PS5 Release Date, Pricing, and Launch Line-Up Revealed

The PS5 will launch on November 12, 2020 at $499.99 and the Digital PS5 will launch at $399.99. Pre-orders are live at certain retailers as of this writing (this has been sitting on my desktop for a few days). Here is the launch line-up from Sony:

  • Astro’s Playroom (Japan Studio) – pre-installed on PS5
  • Demon’s Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio) – US$69.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV) – US$69.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac Games) – US$49.99/¥5,900/€59.99 (RRP)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Mile Morales Ultimate Edition (Insomniac Games) – US$69.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Sackboy A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV) – US$59.99/¥6,900/€69.99 (RRP)

Finally…

Now with that sigh out of the way and it being replaced by the stress of waiting to see how preorders shake out, I want to explore the date and pricing options, because this generation is spicy.

The fact that the launch day being just two days after the Xbox Series X and S is a hoot. I believe this is the closest PlayStation and Xbox have launched new hardware to one another and it makes for an expensive week for the hardcore consumer.

As for the launch games, I am glad that Spider-Man is day one. I was surprised to see Demon’s Souls also make day one, but am stoked for my friends that love the Souls games. I can see myself snagging Sackboy since I’ll be wrapped up in the new console hype, but we shall see.

The pricing is far more intriguing. Sony hit the right price point by match Xbox at $500 for both PS5 Disc-Based and Series X. The real juicy bits come from the disc-less PS5 (aka Digital PS5) and the Xbox Series S. The digital PS5 is identical to the PS5, minus the disc drive (hence the name), but it comes in at $100 less. This allows Sony to technically undercut Xbox’s high-end offering. Sony may be eating the loss upfront, but over the course of the digital PS5, they will make more money since more, if not all sales, will go through their own store, earning them a larger cut.

The Xbox Series S on the other hand comes in at a cool $300, but has performance setbacks, mainly limiting its visuals to 1440p and Xbox One S levels of backward compatibility. There is a different amount of RAM and both a slightly less powerful CPU and GPU. Plays the same games, but not as well and for who knows how long. It’s like Xbox is launching a “phat” first gen console and the slim at the same time.

The other piece to the financial puzzle is Xbox’s installment plans (dubbed “Xbox All Access”) for the new consoles. For $25/month for the Series S and $35/month for the Series X, consumers can get the the latest console plus Game Pass, which includes all Xbox first party games and plenty of third party options. There is no up front cost and 0% APR. In two years, the console is theirs and they can chose whether or not to keep the Game Pass subscription, currently $15/month.

On store shelves, this makes for an unprecedented launch. Next gen consoles have a range of $200 from day one. Right out of the gate, consumers have four options with varying features. Not to mention the range in game prices. 4K is practically standard in all TVs these days. I’m not sure how the adoption rate compares to the jump from standard definition CRT televisions to flat-panel HDTVs, but I feel like 4K is more widely common since television prices can be dirt cheap.

Even if consumers have a 4K capable TV, do they care if their TV shows, movies, and games are in 4K? I’m not sure, millions were content with using a Wii for Netflix for years. If that’s how the mass market feels about 4K gaming, I can easily see the Series S dominating average consumer demand. On the flip-flop, Xbox actively advertises Game Pass, which now comes with xCloud. Over the next couple years, I imagine xCloud will be widely available on TVs, phones, etc. So will the average consumer simply opt for the monthly subscription service and just stream their Xbox games? Will this push people toward buying a PS5 as their dedicated gaming hardware?

The price range and slew of choices for consumers going into this console generation is unprecedented. Holiday sales may give a quick glimpse of longer term sales/market share, but I imagine supply will be low and demand high, just like it usually is for hot, new consoles.

Connected #311: The Rickies (September 2020) – Relay FM

Connected #311: The Rickies (September 2020) – Relay FM

If you’ve never listened to Connected before, this would be a great time to try the show out. The Rickies are a prediction-focused episode before Apple events. With Apple’s September event just around the corner, there’s no better time to get in on all the shenanigans and japes than right now. This show is one of my must-listen podcasts every week.

They are also raising money for St. Jude all month long, so it would also be a great time to donate

Xbox Series S Officially Announced at 3 AM

It seems that leaking the actual console design, price point, and release date was the leak that broke the dam. After Windows Central reported that the Xbox Series X and S would release on November 10 at $500 and $300, respectively Xbox decided to confirm the Series S’ existence, design, and $300 price tag. They have remained mum on the Series X pricing and the release date.

The Series S is all-digital, supports raytracing, 1440p up to 120fps, 4K upscaling for games, 4K media playback, and has a 512GB SSD. No other specs were officially revealed, but since the Series S has been one of, if not the, worst kept secret for this upcoming generation, I think it is safe to bet on the previously leaked specs.

The key differences between the Series X and S lie in the GPU, RAM, output, and storage. The GPU is reported as having less than half the compute units (20 CUs vs the Series X’s 52 CUs) and only a third of the teraflops with 4TF instead of 12TF. The RAM is reportedly only 10GBs of GDDR6 instead of the Series X’s 16 GB. The Series X does have an interesting combination of RAM though, with 10 GB at a speed of 560 GB/s and the remaining 6 GB at 336 GB/s. I wonder if the Series S’ RAM will be at 560 GB/s or 336 GB/s.

I find the more interesting comparison for the Series S is between it and the Xbox One X. While the CPU and GPU are less powerful on the One X, its GPU does have 40 CUs and 6TF. The One X has 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM at 326 GB/s. It also outputs full 4K gameplay, instead of upscaling it and comes with a disc drive. Unfortunately, the Xbox One X was discontinued in July 2020.

The $300 price tag is going to grab a lot of people’s attention. It will definitely look better on the shelf next to both the PS5 and the Series X, especially when an electronics department employee is giving a weak pitch. Parents and kids will snag these up quickly. I am curious how the different specs will impact performance and development. Microsoft has promised cross-generational support for many of their games. This adds one more combination of hardware to the mix. Despite all the hemming and hawing surrounding the PS5’s price and date, Sony does have clearing messaging between its two PS5 variants: One has a disc drive, the other does not, otherwise the two boxes are identical. While this won’t lead to a price gap like the Series X and S have, it does make for a cleaner message.

On the flip side, having a price tag of $300 is a much louder message.

Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct – Nintendo

Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct from Nintendo

Sometimes, having hope pans out.

Nintendo sure is acting like Nintendo with some of these Mario 35th anniversary announcements. A Super Mario Bros. 35-player battle royale, Tetris 99 style? Great idea! Let’s only allow people play until March 2021. So Nintendo.

Let’s take three iconic 3D Super Mario games and put them in a single collection for Switch. Swell plan! Let’s also only offer it both physically and digitally until March 2021! Why not?

It would not surprise me if after this March 2021 deadline if Nintendo sells these ports individually and digitally only. Maybe sometime next summer there will be some sort of N64 or GameCube or even Wii virtual console for Switch?

This may also help paint a picture for Nintendo’s plans for The Legend of Zelda and Metroid’s 35th anniversaries, both of which are next year (but who am I kidding, Metroid will get bupkis). There have been rumors of a port of Skyward Sword for Switch for quite a while now. During the Wii U generation, both Wind Waker and Twilight Princess got full HD ports, so I doubt there is a triple pack with those games. Maybe the sequel to Breath of the Wild will release, possibly alongside a new, more powerful Switch?

Speculation and confusion aside, it is great to see Super Mario 3D All-Stars in action and to be able to play in just two weeks! I think this quick turnaround from official announcement to release is a blast. It is a shame we have to wait until February 2021 for Super Mario 3D World+ though.

DF Retro EX: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 – Digital Foundry

DF Retro EX: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 – A Brilliant Remake of a Classic Gaming Series! by John Linneman for Digital Foundry

This is a stellar look at the actual history of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and its sequel. I never knew there were so many ports! I grew up solely on the N64 port of the first game: I still have my blue cartridge that my Dad bought at a garage sale in the neighborhood. I would find tricks and cheat codes on GameFAQs and play for hours in front of our tiny CRT in the basement. I’m stoked to pick up these remakes down the line.