Who’s Switching to the PlayStation 5?

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Naomi Carvalho, Staff Writer

The ground vibrates with the crowd’s anticipation. Two spotlights pan over the ring as the commentator’s booming voice blares across the arena, announcing the competitors. “In this corner, we have the Nintendo Switch! And in this corner, coming up as the underdog, we have the… Playstation 5?” You heard that right. The Nintendo Switch, a console that came out over three years ago, is poised to beat a big-brand, over-hyped console—that hasn’t come out yet. Today, we find out why. *cue dramatic music*

The Switch quickly became a family favorite when it was released in March 2017, popular for its flexibility in gameplay and relatively low price tag. The cheapest of the Big Three consoles, Nintendo Switches retail for three hundred dollars. At least, they used to.  

Quarantine began on March 14, 2020. Animal Crossing: New Horizons—a viral game full of adorable characters and raccoon overlords—was released on March 20. The Nintendo Switch started selling out just a few days afterward. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Chronically bored kids and frazzled parents almost definitely created the Switch-quarantine craze. Nintendo is notorious for making just enough products to meet demand, so when the interest in Switches suddenly spiked, they couldn’t keep up. Switches started selling out, and soon, became impossible to find. Switch-hungry families turned to Craigslist as a final resort, swallowed their pride, and purchased their console for six hundred dollars—double the retail value of the Switch.

The Playstation 5, on the other hand, is expected to retail for five hundred dollars, which would normally have kept it higher up on the console rankings. Playstation CEO Jim Ryan claims that everything about the console will be a “paradigm shift.” 3D Audio? Paradigm shift. New controller? Paradigm shift. Solid State Drive? You guessed it: paradigm shift. While it does have impressive specs—an eight-core CPU and a custom AMD GPU—many doubt this will be enough for the Playstation to top the charts when it releases in Christmas 2020, right when the XBOX Series X is coming out as well. 

In many ways, we will see a paradigm shift in gaming, just not with the consoles themselves. The Switch price markup has been going on for a solid seven months, with no sign of light at the end of the tunnel. Much like my room-turned-quarantine-cave in which I am writing this, the future of a palatable retail price for the Switch isn’t looking bright. 

The pricing difference between the Switch and Playstation series goes to show that families value the Nintendo style of products much more. And in the tech industry, nothing goes unnoticed. This huge interest in Switches will likely ripple into other areas of tech—from consoles themselves to phones and laptops, affecting the lives of non-gamers. 

How exactly will we see products shift over time? We know Switches can play handheld and via a monitor, an attractive feature for families expecting versatility. Switches are also oriented towards kids, which will more than likely drive out-of-the-box, kid-friendly products in the future. 

So the big question: who’s switching to the PS5? Families who have been on the hunt for a Nintendo Switch are quickly tiring. Just as they are about to give up, the one-hundred dollars cheaper Playstation will be waiting for them. Will they give into to the inferior, cookie-cutter console to put something under the Christmas tree? Maybe… but I’m going to stick to searching Craigslist.