Sony is supposedly planning to build between 5 and 6 million PS5 consoles by the end of March 2021, which covers a few months following the holiday 2020 launch - planned to compete with the upcoming Xbox Series X. That may sound like a lot, but it’s lower than the 7.5 million PS4s Sony sold in the equivalent period after launching in November 2013.
Coronavirus isn’t to blame either. While it’s apparently affected marketing plans for the PS5, it supposedly hasn’t delayed production yet. The bigger impact of the virus for Sony is likely that as markets recess worldwide, the appetite for an expensive new games console will shrink even further.
And expensive it will be. All of the latest speculation pitches the PS5 somewhere between $499 and $549 - at least $100 more than the PS4 Pro currently retails at. That’s mostly a consequence of the high cost of manufacturing, and Sony is essentially facing the choice of dropping the price to $450 and selling consoles at a loss, or sticking to a higher RRP and trusting that early adopters will show up regardless, giving the company time to lower prices and target the mass market in 2021 and beyond.
Expect a price cut to PS4 models around the same time, as Bloomberg suggests that Sony’s strategy is to encourage as many people as possible onto its PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now subscriptions, including through new PS4 sales, and relying on that recurring revenue to carry it through the next year or so more than the money from new hardware sales.
We still don’t know much about what to expect from the PS5 when it does arrive later this year. Sony has teased some of the console’s core specs, including a custom AMD CPU and ultrafast SSD, and last week revealed the design of the new DualSense controller. The console itself remains under wraps, but with mass production set to begin by June expect to see a design reveal soon, as past that point leaks will be near-impossible to prevent.