Sony’s PlayStation 4 has won the current generation of console wars hands down. The Japanese giant has crushed rival Microsoft’s Xbox One by a huge margin and it would want to do the same when the next-generation devices arrive next year. This is probably why Sony is considering going down the value chain to combat Microsoft’s two-pronged strategy for the Xbox Two.
IGN reports that Japanese journalist Zenji Nishikawa recently claimed in a YouTube stream that Sony is contemplating launching two different models of the next PlayStation console. These models will reportedly carry different specs, with the Pro model aimed at gaming enthusiasts looking for top-of-the-line features.
The noises that Sony has been making thus far about the pricing of the next PlayStation console make it clear that the company will go hard at appeasing hardcore gamers. The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida aims to position the PlayStation 5 as a niche product meant for hardcore gaming enthusiasts.
He reportedly said that Sony could add high-end features such as ray tracing to the next-generation console to create life-like effects and deliver an immersive gaming experience. So when the alleged specs of the PlayStation 5 console were leaked online, it appeared as if Sony will move ahead with its strategy of targeting the premium end of the market and release a console with a hefty price tag.
Some analysts have already predicted that the PlayStation 5 could cost a whopping $800.
But doing so would mean exposing the PlayStation 5 to a big threat from Microsoft’s next-generation consoles. As it turns out, Microsoft is touted to launch its next Xbox console in two variants. One of those variants is rumored to be a streaming box priced below $100. The device could use the Xbox Game Pass subscription service to deliver a big library of titles to gamers for a monthly fee of just $9.99.
If Microsoft manages to pull off something like this, Sony’s strategy of targeting the high-end gaming market could backfire and hurt sales of the PlayStation 5. This is something that the Japanese giant doesn’t want as it could lose big and win small by following a premium-only strategy.
Had Sony targeted only premium gamers with an expensive PlayStation 5 console, it would have lost access to almost two-thirds of the gaming population. That’s because hardcore gamers account for just over a third of the total gaming population, according to Newzoo .
What’s more, 19% of gamers are classified as “cloud gamers” by Newzoo. Microsoft seems to be positioning itself to attack this market with an Xbox streaming box next year. As such, it was important for Sony to launch an affordable PlayStation console to attract those gamers who cannot be defined as hardcore, but make up for a sizeable population of the gaming public.
Also, a cheaper console would enable Sony to bring more players into the PlayStation ecosystem. Eventually, those buying a cheaper PlayStation 5 console might upgrade to the superior offering in due course of time to enjoy better features.
So it was important for Sony to match the rumored cloud-spec Xbox Two.
And the latest leak suggests that Sony is probably scared that a cheaper Xbox Two could give the PlayStation 5 a run for its money, which is why it is working on two devices to cater to different categories of gamers.