During CES 2022, Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan revealed that the firm is planning to launch a new PlayStation Tournaments feature for its PS5 console later this year. More specific details on how the service will enable tournaments and exactly when it will launch were not discussed. Ryan stated that the Tournaments feature would enable players to enter into competitions for specific games, with a variety of prizes up for grabs.
It’s worth noting that Sony filed for a patent related to “Online Tournament Integration” last summer, which primarily described a mechanism to allow PlayStation Network to generate tournament brackets without needing each game to have competitive functionality built-in by the game developer. Additionally, this is not the first time that the PlayStation business has sought to improve its presence in competitive gaming. Back in 2016, Sony also introduced tournaments on the PS4 with the help of tournament organizer ESL.
Sony made a concerted effort during 2021 to attract more of the esports demographic. Not only did it acquire the Evolution Championship Series (Evo), the longest-running fighting game tournament in the world, but it also partnered with Discord to integrate the communication platform with PlayStation Network. Discord remains one of the most popular chat services for esports athletes and content creators.
PlayStation has not been alone in the console space when it comes to growing interest in esports. Microsoft’s 343 Industries has put considerable energy into structuring and growing its Halo Championship Series, teaming with both ESL and Faceit for its in-person and online tournaments, respectively. Nintendo, meanwhile, has been warming up to esports, announcing its first-ever officially licensed esports tournament for Super Smash Bros.
With demand for the PS5 continuing to outstrip supply (Sony has sold over 13 million units worldwide) and general esports viewership continuing to rise among gamers, it’s a good time for Sony to beef up its esports offerings. Interpret’s New Media Measure® also shows that interest in gaming tournaments is strong among PlayStation owners in particular. Over one quarter (26%) of the PlayStation audience in the US watches gaming tournaments monthly, which is considerably higher than the 15% of non-PlayStation platform owners.