The 2020 console war has turned into a game of chicken. While the gaming world is waiting on pins and needles for Sony to finally reveal the PlayStation 5, Sony is waiting on Microsoft to announce the price for the rival console, the Xbox Series X.
During Sony‘s Q3 Earnings Call, Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki discussed how Sony plans on there being a “smooth transition” from the PlayStation 4 to the PlayStation 5.
When asked how Sony plans to make the transition smooth and which factors Sony could control (i.e. marketing and development costs), as translated by VGC, Totoki stated, “First, we must absolutely control the labour cost, the personnel cost, it must be controlled,”
However, Totoki then admitted that one factor they had no control over was the price of the next-gen console market. He went on to imply that, to be competitive, they couldn’t place a price on the PlayStation 5 until Microsoft announced the price of the Xbox Series X.
“What is not very clear or visible is because we are competing in the space, so it’s very difficult to discuss anything about the price at this point of time, and depending upon the price level, we may have to determine the promotion that we are going to deploy and how much costs we are prepared to pay.”
It’s a rather shrewd strategy by Sony to wait for Microsoft to blink first and lay their cards on the table. It’s a strategy that worked in 2013, when Sony priced the PlayStation 4 a cool $100 lower than the Xbox One. From the statements made in the Q3 call, it appears Sony’s adopting the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” and looking to let things play out like it did 7 years ago.
As for making the transition smooth, Totoki said, “when I said smooth transition, we mean that we will definitely choose the optimal approach and that we will try to have the best balance so that we will be profitable in the life, during the life of this product.”
One approach they’ve already announced is to make the PlayStation 5 backwards compatible to the PlayStation 4. Microsoft similarly announced that the Xbox Series X would make all Xbox One games playable on day one. While both announcements are big for respective brands, that’s news PlayStation players have been waiting a long time for, with the PS4 not being backwards compatible.
Stay tuned for more developments on the 2020 console war.
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