Sony Announcing Tuesday’s launch window for its upcoming virtual reality system, PlayStation VR2, did not suggest a retail price. Perhaps Sony is keeping this news a secret so it can buy more time to evaluate this PS5 add-on amid current market realities. (This may prompt a rethink our recent PSVR2 price estimates.)
Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland recently researched console pricing history, although his analysis focused mainly on the Nintendo Switch, a console from 2017 that had more years to develop long in the tooth in terms of price / performance ratio. If this mega-selling console had followed historical console price trends, Orland’s analysis suggests that its price could have now fallen to a figure between $150 and $180 in the United States. Still, a combination of economic factors, including a shortage of chips and unusually high demand for a years-old gaming system, helped Switch meet its original MSRP worldwide.
Orland’s report was partly prompted by Nintendo recently assuring investors and financial watchdogs in its home country of Japan that the Switch’s price won’t rise in the near future. Neither Sony nor Microsoft’s Xbox division had made similar promises ahead of Thursday’s PS5 news. Microsoft enjoys a few advantages over Sony in the same inflation-filled market: namely, a more diversified financial portfolio, more than double Sony’s cash reserves, and a much lower reliance on the Japanese yen. Time will tell if Microsoft will continue to absorb inflation-related costs to keep the prices of its own Xbox consoles static.