5 Ways to Save on your upcoming PS5 / Xbox Series X purchase
With the Sony PlayStation 5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X currently slated to hit shelves at the end of 2020, we’ve come up with a handful of tips to help you save money on the upcoming next generation consoles as well as the games / services that come with each platform.
Tip 1: Invest in cheap subscriptions to PlayStation Plus & Xbox Live Gold now before prices potentially go up.
As of late, sales on 1-year of PlayStation Plus has been hovering around the $30 price point (MSRP: $60). Those sales are extremely frequent, not specifically limited to big sales like Prime Day or Black Friday. Xbox Live Gold sales are less frequent, but usually around the $40 price point.
If you plan on investing in the next generation of consoles, you run the risk of a price increase on services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold at some point in the product life cycle. It’s always a good idea to stock up on these 1-year subscriptions as you can stack multiple years. You can stack up to 4 years of PlayStation Plus and 3 years of Xbox Live Gold.
The same advice goes for game subscription services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass. Look for more aggressive deals on both of those services prior to the launch of the new consoles and avoid any potential price increase after the PS5 / Series X launches in North America.
Tip 2: When buying games this fall for your PS4 or Xbox One, look for a free next gen upgrade option.
Some publishers are announcing free, next gen versions of a game when you purchase the current gen version. The upcoming Avengers game from Square Enix is one such game. The developer is promising the ability to move your save files easily to next-gen consoles, transfer all player profiles / progression stats, and cross-platform play with PS5 / PS4 players.
They are also promising an upgraded gaming experience with faster load times (likely due to SSD drives in the PS4 and Series S), ray tracing, higher resolution textures and features like 60 frames per second at 4K resolution.
Other upcoming games that will get free upgrades on next gen are Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, Far Cry 6 and Watch Dogs Legion. Free upgrades will be a great way to see how the next gen consoles can scale up titles originally programmed for previous gen hardware.
It’s likely that these upgrades will be digital-only, thus you will have to prove ownership by popping in the disc if you purchased a physical copy of the game. Digital versions of the game (purchased on Ps4 / Xbox One) will likely just automatically unlock on the new consoles.
Tip 3: If you want to take advantage of 4K, October / November is the time to a new display on sale.
With Amazon pushing Prime Day into October this year (most likely) and November being the month of the best sales on electronics due to Black Friday, there will be no better time to make the jump to a dedicated 4K display for your gaming needs.
Both consoles will support 4K gaming at 120 Hz, both will support HDMI 2.1 for 48 Gbps data transfer rates. Be aware that if you purchases a 4K TV in the last few years, you may be stuck with a HDMI 2.0 port (which is limited to 18-Gbps bandwidth). Samsung’s QLED TVs are probably a good bet for the functionality you will need as well as LG’s OLED lineup of TVs. I wouldn’t invest in 8K until pricing drops considerably.
As for sale timing, watch throughout November for flash sales at Amazon, Best Buy, eBay and other retailers for great prices on your next set. The same advice goes for any other home theater electronics you want to upgrade to like speaker systems, high end cables and other gear.
Be aware that Sony is attempting to roll out a 3D audio format (Tempest Engine ) directed at headphones for the PS5. It may be more cost effective to spend money on a solid set of headphones rather than a full Dolby Atmos system for your audio needs. Microsoft is offering a similar 3D audio technology called Window Sonic (but it can be flipped off in favor of Dolby Atmos instead).
For those interested in HDR, Microsoft is attempting to include a HDR reconstruction technology in the Series X, specifically designed to improve graphics in older games. It’s likely the PS5 and Series X will support all available HDR display tech for both gaming and movie playback.
Tip 4: Look for bonus credit deals when trading in your old console.
This happens quite often when a new console is released. Companies like GameStop will offer bonus in-store credit when selling your old console. It’s possible that Amazon and Best Buy will copy that model when the PS5 / Series X release dates are finally announced.
In previous years, GameStop has added $50 to $100 on top of the normal trade-in price. That can be applied to your new console purchase or applied to any games / accessories you will need on day one.
Of course, the potential disadvantage to this is that your existing console needs to be in pristine working condition to receive the full store credit. This means you will have to include the original controller, all original cables, any included headset and other accessories that came in the original box. Personally, I hang onto my original box as well, just because it’s easier to keep all the accessories I’m not using in a single place.
If you want to avoid the trade-in process entirely, you could also save money by utilizing a PS4 or Xbox One as a dedicated multimedia hub rather than a gaming console. It can be installed at a secondary TV in your home and used as a 4K disc player, streaming media player, etc…
One final point, it’s possible that Microsoft or Sony could surprise everyone with a trade-in offer of their own. Watch the reaction when the prices of the consoles are announced and see if there’s push back from the community. A trade-in deal might be a response to a high price point of the next gen hardware.
Tip 5: Beware of the Bundle / Beware of Digital-Only Consoles
As with every console launch, there will inevitably be bundles offered by all kinds of retailers. Bundles are specifically designed to help the retailer make money on additional games and accessories (since the margins are razor-thin on the hardware).
Bundles aren’t inherently a bad deal; you can save some money IF you want everything in the bundle. But bundles typically are packaged with at least 1 game that’s reviewed poorly or simply not a popular option. Ideally, you should preorder early on sites like Amazon and choose the console only option.
The same advice goes for digital-only consoles. While you will be able to save money on a digital only console (usually $50 to $100 off the versions that plays discs), SSD storage space will be limited in the first generation version of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. In addition, you wouldn’t be able to trade-in or sell physical copies of games (if you like doing that to save money).
A digital version of the consoles will likely make more sense when 2TB options are available for a reasonable price. I can tell you that I already struggle with data management on a 1TB SSD drive on the PS4. I can’t imagine how worse data storage is going to get with larger resolution files.
Interestingly, the PS5 will be coming with a NVMe SSD Slot for storage expansion. The company hasn’t stated what the capacity of that storage slot will be though. NVMe SSD storage scales up to 4TB, but can get considerably pricey. Microsoft is going a proprietary route and selling 1TB expansion cards created by Seagate.
Bonus Tip: Become a Patient Gamer, just wait.
If you don’t mind waiting a couple years, you are really in the best financial position when it comes to next gen hardware. Within two years, both companies will likely have released new & improved versions of the PS5 & Series X for less than the first generation hardware will cost.
The cost of games will plummet, especially all the first party exclusives released for both consoles during the first two years. You could even pick up a steal on first-gen hardware as the impatient gamers rush to upgrade their existing hardware.
There’s even an entire Reddit sub dedicated to this gaming lifestyle.