As we’re about to start September, the final third of this awful, awful year, I have only two questions for Microsoft and Sony, the makers of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 respectively: when and how much?
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) August 20, 2020
Rumors and reports about the price and the release date of each of the next-generation consoles — of varying levels of reliability — have been making the rounds since before the consoles were officially revealed. The latest one, from VGC, surfaced this morning and details the most likely release dates for both consoles. In case you’re wondering, writer Andy Robinson’s best guess is that the PS5 will launch in the week of November 13, and the XSX will launch sometime before that. VGC speculates supply chain instability is the primary reason the companies have waited so long to release the simplest of details about the consoles.
And you know what? I think we’ve hit the point where any longer will be too late. Heck, even if both companies release prices and dates today, they’ll still be ridiculously behind the curve.
🎮 The most powerful console ever
🎮 Re-engineered from the inside out
🎮 Designed for speed and performance
🎮 Amazing graphical fidelity
— Xbox (@Xbox) June 10, 2020
There’s an episode of The Golden Girls where the four main characters are attempting to purchase a coffin for a deceased neighbor, and the funeral home director tries to sell them the priciest box in the house. They repeatedly ask him how much it costs, which he deflects by talking up the features of the coffin (gold leaf detailing, imported satin interior). When he opens the lid to show them the lead lining, sassmaster Dorothy finally loses her patience, slams the lid and says, “We’re not burying Superman. How much?”
I’m at “We’re not burying Superman” levels of frustration right now. So for mercy’s sake, Sony and Microsoft: when and how much?
While I was reading this report, something inside me snapped like a rubber band. Why, I wondered, are we still getting nothing but bits and pieces of maybes when it comes to the next-gen console release dates and prices? These things are meant to be launching within the next few weeks. Let me stress that: according to this report, the next-gen consoles will be in our homes three months from now. We’re in the fourth quarter. This is endgame.
Originally, the rumor was that neither company was releasing prices because they were waiting for the other to go first. Both have historically been burned by price reveals, and I’m sure neither one wants their console to look like a luxury item, especially now. But if that were even the case to begin with, that excuse is wearing thinner by the day. Just for reference, the PS4’s and Xbox One’s prices were announced at the same E3 event where they were revealed. Whatever else you can say about those consoles’ launches, at least they gave the prices early enough for us to plan.
This is not me throwing an entitled gamer tantrum, either (well, not just that). We need to know prices and release dates because we need to be able to budget for purchases. We have no idea how much we’ll need to save up for the purchase at the moment — and there are a lot of us who are just not going to be able to rock up to the store of choice in mid-November with several hundred dollars. These are things we need to know sooner rather than later.
And before anyone says it: yes, I know there’s a pandemic ruining the globe — I’m not that much of a shut-in. I’m aware that this will make the release much more difficult than it’s been in the past. But if things are so unstable that neither company can commit to something as fundamental as a date and a price… maybe we don’t need to launch either console this year? Kotaku’s Ethan Gach made the case earlier this week that, between game delays and the pandemic, Sony and Microsoft may just straight up not be ready for a next-gen launch.
Regardless of whether that’s true (for the record, I think it is), both companies have vocally said their consoles will be out by sometime this year. But you can’t have it both ways, y’all. Either commit or don’t, but either way, you need to let us know the details so that we can be ready when the next-gen consoles come out.
So come on, Sony and Microsoft. You’re on your last chance. When and how much?