2020 has been one of the biggest years for gaming, due in large part to the pandemic. It was meant to be a relatively unremarkable year for video game titles with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all holding back major title releases due to the end-of-the-year launch of Sony’s new PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s new Xbox Series line. Nintendo only had two big games slated for the year; “Animal Crossing” and “Paper Mario.” But the pandemic hit right before the release of “Animal Crossing” and with lockdowns in place across the world, people took to gaming to escape. The secondhand market for video gaming exploded as a result, with Switch consoles selling for twice their retail price. Stores quickly sold out of PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones.
As we move into the holiday season, retailers have begun trying to retain stock levels of popular consoles and video games, eagerly awaiting the next wave of video gaming pandemonium. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series preorders officially released in September and online retailers were sold out in a matter of minutes. Major retailers are claiming they will have preorder refills leading up to the release of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series in November, but it is clear the two new consoles will be exceptionally difficult to get ahold of by the holidays.
All of this is in stark contrast to 2019, when gaming sales were anything but exciting due to the upcoming release of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series.
Microsoft Black Friday predictions
Microsoft has done a lot to develop their gaming image over the last year. The company focused on backwards compatibility for the Xbox Series line, guaranteeing that all Xbox One titles would be playable on the new consoles. In addition to games, Microsoft also made waves with their decision to incorporate all Xbox One controllers and accessories to work with the new Series line. The well-established Ultimate Game Pass is a Netflix-like subscription that allows gamers to play games from a large collection of titles, including all Microsoft exclusives.
Although the new consoles will be launching in time for the holiday season, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be no discounts or savings to be had on them.
We predict that, instead, Microsoft will focus on two specific products for the holidays: Game Pass and games. Microsoft’s launch title for the Xbox Series, “Halo Infinite,” was delayed until next year, which left the company in a tight spot when it comes to exclusive launch titles. As a result, we predict that Microsoft will do whatever they can to push video game titles during the holiday season, especially for their new console line. We predict that Game Pass will see subscription discounts, possibly as low as 50% off.
Xbox One X:
The Xbox One X is Microsoft’s high-end Xbox One model. 2019 saw a wide array of Xbox One X bundles marked down to $350 to $375. We predict that this year will be even better for scoring a cheap Xbox One X, with Microsoft adjusting prices down for those who weren’t able to score a new Xbox Series at launch. We predict One X bundles could go as low as $250, depending on the retailer and promotion. If this system doesn’t see a price point that low, we expect they’ll be paired with several games or even Game Pass subscription bundles instead.
Xbox One S:
The One S is in an awkward position as we head into the holidays. The One S is Microsoft’s lower-tier Xbox One and is outclassed by the Series S in a lot of ways (the Series S is basically a better Xbox One X). Last year, several retailers were selling One S units for as low as $149 and we predict this will be the year they drop to $99 in bundle form. These units cannot play games in 4K, but they can play streaming video or digital video in 4K. As a result, the One S has always been a moderate video player for any living room and at $99, it would be quite the steal if you’re using it only for video playback.
Xbox Series X:
The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s top-of-the-line unit and easily the company’s most powerful console to date. It, like the lower Series S version, sold out immediately during the early preorders in September. We predict that there will be no sales on this particular unit over the holidays, but it is quite possible that Microsoft will offer discounted bundles or packages for new Series X video games. The year of the Xbox One launch, for example, saw Best Buy releasing two different promotions during the holidays: one sale was a buy two, get one free deal, and the other was a free $25 gift card on all purchases over $100 (effectively, buy two games and get $25 back on a gift card). Both promotions were great, and it is very possible similar sales will return this year, especially in the age of digital gaming.
Xbox Series S:
The Series S is Microsoft’s low-end unit in the Series line, with specs that place it just above the Xbox One X. That’s still great news for gamers not wanting to make the expensive dive into next-gen gaming, with a price point of only $299 (the Xbox One X currently retails for $299). The Series S will still play all the new games, just not at the same resolution of specs as the Series X. The Series S also doesn’t feature a disk drive, which means it will only support games and media that are bought digitally. There likely won’t be a sale on the Series S this year, either, and physical game sales won’t really apply due to the lack of disk drive.
Microsoft Xbox Black Friday 2020 predictions
|Xbox Model||Current Retail Price||Black Friday 2020 Predictions|
|Xbox One X||$399||$275|
|Xbox Series S||$299||$299|
|Xbox Series X||$499||$499|
Sony Black Friday predictions
Sony’s Playstation 4 has dominated over Microsoft’s Xbox One since the two launched in 2013. It’s possible that Sony will do it again with their Playstation 5, but it is still too early to tell. Microsoft suffered from several horrible design flaws as they announced their Xbox One in early 2013. They were able to change the units to accommodate the complaints, but the flubs gave Sony plenty of opportunity to pounce on their competition. Sony released several commercials directly making fun of Microsoft’s gaffes and, as a result, Microsoft never fully recovered ground.
The Playstation 5 and the Series line look to be eerily similar yet strikingly different. Both feature similar tech, but Sony has taken a few design decisions that may give Microsoft an easy lead at launch. One of those design decisions is the graphics card and processor. Both are similar to the Xbox Series, but slightly less powerful and impressive. However, Sony’s data-transfer speed and NVMe SSD slot are both exceptionally impressive and promise to provide a noticeably faster performance between game loading and accessing content.
Playstation 4 Pro consoles currently retail for $399, but like most gaming consoles, are sold out at major retailers. With the launch of Sony’s new flagship system, the Playstation 5, in November, it is clear that the Playstation 4 Pro will become second fiddle. As a result, we predict several retails will feature bundle savings on the Playstation 4 Pro, lower than anything we’ve seen prior. Shoppers unable to get their hands on a Playstation 5 should be easily able to score a Playstation 4 Pro. The consoles might be going out of style over the next year, but they’re still fantastic systems that play a massive collection of games. The Playstation 4 Pro also plays 4K media, including disks and digital streams, which makes a highly discounted unit not only a great gaming console, but also a great media play for any room in your home. We predict Playstation 4 Pro bundles could fall as low as $199 during the holiday season.
The Playstation 4 is in a similarly awkward position to the Xbox One S, in that both units are easily outclassed by the upcoming consoles and their pricing won’t compute. The Playstation 4 still retails for $299, which is only $100 less than the diskless version of the Playstation 5. We predict that, as a result, the Playstation 4 will see incredibly large discounts this year, possibly down to only $149. Smart shoppers may want to hold off of Playstation 4 units, even at such a low price, due to the greater Playstation 4 Pro and Playstation 5. With the specs of both of those systems, the Playstation 4’s real value will lie in its ability to play 4K video both in physical and digital form.
Sony’s Playstation 5 launch takes a different approach to pricing when compared to Microsoft’s new Xbox Series line. While the Series line has two units at launch, both drastically different from one another, Sony has launched two units that are in almost every way identical. The only real identifying difference between the Playstation 5 models lies in the lack of a disk drive in the lower-end version.
The Playstation 5 diskless model sells for only $399. Sony’s diskless Playstation 5 is a much better purchase than Microsoft’s Series S, but it is likely that consumers will mistake the $100 difference in price and go with the cheaper of the two. We predict that there will be no discounts on either version of the Playstation 5 for the holidays but, like the Xbox Series, we predict that several retailers will run promotions for video games.
Sony PS Black Friday 2020 Predictions
|Playstation 4||Current Retail Price||Black Friday 2020 Predictions|
|Playstation 4 Pro||$399||$275|
|Playstation 5 Disk Version||$499||$499|
Nintendo Black Friday predictions
There is no question that, in terms of gaming, Nintendo has been king in 2020. All retailers quickly sold out of the Nintendo Switch back in March and the secondary market has exploded in terms of prices, with regular Switch units typically selling for twice their retail price. As we get closer to the holidays, the secondary market has started to balance out in terms of supply and demand, but retailers are still doing their best to keep up. Due to the exceptionally high secondary market, retailers that get restocks of the Nintendo Switch find themselves selling out in a matter of minutes.
The Switch also faces almost no direct competition in the upcoming release of the new, next-generation gaming consoles. The Switch does not have the power or visuals that the current gaming consoles have, nor does it come anywhere close to what Microsoft and Sony are about to unleash. Nintendo presumably held back major titles for the rest of 2020 to ignore competing with the new game consoles. As a result, we predict that 2021 will be packed with Switch gaming, including the sequel to insanely popular “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
We predict that the Switch Lite will see discounts in the form of bundle packages, but that due to demand, the Nintendo Switch won’t see many – if any at all – forms of savings.
The Nintendo Switch has not seen a price reduction and we predict that one will not be coming this year, either. In 2018, some retailers had the Nintendo Switch console paired with a free copy of Mario Kart for $299 (regular retail pricing for the Switch). Last year, some retailers also paired the Nintendo Switch with a $30 eShop (Nintendo’s digital shop) gift card. It is very possible that similar deals will take place this year, but due to the surge in sales thanks to the pandemic, it doesn’t feel like a guarantee that this year will also feature a discounted tie-in.
For the last two years, rumors persist of a Nintendo Switch Pro model, but it has still yet to be confirmed by Nintendo. If such a model does exist, it won’t be releasing in 2020.
The Switch Lite launched in the fall of 2019 and has sold quite well for Nintendo. The device is similar to the Nintendo Switch, but is smaller, does not feature removable Joy-Con controllers, and cannot plug into a TV for gaming on the big screen. The Switch Lite is meant only as a portable version of Nintendo’s incredibly popular console. The demand for the Lite wasn’t as high during the pandemic compared to its older and bigger sibling and as such, we predict that Nintendo (and retailers) will be more keen on discounting it in some way for the holidays this year. We predict that either a video game and console bundle will appear at the regular retail price or a similar eShop gift card will be packaged in at some retailers.
Black Friday 2020 Video Game Predictions
|Name of Game||Current Retail Price||Black Friday 2020 Predictions|
|Resident Evil 3 Remake||$59||$29|
|Last of Us Part 2||$59||$39|
|Ghost of Tsushima||$59||$39|