One of the benefits of playing on PlayStation compared to, say, Nintendo Switch is that software prices fall fast. Or at least, they used to. Sony’s exclusives hold their value to some extent, but it usually doesn’t take more than a few months for the manufacturer to start chipping away at the prices in promotional events. So far, however, that hasn’t proven true for PS5’s first-party titles.
Launch titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Demon’s Souls have yet to be discounted on the PS Store – despite them now being six months old. Not even PS Plus subscribers have been able to save a few cents on these games – in fact, price tracking websites like PSPrices display a flat line from launch through until today.
Contrast this to flagship PS4 exclusive The Last of Us: Part II, which has been available for longer but saw its price drop within three months. It’s still generally holding its value, but has been available for as low as $29.99 recently – which is half-price. Considering this is one of Sony’s biggest and most important titles, you’d expect it to have made similar adjustments to the likes of Demon’s Souls by now.
So, what’s going on? Well, clearly some of this comes down to next-gen tax. Many fans are still desperately attempting to get hold of Sony’s new console, and therefore there’s still a huge market for games like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales at full-price – in fact, in the UK, we’ve seen the superhero spin-off’s chart position correlate directly with new stock becoming available.
But with an install base approaching 10 million units, there’s a massive audience of early adopters waiting on price drops to pick up acclaimed titles Sackboy: A Big Adventure. When will the prices change, then? Well, Sony has historically plunged the price of first-party software during Days of Play, so we’d put money on many of the abovementioned PS5 titles getting their first promotion next month.
However, it’s possible that PlayStation is also moving towards a model where it aims to retain the value of its exclusives – much like Nintendo does. While games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe do occasionally drop in price, the House of Mario typically resists the temptation to reduce them too much, holding their value even as they age.
As the PS5 matures, we’ll learn more about Sony’s approach here. With the platform holder now charging £69.99/$69.99 for first-party titles, it’s becoming harder to justify buying games day one. If it also intends to hold those prices for longer, then playing on PlayStation is about to become very expensive indeed. This will be a story to watch over the next 18 months or so.