At the end of June, Sony unveiled its new InZone line of gaming monitors and headsets, which it described as “a brand for PC gamers,” despite also being fully compatible with its PlayStation 5 console and sharing a very similar black-and-white aesthetic. The M9 monitor, which ships this summer for $899, is a 27-inch 4K IPS screen featuring 144Hz refresh rate (not common among 4K monitors) and just 1ms of response time – meaning latency for diehard gamers and esports participants should be minimal. The monitor also offers full-array local dimming with 96 zones and comes with multiple HDMI 2.1 ports while automatically optimizing HDR settings for games.
A cheaper M3 model ($529) is also coming to market, but that monitor drops its resolution to 1080p and loses the full-array local dimming. Alongside the monitors, a top tier H9 headset ($299) has been designed to offer “enhanced spatial awareness” and noise cancellation while providing wireless connectivity and up to 32 hours of battery life. The H7 is slightly cheaper at $229 but omits noise cancellation, while the H3 sells for $100 and is a wired headset.
Sony has acknowledged that it’s entering a highly competitive market, but the company also believes that it can quickly gain traction if the right influencers in the gaming and esports space take notice and endorse InZone products in their streams. Sony’s president of home entertainment products, Kazuo Kii, commented to The Washington Post, “…because we are latecomers to monitors and headphones for [the] gaming segment, we believe we have a chance to catch up. I believe if top players from top companies mention ‘Oh, Sony’s InZone is great,’ we can catch up.”
By marketing its new InZone products as PC-oriented, Sony is also making it clear that it would like to make a bigger push into the PC gaming space. The PlayStation division has previously ported some of its biggest franchises to the PC, including Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Days Gone, Death Stranding, and Uncharted 4 and Spider-Man are also being planned for PC. Sony acquired Nixxes Software in May to help with its PC portfolio. SIE boss Jim Ryan has also confirmed that PlayStation intends to “bring a whole slate” of games to the PC, and Sony expects PC and mobile combined to comprise half of all its releases by 2025.
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, Sony’s pursuit of the PC gaming accessories market could resonate with the PlayStation base. Purchase intent for gaming PCs and peripherals to improve gaming experiences is higher among PlayStation console owners in the US than the general gaming crowd. As the lines between gaming platforms become increasingly blurred, it’s also a good thing that InZone products should work equally well across PC and PlayStation. Time will tell if InZone can gain enough traction to compete with the likes of Alienware, HyperX, etc.
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