Welcome back to the Console Deals blog. It’s over! After a predictably hectic few days, the biggest few days of deals of the year have come to a close. Here at CD HQ, pizzas were eaten, energy drinks and coffee were consumed in industrial quantities, sleep was neglected and there were deals. A lot of deals.
We’ll be putting together a comprehensive post on exactly what happened over the Black Friday weekend - how many of you clicked through to our retailer partners, how much you spent, which consoles sold the most and so on - when the dust has settled a bit more. For now, we wanted to summarise what’s happened in terms of console bundles and prices.
We know there are plenty of you out there still on the hunt for great bargains for Christmas, and we hope to offer some thoughts about what deals you’re likely to see in the next few weeks based on what happened last weekend.
Finally, just a quick note on terminology: a ‘hard bundle’ is a bundle where a digital copy of a game is packaged with the console, and features the game’s box art on the box of the console.
Going into Black Friday week, we felt the PS4 Pro was the big unknown. It had stayed solidly at its launch RRP of £349.99 for a year, a full £100 less than the RRP of its new competitor, the Xbox One X. Would Sony drop the price of a console that was selling well just to try and undercut Microsoft further?
The answer, as it transpired, was a firm yes. First we saw bundles with the Pro and one or two good, new games hitting the £330 mark. Then £299. Finally, the console on its own dropped to an incredible £260. This final move was particularly interesting. The previous drops had been there to entice people away from the X thanks to the inclusion of some big games. The drop of the console by itself, however, felt like an incentive for existing PS4 Slim owners to upgrade.
The price won’t stay at £260. However, having had a £90 discount, it’s hard to see it returning to the full £349.99 RRP. We think the Pro could end up at £300 by itself, or £330 for a Pro hard bundle, such as with FIFA 18.
Meanwhile, the base Slim model's price moved a lot less. An average price (with or without a bundled game) of around £220 has been adhered to throughout the year, except around the launch of FIFA 18. Sony featured FIFA in various bundles, the cheapest of which was £199.99. That was the same price point that the console fell to on Black Friday, with the best deals featuring a hard bundled Slim (with Call of Duty: WWII, Star Wars Battlefront II or FIFA 18), another AAA title and a PlayLink game for £199.99.
We expect the £199.99 price point for a PS4 bundled with one of the aforementioned three AAA games to hang around until Christmas, provided there’s decent stock levels.
Predictably, the Xbox One X never dropped below its RRP of £449.99. It was available with a couple of AAA games for not much more. We don’t expect any further discounts before Christmas.
While the X stayed quiet, the One S went deal mad. There’s too many to list here, but the 500GB console was available with an AAA game for £169.99. That’s a steep drop for a bundle that has retailed for between £200 and £220 throughout the year. We then saw various bundles up to £220, some of which included up to five games and a subscription to Xbox Live.
Stock is already beginning to struggle, but we do expect the One S to follow the Slim’s lead and hold its Black Friday prices, at least on hard bundles. That means we expect you’ll be able to pick up a console hard bundle for less than £180. These hard bundle games, for reference, are Rocket League, Minecraft and Forza Horizon 3 (with Hot Wheels DLC). Assassin’s Creed: Origins is also available in a One S hard bundle, but stock of that particular bundle is looking extremely scarce.
Finally we’ve got the Switch. We were pleasantly surprised with some of the deals available for Nintendo’s latest console. We’d predicted that it was unlikely to see any significant drops in price from its £279.99 RRP. This proved the case, aside from a few retailers listing it at £269.99.
However, there were some fantastic deals available on bundles. Most notable was the special edition Super Mario Odyssey hard bundle that was briefly available for £280, essentially saving more than £40. Predictably, this deal took all of two minutes to sell out on Amazon, so if you managed to get your hands on one, well done!
Unfortunately, it’s hard to see this deal being repeated this year. With the Switch’s stock levels still uncertain, the best we’ll probably be seeing is under £300 for a console and a major game.