Undoubtedly, this sets a high bar for Microsoft, as it has been going around that they are due to launch two variants of the Xbox Series X models. The first one, the Xbox Series X has already been revealed, while Xbox (code name Lockhart) is still being made, and due to come out soon at a cheaper price than its predecessor. The Lockhart model is expected to come with some changes to its memory configuration and GPU which would make it less powerful than Series X.
Price has a huge role to play when it comes to next-gen console phase, and since we are heading towards a recession that's possibly going to be the worst one in decades, a small cut-down on price can go a long way for both Sony and Mircosoft.
The PS5 Digital Edition does not carry an optical disc, but Sony can drive in its cut every time someone shops for a game from its digital store. Sony has not said anything about allowing people to loan games to others or resell digital games, both of which can bring in digital sales.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has given digital Xbox editions a shot as well as digital game sharing. It brought forward a disc-free Xbox One S All Digital Edition last year that cost $249, cutting down $50 from the Xbox One S retail price. There has been a huge demand for it, as many games require huge updates and need to be installed on a drive. Microsoft was about to let Xbox One users share games digitally but since it received criticism over used games policies, the company was forced to take back its plans.
Console pricing is important, but it is not everything that companies should be concerned about right now, storage and digital games will play an important part now more than ever. Sony is making it mandatory that all games must be installed to the internal SSD for better read speeds while Xbox Series X internal SSD will be needed for Series X Optimized games.
How the two companies have expanded storage on their next-gen consoles is vastly different. Sony has allowed users to increase storage via SSD drives that live up to its specs. This gives us a clue that PS5 will give owners more storage options.
Microsoft has collaborated with Seagate to introduce 1TB expansion cards that go inside the rear of the Xbox Series X. As of now, we can't say how much these cards will cost or if other driver makers will be able to manufacture Xbox Series X cards in the future. These storage costs will be included in the total cost of these devices, regardless of which one you choose.
There's no news on when Microsoft and Sony will reveal the pricing. However, unless Microsoft plans on revealing an Xbox Series X Digital Edition, it seems that the stage belongs to another next-gen Xbox console that will be cheaper in comparison to the Series X.
Microsoft has not kept it hidden how its Xbox business is more about reaching more people than the number of consoles it sells. Streaming Xbox games via its Project Cloud is something huge and Microsoft is pairing up this streaming with its thrilling Xbox Game Pass subscription.
Sony has revealed with its new PS5 that it is up for some competition, and Microsoft's reply would surely strengthen its subscription services, cloud game streaming as well as a possible second next-gen Xbox. We do, however, have to wait long to find out the price of next-gen consoles.