Alright, folks. We’re getting dangerously close to the price reveal and release date territory for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, but what if Sony or Microsoft decide to hold off? This entire year has been completely ass-backwards. Microsoft already pulled the plug on a Holiday 2020 release for Halo Infinite, while Arkane Studios pushed Deathloop (a PS5 launch title) to Q2 of 2021. Without those two launch titles, Microsoft and Sony are banking on third-party games and the appeal of better looking graphics. But is that enough for the average consumer to drop $400-$600 this winter?
Most of the games that people are going to play on the next-gen consoles this winter will be current-gen titles. Whether it’s Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or any of the various sports games, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are going to simply be souped up current-gen machines. Of course, there’s the possibility that Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Godfall release in time to be PS5 launch titles, but after seeing Microsoft send Halo Infinite back to the drawing boards who would be surprised if these titles needed more time as well? Not to mention, without Halo Infinite Xbox Series X is in hotter water than the PS5.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has repeatedly pushed the agenda of giving players the power to play games virtually anywhere. So if most Xbox titles will be accessible on either the current Xbox One or on PC via Game Pass, what’s the true incentive behind purchasing a Series X? Other than die-hard Xbox fans and people with an abundance of money, if I’m Joe Smoe with an average income maybe I hold off until the next big Xbox exclusive.
On the other hand, Microsoft could be playing the long game. Appearing on Gary Whitta’s Animal Talking podcast, Spencer stated that Microsoft isn’t too concerned about outselling the PS5.
“If [selling more consoles than Sony and Nintendo] was our approach, we wouldn’t put our games on PC. We wouldn’t put our games on Xbox One, we wouldn’t do xCloud and allow people to play games on their phones,” Spencer explained.
Now, it goes without saying, but Sony is destroying Microsoft in the exclusive category. However, it’s only a matter of time before the various studios Microsoft acquired begin pumping out their own exclusive titles. Once that happens, the scales will start balancing themselves out a bit. And while Sony currently does have Microsoft’s number regarding exclusivity, it’s fair to speculate that the Series X will be cheaper and more powerful than the PS5.
The overall lack of information regarding the consoles price points is a bit concerning. We’re almost through August and we still don’t know how much they’ll cost, when pre-orders will begin, or when the launch dates are. Even though Sony announced they wouldn’t attend E3 before the convention was ultimately canceled, it’s safe to wonder if the convention did take place would we have more information compared to now. In addition, Sony and Microsoft have to take the affects of the pandemic into account. America’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed since March, so millions of people barely have enough money to get by, let alone to purchase a video game console.
Ultimately, the PS5 and Xbox Series X will most likely still release by the end of the year, but it’s shaping up to be a lackluster launch. Many people out there typically don’t buy consoles at launch, and with everything going on in the world I expect more people to hold off. Microsoft and Phil Spencer clearly understand that the Series X launch numbers might be low, especially with the fallout of not having Halo Infinite. But it certainly would not be out of the realm of possibility if one morning we see one of, or both, of these consoles pushed back. Hopefully, Sony and Microsoft reveal price and pre-order details soon. Otherwise, the longer that information stays behind closed doors, the more anxious people will become and the whispers of a possible delay will continue to grow ever louder.
Editor’s Note: Views expressed here are soley of the author’s and doesn’t represent the views of MP1st in its entirety.