At Sony’s PlayStation 5 Showcase this afternoon, the final (and much awaited) pieces of the puzzle with regards to the console’s launch have dropped: pricing and a release date.

Sony’s next-generation console will launch on Thursday, November 12th. The full version of the console, which includes a Blu-ray disc drive, will launch at $499. Meanwhile the “Digital Edition” of the console, which foregoes optical storage entirely, will release for a surprising $399, a full $100 cheaper despite only giving up a disc drive.

This will put Sony’s launch 2 days after Microsoft’s own Xbox Series X/S launch, which is taking place on Tuesday, November 10th. The $499 price tag for the two companies’ respective flagship consoles will put them in direct competition, while the PS5 Digital Edition/Xbox Series S divide should prove far more interesting – if not a bit frustrating for consumers trying to make the best choice. The discless PS5 is every bit as powerful as its disc-capable sibling – making it a spoiler of sorts at $399 – whereas the Xbox Series S gets a significantly weaker GPU than the Xbox Series X. However at $299 the slimmed down console is cheaper still, and still gets to run next-gen games.

Next-Gen Console Specs
  PlayStation 5 PlayStation 5
Digital Edition
Xbox Series S Xbox Series X
CPU 8 Core AMD Zen 2
@ 3.5 GHz w/SMT
8 Core AMD Zen 2
@ 3.6 GHz
@ 3.4 GHz w/SMT
8 Core AMD Zen 2
@ 3.8 GHz
@ 3.6 GHz /wSMT
@ 2.23GHz
@ 1.565 GHz
@ 1.825 GHz
GPU Throughput (FP32) 10.28 TFLOPS 4 TFLOPS 12.15 TFLOPS
Memory 16GB GDDR6
@ 14Gbps
@ 14Gbps
@ 14Gbps
Memory Throughput 16GB@448GB/sec
Storage 825GB PCIe 4 x4 SSD 512GB PCIe 4 x2 SSD 1TB PCIe 4 x2 SSD
Storage Throughput 5.5GB/sec 2.4GB/sec
Storage Expansion M.2 (NVMe) Slot
PCIe 4 x4
Xbox Storage Expansion Card (1TB)
Disc Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray No No 4K UHD Blu-Ray
Manufacturing Process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
Launch Date 2020/11/12 2020/11/10
Launch Price $499 $399 $299 $499

Or if you’re in the mood for a PC (a platform we’re particularly partial towards), over the next couple of months we will be seeing new hardware launches there as well, including NVIDIA’s $500 GeForce RTX 3070, and AMD’s new RDNA2-based Radeon RX 6000 video cards. So there is no shortage of gaming hardware to be had this fall – at least if you have the cash.

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  • ikjadoon - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    If you play 1-2 games AAA games, I agree completely: an external HDD is a much better buy for the odd transfer (roughly 30 minutes per 100 GB), instead of saturating your internet connection.

    But, adding 30+ minutes per 100 GB HDD->NVMe transfer to get the next-gen storage performance does feel tedious.

    Still, not a new problem; PC gamers have faced the SSD vs HDD priority dilemma for years now. In the end, yes: the all-digital PS5 price cuts down on a friction point by not shrinking the SSD.

    Makes you wonder if Microsoft will release a Series S at 1 TB for $349 to compete.
  • Drkrieger01 - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    At least we now have cheaper SATA SSD alternatives with higher capacities. We can run M.2/NVMe for OS & most commonly played games, then offload the lesser common stuff on SATA :)
    Yay for platform flexibility :D
  • khanikun - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    Can't use external drives for PS5 games, but can for PS4 games. Simply not fast enough for PS5 games. If they allow you to backup PS5 game data to an external for faster transfer back to the internal drive, guess that'd be better than nothing and probably faster than reinstalling from disc or download.

    Hope Sony increased their PS Store bandwidth, but I doubt they did and it's still slow for downloading.
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    Agreed based on what I'm seeing the PS5 Digital wins that no contest.
  • Tabalan - Thursday, September 17, 2020 - link

    PS5 Digital is potentially cash black hole as you can't buy used games as they are signed to account. We will have to see if you can use those on "flagship" consoles, but for now Digital/S in my opinion looks way worse.
  • zanon - Thursday, September 17, 2020 - link

    I really don't understand this sentiment. Digital stores including Sony's have extremely aggressive discounting on older stuff (often even after just 6-12 months) in the 50-90% range all the freaking time. Constant bundle sales, monthly sales, weekly special offers, big holiday sales, etc etc. And they are never out of stock. You just fill up a big wishlist and glance at it once in a while or during major sale periods and see what is available at a big discount. Or price tracking sites will just notify you if you want. Digital has been the absolute cheapest way to get games around here, far more than previously. Maybe in some more metro areas the used game market was enough to make that less true, but digital offers the good deals to everyone. If anything these days the real problem is backlog!
  • TheinsanegamerN - Friday, September 18, 2020 - link

    Even here is the flyover states, buying physical is STILL cheaper then buying digital. Digital sales are nice, but by the time you see $30 on a digital title the physical title is $9.99 at gamestop. Metro areas are even cheaper then that.

    If you only buy digital those "sales" seem great, until you start lookign at the prices of physical copies around you
  • ExarKun333 - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    No dog in the fight here, but you can't just throw any old SSD in the Sony. I am assuming 'to spec' SSDs for them will not be any cheaper than Xbox options...
  • ikjadoon - Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - link

    Same: both are competitively priced overall. Can't fault either Sony or MS for their pricing: a good sign for this console generation.

    A great point. Perhaps why the extra 325 GB of storage will be more handy on the PS5 Digital. This transcription from Sony makes it seem as these first-gen PCIe 4.0 drives aren't going to be up to snuff (and they're already at the $180/TB mark), so perhaps the native-SSD-performance pricing will be quite close.
  • Zagor Te Nay - Monday, September 21, 2020 - link

    So far, there's no exclusivity being mentioned for PS5 SSDs. If multiple vendors compete, we can hope for lower prices with more confidence - down the line - than from exclusive MS/Seagate deal.

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