On a call following the release of Sony's most recent quarterly earnings report, chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki wasn't able to say much regarding the PlayStation 5's pricing. With the Xbox Series X scheduled to launch at the same time, Sony's competition is a major factor in its pricing decision-and, of course, Microsoft hasn't announced how much its next console will cost either.
Totoki's comments to investors, reported by VGC, serve as a reminder of just how many factors go into a console's launch and the way that manufacturers determine price. Costs of labor, production, and (perhaps most importantly for a holiday launch) advertising will all influence Sony's final pricing decision. Once Sony and Microsoft announce their prices, those promotional costs could change too, Totoki cautions:
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.
Microsoft's off to something of an early start for advertising its next console, having unveiled the Xbox Series X in December along with a first look at Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, a first-party title slated for the system. Sony, meanwhile, has slowly released details about the PS5 over last year while keeping the system's design and first-party lineup under wraps.
It's also worth noting that competition from Nintendo is not a non-issue for the PS5 either. After months of rumors suggesting a more powerful Switch Pro was in the works, Nintendo just recently announced that it doesn't plan to release a new Switch model in 2020, suggesting we're only in for a two-way battle between brand new systems this year.
Sony may still be worried about a second next-gen console going up against the PS5, as reports have indicated that Microsoft is working on a lower-spec, discless model of Xbox codenamed "Lockhart."
Announcing its price after Microsoft worked out well for Sony at the start of this current generation, though the fact that the PS4 wasn't launched with an expensive piece of tech like the Kinect in the box certainly helped keep costs down. Since then, the PS4 has become the second-best selling console of all time behind the PS2. Just like the Xbox One, though, Sony's PS4 sales are continuing to slow as the launches of the PS5 and Xbox Series X approach. As both companies now know, being the leader in the previous generation can matter little if the next console's launch price is too high.
For more on Sony's next console, read our guide to everything we've learned about the PS5 so far.