Sony’s PS5 may share an opinion about its looks, but there’s no doubt that it’s one seriously impressive gaming machine. For $ 499 (£ 449 in the UK) you can get a 4K console that would cost you well over $ 1,500 if you want to build an equivalent gaming PC.
Then, there’s the $ 399 PS5 Digital Edition, which offers the same power as a standard console, only it drops Blu-ray drive. And with a fast PCIe 4.0 SSD, both machines are equipped with the appropriate next-generation technology for less than $ 500. Sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it? Not really.
Even if you can find where you can buy the PS5, $ 399 is the lowest minimum you’ll pay for a console, because you’ll have to spend a lot more on it to get the most out of the PS5. So here’s what we consider the actual cost of the PS5.
SSD upgrade: estimated at $ 200 / £ 200
Although the PS5 has an 825 GB SSD, you actually only have 667.2 GB at your disposal, and the operating system and other software needed to run the console take up much of the SSD capacity. That would be fine if modern games didn’t weigh about 50GB, and sometimes a lot more. So, if you want to have an extensive game library on your PS5, you’ll need to be prepared to upgrade your storage.
There are currently no Sony certified PICs 4.0 SSDs available. But given that the proprietary 1TB PCIe 4.0 external SSD expansion card from the 1TB X Series costs $ 219 / £ 219, we can’t imagine that upgrading the SSD for the PS5 will be cheap. We would expect you to have to pay an additional $ 200 / £ 200 to get a 1 TB SSD to increase the console’s internal memory.
Pulse 3D Wireless Headphones: $ 99 / £ 89
The PS5 comes with a Sony custom Tempest 3D AudioTech, which delivers rich 360-degree sound through smart processing to provide a better sound experience for PS5 games. While the technology will reportedly work with some existing TVs, to get the full experience here and now, you need a PS5 Pulse 3D Wireless headset.
Priced at $ 99 / £ 89, it’s surprisingly affordable for gaming headphones to be used with proprietary technology. But that still means adding another part of the change to the overall price of the PS5.
Spare DualSense controller: 69 USD / 59 £
Sony’s DualSense controller is a pretty special peripheral considering its advanced haptics that can – when applied well – provide a more tactile and immersive gaming experience. (Our own Marshall Honorof thought DualSense was a trick until he played Demon’s Souls). But you only get one DualSense controller in the PS5 box. Although the controller is easily charged via USB-C, it only takes about four to six hours.
So you could have a spare controller on hand when your main one runs out of electricity in the middle of a game. Or if you have friends nearby and want to play multiple players on a split screen when the coronavirus pandemic recedes. To do this, you need to set aside an additional $ 69 / £ 59, which is not an unreasonable price for a fairly advanced controller. But the second DualSense means the cost of owning a PS5 is rising again.
PlayStation Plus: 59 USD / 49 GBP per year
If you want to access multiplayer games and online title elements like Demon’s Souls, as well as cloud storage, then you need a PlayStation Plus subscription.
The most affordable way to do this is to pay an annual subscription that will refund you $ 59 / £ 49 per year. This might seem a bit sparse, given that Microsoft offers free Xbox savings in the cloud, and PC gamers have long enjoyed access to subscriptions to multiplayer gaming platforms as well as cloud storage and synchronization systems. Like it or not, it’s just a situation with Sony and its PlayStation consoles.
Exclusive games for PS5: 118 USD / 118 £
The PS5 is a generation of games that will cost up to $ 70 / £ 70 per game, which means you’ll have to get used to spending a good amount more on games if you want to get them as soon as they come out. Let’s say you just got a PS5, and then your main choices are the exclusive Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls, which cost £ 49/49 and £ 69/69 respectively in the PlayStation Store.
Since purchasing one game for the PS5 doesn’t really make sense, we’ll assume you’ll want both to start on Sony’s new console. That means you’ll have to part with £ 118 / £ 118, which is a pretty hefty amount for two games, one of which is basically an extension for the 2018 game – as well as availability on the PS4 – and the other is a remake, although darkly beautiful, the 2009 games. Do you like a third-party game with next-generation graphics? Then you could opt for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which will give you back $ 59 / £ 59, even though the game is discounted for the holidays. While you can wait for the games to go on sale, getting a package of PS5 games to start with won’t be cheap.
Real PS5 cost: $ 1,044 / £ 964 for a standard PS5; 944 USD / 874 £ for PS5 Digital Edition
When you consider all the peripherals, games and near-essential accessories, you’ll be looking at a parting with at least $ 944 / £ 874 for the PS5 Digital Edition and up to $ 1,044 / £ 964 for the standard PS5. That’s a pretty large amount of money for a slot machine that is locked into one ecosystem.
For that amount of money you can make a decent gaming PC, although you will have to buy. And PC games are significantly cheaper, and PC games offer a huge amount to play, from top titles to vague indie creations to games from a few decades ago.
But if you want to play at 4K, or at least at dynamic resolutions up to 4K, you’ll have to spend quite a bit more on a gaming computer. Despite our calculations, the PS5 is still a surprisingly good value.
Getting a PS5 is extremely difficult at the moment, as the console is sold worldwide. But wait until 2021 when demand has leveled off a bit and you could get yourself a bargain package as well as have a larger selection of games to choose from; we believe 2021 will be the year of the PS5.