Sony has matched the price of its flagship PlayStation 5 to that of the Xbox Series X. Last time, the PS4 was significantly cheaper.
It also confirmed the “digital edition” of the console – which does not have a disc drive – would cost about 40% more than the lower-end Xbox Series S.
Both versions are set to be released on 19 November in the UK, and 12 November in the US, Japan and Australia.
That puts them slightly later than Microsoft’s 10 November launch date.
Sony was the clear leader in the last generation of the so-called console wars.
The various PlayStation 4 consoles outsold the Xbox One range by a factor of more than two to one.
But the £449/$500/€500 cost of its new top-end machine and £360/$400/€400 price of the disc-less one means it may be a closer battle this time round, at least to begin with.
Many industry-watchers believe Microsoft’s combination of a £250 price for the XBox Series S and the value offered by the Xbox Game Pass subscription service could give the US firm an advantage.
Microsoft offers members its first-party blockbuster games at launch in its games library, unlike Sony’s existing PlayStation Now services, which is limited to older major releases.
Sony showed off a new subscription service called the PlayStation Plus collection for the PS5.
But it appeared to focus on some of the PS4’s greatest hits – including Last of Us Remastered, God of War and Bloodborne – rather than any of the PS5’s new releases.
One key difference between the two companies’ strategies is that Microsoft’s basic next-generation console will deliver lower-resolution graphics than its more expensive sibling, while Sony has opted only to remove the Blu-ray drive from its entry-level machine.
On that basis, its marketers may still argue it provides a better value offer for the full experience of what next-generation console gaming can deliver.
Even so, it is likely Sony will instead focus its appeal on the draw of “console exclusive” titles for its new machines.
To that end, during its latest virtual event it showed trailers and gameplay for:
- Final Fantasy XVI – the latest entry in Square Enix’s series, which appears to set in a medieval world this time round after the sci-fi-themed last title
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales – including a lengthy battle with super-villain The Tinkerer on a bridge
- Deathloop – an assassin-themed shooter in which time repeats, helping players learn how best to hunt their targets
It also teased its forthcoming God of War sequel Ragnarok, which it said would be released next year, but only showed off an animated logo.
Many of the games on show had been previewed at an earlier event in June.
But there was also a first look at the much anticipated Harry Potter spin-off role-player game Hogwarts Legacy, which will be a cross-platform release in 2021.