Thinking of Buying a PS5? 6 Things to Consider First
- Consider the total cost of a PS5, including games and accessories, which could add up to hundreds of dollars on top of the initial price.
- If you still have a backlog of PS4 games to play, it may make more sense to finish those before upgrading to the PS5, which is backward-compatible and offers a fairly similar experience for PS4 titles.
- Evaluate your interest in the available PS5 games, as many top titles are also available on other platforms. If you’re not eager to play PS5 exclusives, you can probably wait to upgrade.
If you haven’t picked up a PS5 yet, but are thinking about it, you should consider whether it’s the right move for you. Here are several points to think about before you spend several hundred dollars on Sony’s latest console.
1. Can You Afford the Total Cost of a PS5?
Before you buy anything, you should of course consider the price. While the cost varies across models, the PS5 starts at $400 or $450—not cheap enough to buy on impulse.
Even if you can afford the console itself, don’t forget about the additional expenses associated with the purchase. The PS5 comes with a pack-in demo called Astro’s Playroom, but that won’t keep you occupied for long. Many Sony-published titles cost $70 new, up from $60 in the previous generation. And if you want to play online, you need at least PlayStation Plus Essential, which is $80/year.
Thus, buying just two titles and a year of PlayStation Plus Essential could increase the initial cost by another $220—about half the cost of the PS5 itself.
Games aren’t the only extra outlay, either. You might want to upgrade your headphones, buy a second DualSense controller for multiplayer ($70+), or get a charging stand for those controllers. You should figure those into your budget for the system too.
Depending on how many extras you want to buy, the initial ~$450 price tag could quickly climb to hundreds more. To help offset this cost, you might consider selling your PlayStation 4 and putting the cash towards a PlayStation 5, after considering…
2. Are You Done Playing PlayStation 4 Games?
The PS4 is home to tons of great games. If you picked up the system partway through its lifespan, chances are that you haven’t had a chance to play them all. Thus, you should consider whether you have PS4 games you still want to check out.
Older PS4 games are still perfectly playable even with a newer console out. Plus, as PS4 titles get older, you can pick them up at a discount compared to brand-new PlayStation 5 games.
Once you do upgrade, you’ll be glad to know the PlayStation 5 is backward-compatible with almost all PlayStation 4 games. You can use PS4 controllers to play PS4 games, and the PS5 also supports playing PS4 titles from an external drive. And while some PS4 games run slightly better on PS5, the difference isn’t huge.
If you’re not in a rush to play certain PS5 games, you might as well finish your backlog on PS4. With the PS5’s limited SSD space, finishing them before you upgrade means less juggling of installed games.
If you’re mostly done with PS4 games, moving to the PS5 makes more sense.
3. Are You Interested in the Available PS5 Games?
Many top PS5 titles, such as Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring, are also available on PS4 or other platforms. Whether it’s worth upgrading from PS4 to PS5 depends on the games you want to play. If you aren’t dying to play titles limited to PS5 like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart or Final Fantasy XVI, you can probably wait.
If the next entry in your favorite series is only coming to PS5, then you should get the newer console. It’s up to you whether you should upgrade for the superior PS5 version of cross-generational titles.
4. There Are Now Two Models of PS5
In October 2023, Sony announced a minor revision to the PS5, which most call the PS5 Slim following prior console naming conventions.
The original PS5 is available in two models: the standard version with a disc drive for $500, or a digital-only edition for $400. The PS5 Slim costs $450 if you buy the system without a disc drive or $500 with the drive. If you buy the disc-less model of the Slim, you can buy the disc reader separately in the future (but this reader is not compatible with the original digital-only PS5).
Aside from the smaller size, the only other notable improvement in the Slim PS5 is that the new model has 1TB of internal space compared to the 825GB in the original. Thus, if you decide to move forward with a PS5, it’s a good idea to grab the new, Slim model. For around the same cost, you get a few improvements that will help you enjoy your console for years to come.
Thankfully, the PS5’s notorious stock issues have mostly cleared up as of this writing, so you shouldn’t have much trouble getting your hands on one.
5. Waiting May Get You Better Deals
The middle of a console’s lifetime is a great time to buy, as there are more games to choose from with plenty on the horizon, and any hardware issues from the original models are usually ironed out with a revision. Even so, being a bit more patient might result in you getting a better value for your purchase.
Now that the PS5 is a few years old, we’re more likely to see bundles that increase the value of buying the system. During Black Friday 2023, for example, a bundle with the PS5 Slim and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was on shelves for $500. That’s a $70 savings, as you get the game for free.
It’s up to you whether it’s worth jumping in now to play, or if you want to wait for the optimal moment.
6. Is the PlayStation 5 the Best Choice for You?
Don’t forget that the PlayStation 5 isn’t the only gaming system available. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S launched around the same time as the PS5. If you’re a PlayStation fan, the decision is probably easy. But don’t discount the other choices.
The Xbox Series S is a less powerful console, but it’s available for $300 ($350 if you want 1TB of space). If you want next-gen gaming right away while spending as little as possible, that could be a better option for you.
Both new Xbox consoles are backward-compatible with loads of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles. If you’re interested in bygone Xbox games, the new Xbox might be a better fit. And Xbox Game Pass provides amazing value with hundreds of high-quality games for a monthly cost, making it a selling point for both Xbox systems.
Alternatively, you could build a decent gaming PC for the cost of a PlayStation 5, though you can put a lot more money into that project if you like. PC gaming has a lot of benefits, such as more control options, better graphical performance, and free multiplayer. If you’re not sold on the PS5, perhaps this would be a good time to try PC gaming.
Carefully Consider Buying a PlayStation 5
We’re not here to discourage you from buying a PS5. The console is a big improvement over the PS4, and a few years in, there are enough great games that make it worth buying. But before you jump in, consider the points above to decide if it’s best to buy one right now.
Maybe you’ve decided to skip upgrading for now. In that case, why not consider a portable game console instead?