With only a couple of months until launch, it’s been a little weird that we haven’t gotten an exact date or price for Sony’s next flagship console. In a stream today, the company finally announced both. The Sony PS5 will cost a whopping $500, and the disc-free Digital Edition will retail for $400. Both will ship Nov. 12 in the U.S. and Nov. 19 elsewhere.
After a leak last weekend, Microsoft finally announced a price and launch date for the Xbox Series X and Series S. Those will launch Nov. 10 and be priced at $500 and $300 respectively, with preorders starting Sept. 22.
The pricing on the Digital Edition of the PS5 could leave some scratching their heads, as Microsoft’s cheapest offering is just $100 less, but the Digital Edition is expected to be nearly identical to the PS5 apart from the disc drive, while the Microsoft Series S isn’t expected to be as powerful as the Series X.
Like the latest Xboxes, the next-gen Playstations will operate on custom AMD Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU architectures and support up to 4K resolution, while Microsoft still plans to futureproof and support up to 8K. Sony’s hoping to be different by focusing on things like load speeds—with a much-covered SSD being the star of the show. It’s also going to have some unique haptic experiences in a new controller.
During the stream, Sony showed an extended sequence from the new Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which did a lot to highlight one (at least thus far) underseen element of the new system: ray tracing. Lights reflected realistically off his slick-looking suit and the wet streets. Even people’s reflections seemed to appear in the water. It was showy, but could be too subtle to entice PS4 owners to upgrade.
Just kidding, my brother has texted me three times this week asking when the PS5 comes out so he can upgrade. People are going to buy the PS5 in droves—if they have the budget after this Year in Hell. The big question is whether Microsoft will lure Playstation fans away. Sony’s got a good roster of exclusives planned, and at launch will offer a Playstation Plus Collection of some of the most popular PS4 games for any PS5 user who a Playstation Plus subscription ($10 a month or $60 a year). However, Microsoft has a much more robust cloud game offering, and the already solid Game Pass ($10 a month, but discounted to $5 a month currently) gets you a similar roster of great games for a very low price.
We’ll hopefully know more when both consoles launch two days apart in November and we get to actually see just how good all the fancy storage devices and haptics and graphics really are.
Update 9/17/2020, 5:11 p.m.: As Sony tweeted shortly after, preorders start tomorrow, though only for select retailers.