Sony Considered Lower Spec PS5, Like Xbox Series S, But Worried It Would Become “Outdated” Too Quickly

Jim Ryan says the company considered a similar route as Microsoft.

Posted By | On 18th, Sep. 2020 Under News


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This November, both Sony and Microsoft will release two next generation consoles, but in two very different ways. Sony will release a PS5 with a disc drive and one without, but both will effectively be the same system besides that one difference. Microsoft, however, will release the Xbox Series X which will have comparable stats to the PS5, as well as the Xbox Series S, a lower spec machine that is priced to move as the cheapest next generation system that will be on the market. It’s a subtle thing, but also goes to show how the two companies are tackling the new generation in different ways. Interestingly, though, it seems Sony did think of going a similar route.

Speaking with AV Watch, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan revealed that Sony did, at one point, look at creating a lower spec PS5 in a similar vein to the Series S. He doesn’t go into details about what that specifically would have looked like, but said the company decided against it. It’s biggest factors for doing so was he said that releasing lower spec, cheaper systems had not worked out well in the past (though it’s unclear what he’s actually referencing there) and also fears about longevity. Ryan said there was a thought that eventually customers would expect their systems to be compatible with newer technology, such as 4K TVs, and would be viewed as outdated in a relatively quick time frame (thanks to VGC for translations).

“Clearly, price is a very important factor. We respect other companies’ competitive strategies. However, we are fully committed to and believe in our current strategy and the effect it will have.

“One thing that can be said is that if you look at the history of the game business, creating a special low priced, reduced spec console is something that has not had great results in the past. We’ve considered that option and seen other executives who have attempted this discover how problematic it is.

“Based on our research, it’s clear that people who buy a game console want to continue using it for four, five, six or even seven years. They want to believe they have bought something that is future-proofed and not going to be outdated in two-to-three years.

“They want to have faith that if they end up buying a new TV that their current console will be able to support that new 4K TV they are considering on buying.”

While Ryan is approaching the idea in a different way, some developers have expressed similar fears about the Series S, especially in regards to its RAM capabilities or lack thereof. It’ll remain to be seen if Ryan’s prediction will be correct here, but with a price tag a full $100 below even the PS5 Digital Edition, it’s hard to imagine the Series S not moving, but it’s a wild and crazy industry. The PS5 will launch on November 12th for $499/$399, and the Xbox Series X and S will launch November 10th for $499/$299.

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