We’re putting on our Xbox Series X price guessing hat
Now that Microsoft has revealed the name of its first next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X, it’s speculation time. Of course, the question I’m hearing the most is how many is this going to cost me. Which, is a damned good question and one I’ve been asking. So I figured it’s time to get out the old thinking cap and start thinking.
Before we go into my speculation, let’s take a look at several of the most recent expensive gaming consoles that launched with ridiculous price tags.
- Sony’s PlayStation 3 launched to the sum of $599.99, and that the time was considered a risky move by Sony. Risky was an understatement, as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 had dominated the console for the better portion of that gaming generation. It was only thanks to Xbox’s silly management decisions that the Xbox 360 started losing steam and the PlayStation 3 edged out the console. We’re still seeing the effects of that with the PlayStation 4.
- Microsoft’s Xbox One was priced at $499.99 and was $100 more than it’s competition. It was one of the first kinks in the consoles’ strategy and Microsoft learned a hard lesson. A cheaper version was eventually released.
- SNK’s NEO-GEO debuted at $650 when it attempted to bring home the arcade expensive. To SNK’s credit, the NEO-GEO was an amazing gaming console and enabled gamers to bring the arcade expensive home. It was just too pricy and niche at the time to justify it. For those who could afford it, however, loved it.
- Panasonic’s 3DO’s will go down in history as the most expensive gaming console to date at $699.99. Needless to say, it didn’t catch on. I managed to pick one up a few years later after someone traded it into EB Games (Now Gamestop), at a discount.
- Phillips CDI, which wasn’t a gaming console despite what the company said, also launched at $699.99. Not only was it expensive, and ugly, it had zero games to entice anyone into purchasing it. Plus it had those horrible Legends of Zelda games which made it worse.
Ok, so the history lesson is over. As you can see, pricing a console is important and will dictate the success of the launch. Assuming the launch titles are also good. Which I doubt is going to be an issue for either the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. I’d also imagine that the higher-ups at both companies have studied the past and realize that gamers don’t have tons of cash to throw at consoles. Nor do they want to.
How much do I think this is going to cost
I think it’s safe to say that we can go off the recent pricing of both the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Both consoles were stopgaps, to keep gamers glued to their platform of preference while providing a bit more power (some better than others). Sony jumped in first with the PS4 Pro and priced it at $399.99, followed by Microsoft with the Xbox One X at $499.99. Sure, it cost $100 more, yet at the same time, it was a more capable machine that more than justified the cost. Microsoft hasn’t said how much they lost with each Xbox One X but did they did confirm they took a hefty loss.
Using that thought process, I’m going to wager that the Xbox Series X is going to also be priced at $499.99.
Let’s go over why. We already know that the console is using AMD’s Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU. These are AMD’s top of the line chipsets and will allow the Xbox Series X (and PlayStation 5) to do things that the previous consoles can’t. They also recent, which means they’re going to be more expensive. Then there’s the NVMe SSD that will be stumped into the system and the 16GB (13GB for games, 3GB for the OS) of onboard DDR6 memory. For those paying attention, these are things we’re seeing in mid-high range gaming PCs.
With what we know, let’s price those parts with current PC hardware pricing. AMD’s PC equivalent Zen 2 varies, from the Ryzen 9 3900x/3950x to the Ryzen 5 3600x. For the sake of this article, let’s go with the middle group, a Ryzen 7 3700x. Those are currently priced at $329.99, plus another $150 for a recent x470/x570 motherboard. PC’s are still stuck using DDR4, so consoles do have a leg up when it comes to ram. Still, 16GB of DDR4 will set you back another $120. An NVMe 1TB SSD hovers around $150 to $200, depending on if you catch them on sale. I’ll go with the middle ground of $170.
Let’s add that up.
- Ryzen 7 3700x – $330
- X470/X570 Motherboard – $150
- 16GB DDR 4 – $120
- NVMe 1TB SSD – $170
That’s $770 so far, not including a Blu- ray drive, power supply or case. Granted Microsoft will get their parts in bulk and discount, so those prices will be lower than what I’ve listed. Nor do we know the exact pricing, this is speculation. Toss in another $200 for the missing parts and we’re at $970. There’s no way Microsoft is going to sell this thing for more than $700, and trying to price it at $600 would be a sure way to ensure it won’t fly off the shelves. They want to get back into the race and they’re be looking for every advantage they can get. Which is why I feel that we’ll see this at $499.99.
There’s no way Microsoft or Sony is going to go over that price unless they’re feeling themselves. Let’s be honest, we aren’t rich and while various gamers are better off than some. Dropping $500 for a console, and possibly another $200 to $300 for games adds up quickly. Games, which are more important than the consoles themselves as that’s where the companies make their money back.
Of course, I could be completely off here and we could see the return of outrageously priced gaming consoles. Though, I doubt we’re going to see that. As for when either Microsoft or Sony is going to announce their prices, we’ll in for a long wait. Neither next-generation console will be released until Holiday 2020. This not only gives us plenty of time to save up, but it gives each company time to come up with a strategy. Make no mistake, this won’t be a repeat of E3 2013. I’d like to think that Microsoft has learned a thing or two, and will watch Sony (as Sony will be watching them). We likely won’t get a price until well after E3 2020, since both are playing the waiting game.
So be sure to save up those pennies, because of no matter how to look at it. We’re going to be paying quite the premium when this time next year rolls around.