PlayStation 5 arrives on November 12

AP – Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 (PS5) video game console will cost USD500 and launch on November 12, the company said on Wednesday, setting up a holiday battle with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X over whose new console will turn up under more trees this year.

Video game fans have been chomping at the bit for the new consoles, and not just because they have been stuck inside since March. The roughly seven-year life cycle of a video game console has been nearing an end. Both predecessor consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 (PS4), launched in 2013.

The new consoles promise faster load times, souped up graphics and new games. Sony’s console is also more expensive this time around; the PS4 launched for USD400 in 2013.

Sony’s PS5 will come in two different models — a standard version with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive for USD500, and a digital-oriented version with no disk drive that costs USD400. While you can still buy games on optical disks, it’s increasingly common for gamers to download them in digital form instead.

The United States (US), Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea will see the console on November 12; everywhere else will get it a week later.

File photo of patrons at the PlayStation booth during the 24th Electronic Entertainment Expo E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. PHOTO: AP

In a presentation on Wednesday, Sony previewed games including Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which will be available at launch, and a Harry Potter game, Hogwarts Legacy, which will be out in 2021. It gave a sneak peak of Final Fantasy XVI, which will be exclusive to PlayStation, but did not specify when that game will launch.

Last week, Microsoft said its Xbox Series X will cost USD500 and debut November 10, just ahead of the holidays. A stripped down version, Xbox Series S, will cost USD300 and be available at the same time. Pre-orders begin September 22. New video games at launch include Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Gears Tactics, Dirt 5, and Watch Dogs Legion.

Nintendo, which makes another popular console, the Nintendo Switch, will not have a new model out until next year.

But Facebook could offer Microsoft and Sony some holiday competition. It said on Wednesday a new version of its wire-free virtual reality headset, the Oculus Quest 2, will start shipping on October 13, just in time for the holidays.