With Sony & Microsoft's next-gen consoles likely due just 19 months from now, there's been a lot of talk about the specs lately and it got me thinking: how much are they going to cost at launch?
We already know that the PS5 at least will retail at "less than $500," which is kind of vague. $499? $449? But is the market ready for a $500 console yet? Well, maybe. So long as they can offer enough horsepower to justify the price, I think it would work. And given that many felt the base PS4 & XBO were kind of underwhelming, I do hope we get something that's a more serious leap this time. Looking at past launch prices adjusted for inflation, $500 isn't nearly as high as it used to be. Here's some past console launch prices adjusted to current U.S. dollars (rounded to the nearest dollar):
Xbox 360 (20 GB): $515
PS3 (20 GB): $631
And of course there's the $500 Xbox One X, which, while just a mid-gen upgrade that is not the most popular SKU, still apparently has done pretty well for itself (though exact numbers have proven elusive). It was clearly enough of an upgrade to justify the price point (as opposed to the original XBO's $500 launch price, which was due to forced Kinect, something most felt was not worth it, and was arguably the key factor behind Xbox dropping to second place in the U.S., its strongest market, this gen).
$450 would put the PS5 & Xbox 4 right on par with the PS4, assuming a net inflation rate of 3% between now an Nov. 2020. $500 would only be $50 more than that (and a bit less than the 360 Pro's adjusted launch price), while $400 would make them the least expensive systems of their respective brands. If the PS5 and Xbox 4 are beefy enough to justify is, $500 could be a reasonable price point at launch, one that will not turn away potential early adopters, and would give us systems that would be a significant leap.
P.S.: Sorry if this post doesn't flow well or seems kind of rambling. I'm half asleep and haven't eaten dinner yet.