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Recap: Sony's surprise decision to increase the price of the PlayStation 5 outside of the US has raised questions about whether rival Microsoft will take the same action with its Xbox Series X/S machines. The good news is that the Redmond firm isn't planning on any price hikes---for the time being.
With the turbulent world economy and rising inflation pushing up manufacturing costs, Sony yesterday announced its intention to pass the extra expense onto consumers. The company is increasing PlayStation 5 prices by $20 to $80 across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America, though the United States is unaffected.
There has been speculation since the announcement that Microsoft could follow Sony's lead and hike the prices of its Xbox Series X/S consoles. It's a reasonable fear, but the tech giant told WindowsCentral it doesn't have any plans to make its machines more expensive, though it certainly didn't rule out any future increases.
"We are constantly evaluating our business to offer our fans great gaming options. Our Xbox Series S suggested retail price remains at $299 (£250, AU$499) the Xbox Series X is $499 (£450, AU$749)," said a Microsoft spokesperson.
The Xbox Series was the best-selling hardware platform in the US earlier this year, partly due to the PS5's availability issues. However, the ~16 million worldwide shipments lag behind its rival's ~22 million shipments---PlayStation has long been more popular than Xbox in most regions outside of the US.
The Xbox Series, like the PS5, uses Zen 2/RDNA 2-based hardware. Microsoft is undoubtedly facing the same manufacturing/logistics cost increases as Sony, but the company likely knows it can score points by refusing to raise its consoles' prices.
There's also consumer spending to consider. Inflation and the rising cost of living have made many think twice before splashing out on large, unnecessary purchases, so a more expensive Xbox Series could have a major impact on sales. This is especially true of the less-powerful Xbox Series S, which has been Microsoft's best-selling console in some key markets thanks to an MSRP that's $200 less than the XBSX.