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PlayStation Boss Dismisses Xbox Strategy and Low-Spec, Cheaper PS5

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:31 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:31 PM
  • PlayStation boss says Sony explored the idea of a lower-spec PS5 variant.
  • The gaming giant ultimately abandoned the idea, describing it as too problematic and at odds with a desire for product longevity among players.
  • Pre-orders for the PS5 have already sold out at most retailers worldwide.

As PlayStation boss Jim Ryan continues his round of post-PS5 showcase interviews with the gaming press, a new tidbit has emerged about the console’s development, revealing that Sony explored the idea of a reduced spec, budget variant of the PS5.

In an interview with Japanese outlet AV Watch  (thanks to Video Game Chronicle for the translation ), Ryan was asked about his take on Microsoft strategy of pushing out the aggressively-priced, less powerful Xbox Series S console.

Sony explored the idea of a reduced spec, budget PS5, but found it too problematic to pursue. | Source: Xbox/Microsoft

Ryan diplomatically notes that while he respects Microsoft’s approach and the motivating factors behind it, Sony is confident in the success of its strategy of releasing two variants with equal performance, differentiated only by an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive found in the full-fat PS5 Standard Edition.

“The first thing I would like to say is that I respect every competitor’s decision and their philosophies. 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.”

The CEO adds that previous attempts at a competitively priced, reduced performance console haven’t gone down well.

“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.”

The PS5 will launch in two variants with identical performance – Standard Edition and Digital Edition. | Source: PlayStation/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sony considered the option, conducting research that revealed a desire for longevity from a console purchase among owners, but quickly abandoned the idea.

“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.”

It’s too early to say whether Microsoft’s strategy is a stroke of genius or an expensive lesson not be repeated. As for Sony, sold-out PS5 pre-orders certainly suggest it made the right call.