Why Sony Didn't Take The Series S Approach For PS5

Microsoft and Sony have outlined their plans for the next generation, and both of them include a pair of console SKUs releasing simultaneously. But the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 approaches are pretty different, and PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says the Series S approach is “problematic.”

The difference is in how the two consoles are approaching the tech specs. PlayStation 5 is releasing two boxes, but the two are internally almost identical–the only real difference is that one has a disc drive, and the other is all-digital. By contrast, Xbox Series S has a slightly different hardware configuration than Series X, and that’s core to Ryan’s reservations about the approach.

“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,” Ryan told Japanese site AV Watch (as translated by VGC). “We’ve considered that option and seen other executives who have attempted this discover how problematic it is.”

More specifically, he said console buyers generally want to keep their hardware for as much as seven years, and so they’d like a console to be future-proof instead of feeling outdated after only a few years. That includes possible upgrades to 4K TVs, as resolution is the major differentiator between the Xbox Series X and Series S.

The criticism wasn’t too sharp, though, as he made sure to start by stating: “I respect every competitor’s decision and their philosophies.” His comments were instead framed as Sony feeling “fully committed to” its strategy of similar hardware architecture between the two SKUs.

Sony recently opened preorders for PS5, which got off to a rocky start without much notice. Microsoft has announced that Xbox Series X and Series S preorders will begin on September 22. Both consoles release in November.

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