Pushing Buttons: Sony’s PS5 Price Hike Shows Gaming Has Limits | Games

me I came back from a week of running around Gamescom in a convention center in Cologne, drinking German beer out of deceptively tiny glasses, only to discover that Sony is – in this economy! – lifting the price of the PlayStation 5. The cost will remain the same in the US, but in the rest of the world it will increase by up to 20%; in the UK it will increase by 6%, from £449.99 to £479.99 (or from £359.99 to £389.99 for the cheapest model without a disc drive). The rise is steepest (21%) in Sony’s heartland of Japan.

With middle-income people cutting costs and lower-income people facing heartbreaking choices between, say, food and heating when energy prices double this winter, this news has put me in a state of fury of late-stage capitalism. Many are on strike because people can no longer afford to live. Small businesses will go out of business because they will not be able to absorb endless increases in costs. We are all worried, many of us are struggling. This is not the time to pass on manufacturing cost increases to customers. Sony is displaying an unfortunate arrogance that reminds me of the early days of PS3, when then-PlayStation chief Ken Kutaragi suggested that people should simply work longer hours to pay the console’s launch price of $599. The fact that the increase is higher in the two markets that Sony dominates, Japan and Europe, shows unseemly complacency.

Sony described this move as “a necessity given the current global economic environment and its impact on SIEs. [Sony Interactive Entertainment’s] But when times are tough, it’s never corporations that take the hit, is it? Instead of building up reserves to weather tough years, as Nintendo did, when it posted its first and only lifetime loss After the failed Wii U, released in 2012, companies simply charge consumers more to preserve their profits, year after year.Unsurprisingly, the accepted reality is that it is right to put shareholders before customers. From a 2% drop in PS5 sales over the past year, Sony’s overall operating income in the first quarter of 2022 was up $2.3 billion, by the way.

This is the first time a game console has had a post-launch price increase that I know of. There have been plenty of slightly embarrassing cuts: the PlayStation 3’s atrocious launch price didn’t last long, and in the 1990s, Nintendo was forced to lower the price of the Nintendo 64 and offer pesky early adopters a free game like compensation. Microsoft told Video Games Chronicle that the price of the Xbox Series X/S will remain the same (£250-£450 depending on the model), and the cost of the Nintendo Switch will not change either, as the company’s president promised, Shuntaro Furukawa, in June. This leaves Sony in the unenviable company of Meta, which recently raised the price of the Oculus Quest VR headset.

The most successful video game companies are often mistaken for arrogance. Fresh off the huge success of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy in the ’90s, Nintendo released the expensive and awkward (yet still beloved) Nintendo 64, only to find itself outclassed by Sony’s original PlayStation. Sony, meanwhile, took years to recover from the awkward launch years of the expensive and unwieldy PlayStation 3, having considered itself unbeatable after the PlayStation 2, which sold 158 million. And while it was busy struggling, Microsoft finally won hearts in the video game market. with the excellent Xbox 360, then squandered its leadership with Xbox One, a console that seemed more interested in selling people the concept of an “entertainment center” than letting them play games.

The PlayStation 4 might have outsold the Xbox One by more than two to one, but Sony isn’t untouchable. People won’t like this price increase, and they certainly won’t like their moment, as they stare in horror at their gas bills. I think PlayStation would be justified in taking a reputational hit for this.

what to play

Bewitching... Immortality.
Bewitching… Immortality. Photography: Steam

Sam Barlow, who created the riveting mystery games Her Story and Telling Lies, has a new game. It’s called Immortality, and I was absolutely spellbound. The game’s fictional actress, Marissa Marcel, starred in three movies, but none of those movies were released and she has now disappeared. You, browsing through an archive of footage, scenes and essays from her career, must find out why. The artistry and intelligence of this footage, the perfect detail of the film-making history period, the stellar performances, the way the underlying mystery gradually reveals itself to you in a way that feels natural and self-directed, is Amazing. I couldn’t get away from it. It’s more than a game, more than a series of interactive movie clips: it’s a small, independent intellectual world.

Available in: smartphones, PCs, Xbox
Approximate playing time: 6-10 hours

what to read

lies of p.
Bloodborne-esque… Lies from P. Photograph: Neowiz/Steam
  • Lies of P generated a lot of buzz at Gamescom last week: it’s a Bloodborne-style gothic action game based on, uh, Pinocchio, made in Seoul. He was convinced when the evil Geppetto appeared in the trailer.

  • Masahiro Sakurai, the game design genius behind Super Smash Bros, has opened a YouTube channel to provide extremely informed wisdom and opinions on games and their development. It’s always interesting, even when it gets technical.

what to click

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Pentiment, the 16th century murder mystery that looks like a playable tapestry

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question block

Reader Maisie is looking for a recommendation: I really enjoyed Disco Elysium: I liked the atmosphere, the length (17 hours) and the mechanics of the game. What should I play next?

I bounced right off Disco Elysium, it has something to do with the tone of the writing, but I love a lot of games with a similar cerebral mood. Here are some of them: Return of the Obra Dinna mystery game set on a ship; sunless sea Y sunless skiestwo literary exploration games; the forgotten city, a Roman time capsule with great characters and dialogue; and of course Planescape Torment, the classic solid gold computer RPG. Its more modern sequel. pillars of eternity it’s good, too. And if you like fantasy, Divinity: original sin and its sequel are, like Disco Elysium, pleasantly malleable when it comes to how your character’s abilities and your choices affect the way things play out in the world.

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