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Should You Buy a PS5 or Xbox on Prime Day?

The Prime Big Deal Days event is another opportunity to save on next-gen consoles -- but is it the right time to splurge? The question's not as silly as you might think.

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Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
3 min read
PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles are displayed against a blue background.
PlayStation/Microsoft/CNET

Is Prime Day the right time to shell out for a PS5 or Xbox gaming console? It might seem strange to ask that question, what with the supply shortage of the latest PlayStation and Xbox consoles being long over. But if you frame it as, Should I buy one during October Prime Day or wait for a better price later in the shopping season? it starts to make a little more sense. Because in that case, the answer becomes maybe. It ultimately depends on what exactly is being offered and the possibility of seeing discounts on either console when Black Friday rolls around.

Currently, the Xbox Series S, for example, is regularly available for less than its $300 list price; even now, before Amazon's Prime Big Deal Days event kicks off on Oct. 10, it's available for $260 from Dell. So for that one, the price might not go much lower when holiday sales finally arrive. However, there may be some Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription promos or game or controller bundles to sweeten the deal.

PlayStation 5 console and controller against a dark red background
Sony

PS5

Finding a discount on the PS5 at any time of the year is unlikely to happen, at least not on the console itself. What you might find are higher-priced game or accessory bundles with the PS5 as a way to lure you in. That can be a fine way to get it, but don't let yourself be swayed into paying extra for a lot of stuff you don't want. If you were planning to buy two DualSense controllers, a charging station, a Pulse 3D headset and Horizon Forbidden West, that's one thing; if you only wanted the console and controller, it's a lot of extra cash to lay down, especially if you've waited this long.

An Xbox with a controller
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Xbox Series X was a tad easier to find when the PS5 was in short supply. And by that I mean it was at least easier to get without compulsively monitoring stock trackers. However, that doesn't mean it'll be any cheaper during Prime Big Deal Days. 

Like Sony's PS5, the Xbox Series X might not be discounted on its own for Amazon's October Prime Day event, but moderate bundle discounts are more likely to be available. You may have to wait until the holiday shopping season to officially kick off before you see a significant discount. 

Right now you can find the console for $490 at Amazon -- a modest $10 discount. However, if you really want an X, but can't afford to pay the $500 upfront and you have reasonable credit, you have the option of getting it through Xbox All Access for $35 per month (24 months). The catch is it includes two years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, making the total well over what you'd pay for the console alone, which includes only three months of XGPU. But XGPU really is worth subscribing to, and while you don't save a lot through All Access, you don't pay more than you would otherwise. 

A white Xbox Series S and controller against a yellow background.
Microsoft

The Series S is already selling at a slightly lower price than it did at launch. The S is underappreciated. It's a good size for small spaces, and perfect for first-time console players who don't want to spend as much. It's also a good match for popular budget TVs that can't necessarily support 4K at 120Hz refresh -- including some you may find on sale for Prime Big Deal Days.

We don't really expect great deals on the S for Prime Day, and, like the Xbox Series X, we might see some better prices on the S for the holidays, albeit not huge cuts. So buying now might be a decent option.