The biggest loser this holiday season will be my wallet.
Sony finally released its pricing for the PlayStation 5. The regular version with an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive will cost $499 and the digital version without one will weigh in at $399. They will be released Nov. 12.
That news comes after Microsoft unveiled its pricing plan for Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. The budget-friendly Series S, which isn’t as powerful as its big brother, is priced at $299 and the high-end Xbox Series X will cost $499. Both come out Nov. 10.
That puts Microsoft and Sony on equal footing this holiday season when it comes to high-end consoles. The systems appear comparable in terms of power and features. They both will have ray tracing, which is the most obvious selling point for the upcoming generation of games.
Ray tracing enables developers to re-create accurate lighting. It’s one of those techniques that enables Pixar movies to look a step above. For the casual gamer, graphics will pop more with fire accurately reflecting off water and the light bouncing off glass. The more subtle changes will come through game design as superfast SSDs will make transitioning from action scenes to cut scenes more seamless.
The biggest separation from the two consoles will be content. Sony already has established franchises and heralded studios, and the company put them to work showing off, at its showcase, what the PlayStation 5 can do. Sony brought out the big guns with the reveal of Square Enix’s “Final Fantasy XVI” and Sony’s “God of War Ragnarok.”
Microsoft is no slouch with the “Halo Infinite” reveal but more important, a buying spree of studios that include Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment, Ninja Theory and Double Fine shores up its roster of first-party developers.
The other factor in all this is the price of games. They are going to get expensive. Sony announced the prices for next-gen titles, and it’s going to be up to $69.99. That’s going to hurt for many consumers, but it also makes services such as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate even more attractive. If prices keep going up the way they are now, it could make the Netflix-style service the best value overall.