PlayStation CEO: Reduced Spec Consoles 'Have Not Had Great Results in the Past'

PlayStation CEO: Reduced Spec Consoles 'Have Not Had Great Results in the Past' - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 October 2020 / 5,051 Views

Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan in an interview with Japanese site AV Watch have said a lower-priced and reduced spec consoles have not found success in the past. This is in reference to Microsoft releasing two next-generation consoles, the higher-spec Xbox Series X and the lower-spec Xbox Series S. 

Sony is also releasing two next-generation consoles, however, the only difference is that one includes a blu-ray disc drive and the other is an all-digital console.

"The first thing I would like to say is that I respect every competitor’s decision and their philosophies," said Ryan. "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."

PlayStation CEO: Lower Spec Consoles 'Have Not Had Great Results in the Past'

"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 They want to believe they have bought something that is future-proofed and not going to be outdated in two-to-three years.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."

The PlayStation 5 will launch on November 12 in the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, and in Europe and the rest of the world on November 19. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will launch on November 10.

The Xbox Series X is priced at $499, the Xbox Series S is $299, the PS5 is $499, and the PS5 Digital Edition is $399.

Thanks, VideoGamesChronicles.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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92 Comments

VAMatt (on 18 September 2020)

This doesn't really make sense, because we've never seen anyone try XB Series S/X strategy before. But, what's he supposed to say?


  • -9
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VAMatt (on 18 September 2020)

PS3 and XB360 were just less storage space. They weren't lower "power" consoles.


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Angelus (on 20 September 2020)

Well, according to Sony fans when Phil Spencer says literally anything....what Ryan here could try, is shutting up.


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Mr Puggsly (on 18 September 2020)

I don't think there is any evidence that the Series S will be outdated in two years or this gen in general. Especially when you consider its still a significant upgrade for the average user just using a PS4, X1 or even a Switch. Its also designed to run all 9th gen content. Also, games hitting 1440p does utilize a 4K TV. I mean its a sharper picture than 1080p.


DonFerrari (on 18 September 2020)

I don`t remember any previous gen with "lowered spec system", but sony needs to take care on anyone considering PS5 is a reduced spec console.


OTBWY (on 18 September 2020)

Didnt almost every gen have a system thats weaker win?


trunkswd (on 18 September 2020)

Yes pretty much. 8th gen is an exception with PS4 being more powerful than Xbox One. Wii was weaker, PS2 was weaker, PS1 was weaker. 3DS and DS were weaker,


  • +8
nex (on 18 September 2020)

What kind of research did they do? 😂


  • +9
Burning Typhoon (on 18 September 2020)

I think he's talking about having multi consoles in the same generation with different specs. Like the PS4 & Pro models, and not so much having the weaker console against the competitors. The Sega Genesis, was a weaker console, with a higher screen resolution than the SNES. But, in those days, people weren't taking their TVs into consideration with the consoles. That's only been a thing for the past two generations.


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OTBWY (on 18 September 2020)

I understand that, but putting that aside. He would say that wouldn't he? I mean, he's talking shit about the competition.


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trunkswd (on 18 September 2020)

I've updated the article and removed the extra commentary at the bottom.


Bristow9091 (on 18 September 2020)

... And here I was about to throw some popcorn in the microwave for these comments! :'(


  • +3
QUAKECore89 (on 18 September 2020)

Hang on... Sony is/was the one who first created models back in 2016, PS4 Slim 500GB $299.99 and PS4 Pro 1TB $399.99. And now this statement? What's going on?!


Signalstar (on 18 September 2020)

Not really the same. The Pro was an enhanced deluxe edition released at a later date. Still its sales are only a fraction of the base PS4 sales. Also MS released the Xbox 360 Elite SKU last generation.


  • -1
NathanSSSS (on 18 September 2020)

Dont know what your talking about, Pro is an enhancement to OG PS4, and Slim is no where lower in spec compared to OG either, figure it out.


  • 0
QUAKECore89 (on 18 September 2020)

Ok you two, i'm taking your chocolate bars away from you. >:(


  • +4
shikamaru317 (on 18 September 2020)

What a strange take. One of their own systems was the weakest system in it's respective generation, the PS2, yet it is the best-selling home console of all time. He seems to be seeing Series S as a downgraded Series X, but that is not what it is designed to be. Series S is designed as a successor to Xbox One S, while Series X is designed as a successor to Xbox One X. Comparing XB1 S to Series S, you have at least a 4x boost in GPU power, an even bigger boost in CPU power, and a truly massive boost in storage speed.


shikamaru317 (on 18 September 2020)

Well, 2nd weakest come to think of it, PS2 did have better specs than Dreamcast. But Gamecube and OG Xbox had higher specs.


  • +2
Trentonater (on 18 September 2020)

Except that's obviously not what he's talking about. He's saying budget version of existing consoles have never had an impact in the past. It's easy to spot a product that looks and feels cheap in comparsion. Most of the retro consoles had budget variants so obscure most people today don't remember them.


  • -1
Dallinor (on 18 September 2020)

You've completely missed the point.


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shikamaru317 (on 18 September 2020)

@Trentonator But he has no point of comparison for that statement, we've never seen a console generation launch with 2 different specced consoles as part of the same platform. Different storage sizes sure, but that is far different from different specs. Even if he is only using smaller storage size SKU's as a point of comparison, several of those have boosted sales by a fair amount.


  • +14
Trentonater (on 18 September 2020)

You could argue that the series s is a little different but there's a whole lot more examples and data than just the recent low storage capacty varients from the 7th gen. There are historically reduced functionality consoles and they didn't do well. And in other industies even consumers have wanted to feel like they are getting the full product and not something that will break in a year.


  • -3
FormerlyTeamSilent13 (on 19 September 2020)

Devs created for PS2 then ported to xbox and gamecube. I own many games cross platform that generation (only gen I owned all three consoles) and the PS2 was the superior performing version 9 times out of 10.


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ironmanDX (on 20 September 2020)

lmao


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rapsuperstar31 (on 18 September 2020)

Sony is starting to make some mistakes this generation with the general messaging. It's not going to stop me from buying it, and I don't think it will have any major ramifications on the end result. but I do find it interesting.


method114 (on 18 September 2020)

Their communication has been poor but I don't care. Good communication isn't what I need from a console maker I need games and Sony does that.


  • -4
padib (on 19 September 2020)

MS' current strategy here is undeniably the best. They tell people they are on the same playing field by promoting the Series X as the main console, and then offer something for those on the fence with the lower spec'd console that can still play the vast majority of the new games. We'll see how it turns out but I think MS is making a huge move with this and it'll pay off. They will have lots of new customers and increase interest in their platform esp. with the gamepass deal, people will already start playing Xbox's library of games off the bat. The only possible downside is that people might be disappointed in the specs over time, especially loading times, but there is a slot for an SSD upgrade so it should be simple enough for people to understand.


VAMatt (on 20 September 2020)

I'm not sure how you can say it is "undeniably the best". I think it is a good idea to have both the most powerful and the lowest cost options for the new gen. It certainly will be interesting to see how this plays out. But, we can't know yet if this is an effective strategy. We'll need several years of data to know if it is actually the best approach to the 9th gen.


  • +3
padib (on 20 September 2020)

We certainly will see, but to me it's clear as water, just like when Nintendo announced that the Switch was a hybrid. Not all of us see the future equally. To me, it's undeniable but I don't want to sound pretentious. I am just very confident in my gut of the situation. They made a very difficult move for Sony to counter. Now, let's place our bets and see how the chips land. I predict that this move will change the landscape and will break MS free from its 2nd-place status to the Playstation. Sony will have to make some difficult plays this gen.


  • +3
ArchangelMadzz (on 18 September 2020)

Wow people don't understand he's talking about lower powered version of the same console. And not just a low spec machine.


shikamaru317 (on 18 September 2020)

But that has never existed. I can't think of a single earlier system that had 2 SKU's at launch with different spec levels, just different storage sizes. Everything even remotely comparable released later in the generation, like Switch Lite releasing after Switch and 2DS releasing after 3DS, and both of those systems had pretty strong sales.


  • +17
ArchangelMadzz (on 18 September 2020)

Not at launch no, but the general existence of a barebones or low power sku exist. And the Switch Lite did well as it's just seen as a handheld. Can't exactly just make a handheld PS5.

When talking about home consoles the Wii Mini, 360 Arcade etc did not perform well. They would've done their own research as well as focus groups to determine which way they think they should go and a cheaper $399 digital version made more sense to them than a refreshed PS4 Pro.


  • +2
Replicant (on 18 September 2020)

@shikamaru317 - No, but if you read the original article that's clearly what he's talking about. Xbox 360 Arcade Edition, PS3 20GB, Wii Mini, WiiU 8GB, etc.

@William D'Angelo - You may want to edit your article. So far you've made nearly everyone confused.


  • +5
Raven (on 18 September 2020)

The Xbox 360 Arcade Edition, PS3 20GB, Wii Mini, WiiU 8GB, etc. are not "weaker" systems than their larger capacity counterparts. Given one of his next quotes is "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.", he is obviously referring to the specs in regards to power. This hasn't been done on the past so what he's claiming makes no sense. If he meant it a different way then he should have said so, instead of relying on others to fill in the blanks for him.


  • +7
ArchangelMadzz (on 18 September 2020)

@raven he also said "creating a special low priced, reduced spec console" The Wii Mini, Arcade edition etc, are special low priced reduced spec editions.


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Hynad (on 20 September 2020)

Spec doesn't mean power.


  • -4
Hynad (on 20 September 2020)

Truth hurts.


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ArchangelMadzz (on 20 September 2020)

People don't care that what they thought he said wasn't right. Now they just want to stay angry on principal.

I respect the stubbornness.


  • -3
Immersiveunreality (on 19 September 2020)

This guy looks like he is in an eternal state of sadness.


Signalstar (on 18 September 2020)

The commentary at the end is missing the point. It's talking about weaker SKUs of the same console. IE, Xbox 360 Arcade Edition, 20GB PS3, Wii Mini, etc.


Trentonater (on 18 September 2020)

It's obvious what he's getting at. I don't see how people are coming to the conclusion that he's talking about console power.


  • +1
Raven (on 18 September 2020)

The Xbox 360 Arcade Edition, PS3 20GB, Wii Mini, WiiU 8GB, etc. are not "weaker" systems than their larger capacity counterparts. Given one of his next quotes is "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.", he is obviously referring to the specs in regards to power. This hasn't been done on the past so what he's claiming makes no sense. If he meant it a different way then he should have said so, instead of relying on others to fill in the blanks for him.


  • +7
starcraft (on 20 September 2020)

At this point Sony has become pretty anti-consumer. The constant deceitful backflips, npw sniping completely unnecessarily at MS. Unless by reduced spec console he was comparing the PS5 to the Series X. That would be pleasantly honest.


Hynad (on 20 September 2020)

Ahh, the blindfold only for one side. Never changed.


  • -4
starcraft (on 20 September 2020)

One side, Hynad?


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dane007 (on 18 September 2020)

LOL but ps5 is lower spec console as well. Weaker than the competition


EricHiggin (on 18 September 2020)

Lower in some ways, but not in others, so. He's talking about launching multiple consoles at the same time while having them at two completely different spec tiers. Both PS5's are the same in that the games will play identical on both. XB Series consoles will play differently to varying degree's. Just because SNY doesn't agree with this, doesn't mean it's a terrible idea. Even if they don't like the lower spec'd console in terms of what that might mean for third party games for all next gen consoles, they also no doubt don't like the fact that it's the most affordable console. He isn't entirely right or entirely wrong.


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dane007 (on 19 September 2020)

The only advantage ps5 has is ssd and ssd doesn't improve graphics. Everything that increases visual fidelity is an advantage for xbox by quite a bit


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dane007 (on 19 September 2020)

Ms has said series s has the same graphics that series x can provide but it's resolution is only difference. Since its only 1440p it doesn't require a strong gpu. Ps5 alone is not enough to do native 4k games. U see alot of 1440p games scaled up liek series s


  • 0
EricHiggin (on 19 September 2020)

XBSX doesn't have some slower RAM? What else? SSD has nothing to do with improving graphics? PS5 can't do native 4k, but XB1X could? So XBSS can easily do 1440p, being XB1X 4k level performance, but PS5 can't do 4k? Hmmm.


  • +1
dane007 (on 20 September 2020)

Series x has a faster ram than Sony ps5. Ssd won't bridge the gap difference in terms of graphical fidelity. Ssd is just for faster load times and even that, the difference is not that big lol. The difference is that xbox one x didn't have to do Ray tracing so it was easier to reach 4k. Plus xbox one x won't have next gen lighting, textures, shadow, ai, number of enemies and so on as the ps5 would have. Sony ps5 will be doing Ray tracing which is an expensive to use in consoles and pc alike. To keep have it and have native 4k, u need quite a beefy power.

If u build a machine to it do 4k but 1440p and have next gen features then u can. What limited xbox one x was the cpu and series x has the same cpu as series x same type of ram snd speeds but at 10gb and the same rdna features that series x has and also has that velocity architecture as well. What series s has is enough to do next gen like what series x can do but at 1440p. Hence why series x is at the power that it is as it wants to run 4k on everything as high as possible plus have Ray tracing


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Hynad (on 20 September 2020)

dane007: Are you trying to compensate for something?


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Immersiveunreality (on 20 September 2020)

He is not talking about the competition.


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Immersiveunreality (on 20 September 2020)

And to add on that further, you are unneedingly emotionally invested in something you lack knowledge off.Most of what you typed in this thread is your own fantasy of how you percieve things, not that convincing.


  • -3
dane007 (on 20 September 2020)

Immersive : how does ssd increase graphics? Lol. To be fair ps2 was the weakest console compared to game cube and xbox and still became the best selling console of all time. Osny ceo is just talks bs lol


  • +1
dane007 (on 20 September 2020)

Immersive : how does ssd increase graphics? Lol. To be fair ps2 was the weakest console compared to game cube and xbox and still became the best selling console of all time. Osny ceo is just talks bs lol


  • +1
dane007 (on 20 September 2020)

Immersive : how does ssd increase graphics? Lol. To be fair ps2 was the weakest console compared to game cube and xbox and still became the best selling console of all time. Osny ceo is just talks bs lol


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dane007 (on 20 September 2020)

Hynad : Stats don't lie. Ssd is ps5 only hardware advantage. Just look at previous gen. Ps2 was the weakest console between xbox and game cube. Ps2 became the best selling console. Wii was the weakest console compared to ps3 and 360 and became the top. Selling console of that gen by quite a bit lol.


  • +1
EricHiggin (on 20 September 2020)

Ask Tim Sweeney of Epic Games. Here's a short bit from an interview with him about UE5. "The new drive, which Sony claims is faster than any on-market device available right now, won't just make load times almost nonexistent, but will also enable developers to access the data their games are composed of with unprecedented speed. The result is larger game worlds loading much faster than ever before, which could result in drastic changes to how developers approach everything from balancing visual quality and performance to level design."


  • -2
dane007 (on 21 September 2020)

Lmao that's just sales pitch for Sony to justify their lack of power. If ssd could improve power, it would have been done by now. Having ssd in a gaming machine is not new lol.


  • +1
EricHiggin (on 21 September 2020)

You mean newer tech like APU's, which eventually got used in PS4 and XB1 due to lowered costs? It's not like SSD's were at some point extremely expensive state of the art tech right? SNY and MS must have been idiots not to use them for PS4 and XB1, adding hundreds to the launch cost. LOL.


  • +1
CGI-Quality (on 22 September 2020)

*dane007 was warned for his post(s)


  • 0
AFattyGamer (on 18 September 2020)

Hmm interesting words from Sony. Direct shots taken at Microsoft. Is Jim right here? Yes and no I'd say. He's right in the aspect that reduced specs for a console easily become outdated in 2 to 3 years. But in terms of success, Jim is wrong as the weakest console tends to win generation. But there are exceptions to that rule.


Random_Matt (on 18 September 2020)

Damn, mass misinterpretation going on. Read and found it obvious, oh well.


VAMatt (on 19 September 2020)

People hear what they want to hear.


  • -3
Jranation (on 21 September 2020)

Can you explain it better?


  • 0
sales2099 (on 20 September 2020)

PS2, Wii, Switch day hi


siebensus4 (on 19 September 2020)

Software sells hardware and different prices attract different target audiences. If he would have mentioned an example, his statement would have been more reliable.


Podings (on 19 September 2020)

Wanna know what hasn't ever had great results, Jim? Two differently configured SKUs at launch.


Otter (on 19 September 2020)

2DS is the only example which comes to mind, I guess Switch lite too. Reduced function but necessarily spec.


Azzanation (on 18 September 2020)

So in other words, Xbox Series S is a failed idea in Sony's eyes.


DonFerrari (on 18 September 2020)

I guess that summarize it. And possibly they looked at doing it as well.


  • -1
EricHiggin (on 18 September 2020)

Yes, that's what he's saying, sort of. Though, it's possible it could have potential, so by pointing out they think it's not a great idea, they are putting that idea into people's heads. Even if it has some merit, they are not going to directly say they think it's great. They say it's fine in general, which means it's not a total lost cause. How exactly it plays out will depend on many things. Did SNY account for a worldwide pandemic? I highly doubt it, so we'll see how everything plays out in time.


  • +1
yvanjean (on 18 September 2020)

Why is the CEO of Playstation bashing the PS5?


Rafie (on 18 September 2020)

Don't know if you're taking a pot shot at PS5 with that statement, but he's clearly talking about 2 different SKUs of the same product with one being lesser in technical hardware. Not alluding to PS5 being weaker than Xbox Series X on paper.


  • +3
shikamaru317 (on 18 September 2020)

You have a point. People here seem to be saying that he is alluding to past consoles that released with smaller storage sizes and such, saying they didn't sell well, which makes him think Series S won't sell well. Well PS5 digital doesn't have reduced storage size, but it is lacking a disc drive, technically making it a lower specced, cheaper version of PS5. He is basically crapping on PS5 digital with this statement.


  • +7
Dallinor (on 18 September 2020)

I would encourage the author of this Vgchartz news piece to consider re-reading what was said, as the point Jim Ryan was making has quite obviously been misconstrued.


trunkswd (on 18 September 2020)

I've updated the article and removed the extra bit at the end.


  • +5
TheBraveGallade (on 19 September 2020)

Apparently they don't remember the ps3...


Airaku (on 18 September 2020)

Jim Ryan is "The Dad" of the gaming industry.


KratosLives (on 20 September 2020)

well people are being mislead whe nyou look at youtube comparisons between two consoles. People believe that they're almost identical and the only difference is 1440p vs 4k and that's it, when in fact there is more to it. A much inferior gpu . Its crazy how people only like to talk up resolution as that's the only main contributing factor of a gpu, and ignore everything else a gpu is for. What about the massive drop in RAM, SSd . These things are vital for next gen game design and you can't just simply lower resolution and expect to match the higher specs of the series x if you have a highly ambitious game maxing out cpu/gpu/ram and ssd for a radical game design shift/evolution, type of game. If people want to support that kind of model instead of going for higher, better possibilities and experiences, all the power to you.


ClassicGamingWizzz (on 19 September 2020)

No One read the article...


ClassicGamingWizzz (on 19 September 2020)

No One read the article...


KratosLives (on 20 September 2020)

well people are being mislead whe nyou look at youtube comparisons between two consoles. People believe that they're almost identical and the only difference is 1440p vs 4k and that's it, when in fact there is more to it. A much inferior gpu . Its crazy how people only like to talk up resolution as that's the only main contributing factor of a gpu, and ignore everything else a gpu is for. What about the massive drop in RAM, SSd . These things are vital for next gen game design and you can't just simply lower resolution and expect to match the higher specs of the series x if you have a highly ambitious game maxing out cpu/gpu/ram and ssd for a radical game design shift/evolution, type of game. If people want to support that kind of model instead of going for higher, better possibilities and experiences, all the power to you.


KratosLives (on 20 September 2020)

well people are being mislead whe nyou look at youtube comparisons between two consoles. People believe that they're almost identical and the only difference is 1440p vs 4k and that's it, when in fact there is more to it. A much inferior gpu . Its crazy how people only like to talk up resolution as that's the only main contributing factor of a gpu, and ignore everything else a gpu is for. What about the massive drop in RAM, SSd . These things are vital for next gen game design and you can't just simply lower resolution and expect to match the higher specs of the series x if you have a highly ambitious game maxing out cpu/gpu/ram and ssd for a radical game design shift/evolution, type of game. If people want to support that kind of model instead of going for higher, better possibilities and experiences, all the power to you.


KratosLives (on 20 September 2020)

well people are being mislead whe nyou look at youtube comparisons between two consoles. People believe that they're almost identical and the only difference is 1440p vs 4k and that's it, when in fact there is more to it. A much inferior gpu . Its crazy how people only like to talk up resolution as that's the only main contributing factor of a gpu, and ignore everything else a gpu is for., such as RAM, SSd . These things are vital for next gen game design and you can't just simply lower resolution and expect to match the higher specs of the series x if you have a highly ambitious game macing out cpu/gou/ram and ssd for a radical game design shift/evolution, type of game. If people want to support that kind of model instead of going for higher, better possibilities and experiences, all the power to you.


Comments below voting threshold

EricHiggin (on 18 September 2020)

SNY, a hardware entertainment focused company, doesn't really want you to buy new stuff for your existing entertainment center. Imagine that. They want to sell you a new console, TV, surround sound, etc. Who would've guessed? While his point has merit though isn't hard fact, there's much more to the story than the here and now of next gen consoles.


LivncA_Dis3 (on 19 September 2020)

agree with jim ryan, whats the point of a lowered spec launch release, they should have just released that 1st and then release series x in 3 years haha


  • -11
VAMatt (on 19 September 2020)

That would have been an interesting strategy. Do a much lower power system than PS5, but at a much lower price.....


  • +2