Scarce components have pushed the manufacturing costs for Sony’s next PlayStation to around $450 per unit, forcing a difficult price-setting decision in its battle with Microsoft Corp., Bloomberg reports citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The Japanese conglomerate is preparing to gradually replace the six-year-old PS4 console, releasing its PlayStation 5 the same holiday season its archrival debuts the upcoming Xbox Series X. Sony typically finalizes a console’s price in February of the release year, followed by mass production in the spring. With the PS5, the company is taking a wait-and-see approach, said the people, asking not to be named because the details are private.
The PS4, released in 2013 at a retail price of $399, was estimated by IHS Markit to cost $381 to manufacture. With the $450 unit cost and a similar gross margin, the PlayStation 5’s retail price would have to be at least $470. That would be a hard sell to consumers, considering Sony’s most expensive machine now is the $399.99 PS4 Pro and is often discounted, according to Macquarie Capital analyst Damian Thong.
“Consumers will benchmark their expectations based on the PS4 Pro and PS4,” Thong said. “If Sony prices above that, it would likely be to balance a need to offset higher materials cost, against risk to demand.”
Sony declined to comment.
The company’s biggest headache is ensuring a reliable supply of DRAM and NAND flash memory, with both in high demand as smartphone makers gear up for fifth-generation devices, according to people familiar with Sony’s operations. Samsung Electronics Co. just announced its Galaxy S20 product range, each variant of which will have 5G and a minimum of 12GB of RAM in the U.S.