Risky business

Sony raises the PS5 price. But at what cost?

It’s hard to believe we’re nearly two years into this new console generation. A bold new era of SSDs! And ray-traced reflections! It’s been a bit of a bumpy road, but thankfully the PS5 and Xbox are finally becoming easier to get hold of and all the major consoles have enjoyed big sales since their respective launches. So how has Sony chosen to celebrate this success? With a price drop!

No wait. A price rise!

Yep, as you’re no doubt aware, Sony bosses have decided to increase the cost of the PS5 by £30/€50 in the UK and Europe. At a time when many people face the frankly terrifying scenario of having to choose between heating their homes and eating.

Sure, costs have risen universally and PlayStation as a business is affected just like all the rest – and why should video games be exempt when everything else is going up? But this move in particular seems especially short-sighted. And the timing simply couldn’t be worse.

Indeed, it’s not actually the price rise itself that stings the most. In the grand scheme of things, £30 isn’t all that much, and £390/£480 for the Digital/Disc editions still represents good value for what you get. But it’s the perceived penny-pinching from a company with cash reserves in the billions that leaves such a sour taste in the mouth when so many are struggling.

It doesn’t help that this isn’t the first time recently that Sony has brought back unflattering memories of the early PS3 days, back when then-boss Ken Kutaragi suggested that if consumers couldn’t afford a PS3 they should “work more hours to buy one”.

Sony were quick to introduce a new £70 price-tag on its first-party PS5 games at a time when Microsoft were launching them day-one on Game Pass. And the bizarrely convoluted new PlayStation Plus service was hardly well received when it launched recently, despite offering an increasingly impressive library of older games.

Sony’s suits have made the decision to squeeze just a little bit more cash out of us. But at what cost? It’ll be interesting to see how quickly consumers forget about the their attempt to maintain record profits at a time when the world feels like it’s collapsing around our feet. And whether the short-term gain to Sony’s bank balance is worth the potential long-term damage to its already fragile image.

This article is an extract from The Week in Games newsletter.

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