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Opinion: The PS5 is a powerhouse, but Sony is failing to excite fans

Yesterday, Sony presented its online ‘Road to PS5’ event, intended to explain how hard the company has been working on the console and its cutting-edge capabilities.

The event was very dry and very, very technical. While the next-gen PlayStation boasts impressive specs, Sony hasn’t yet offered anything tangible to whet the appetite of the average console buyer. That could be a huge mistake.

PS5 fans had mainly been on put on hold until yesterday, as Sony had remained tight-lipped about the console, even as their competitors offered more and more tasty morsels of information.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been drip-feeding the public info on the Xbox Series X, from its comprehensive backwards compatibility to its unconventional looks. All of those titbits have got fans genuinely excited for the console, and that excitement is only going to build ahead of release.

With all that being the case, it felt like there was a measure of pressure on Sony yesterday, to deliver something that makes gamers sit up and take notice. Mark Cerny’s talk didn’t do that, as impressive as the numbers were.

Admittedly, the ‘Road to PS5’ talk was declared as a technical ‘deep dive’ intended for the developer-focused GDC, so we didn’t expect much more, but the issue isn’t that Sony didn’t deliver what they said they would. It’s that they didn’t provide what customers wanted.

Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X

The whole talk begged the question: why present so much technical information to the industry, in such a public way, before giving fans anything to get excited about?

From a marketing perspective, I think the talk left Sony lagging behind Microsoft in the race for next-gen dominance. I’m not alone either – take a look at the conversation on social media, or the top YouTube comments, one of which sums up the situation perfectly. It reads: “Clicked to see the PS5, got a PhD in Engineering”.

That said, it’s early days and Microsoft lagged so far behind in the current generation – in terms of sales at least – that the company needed to make up some ground and show its hand a little earlier as a result.

An hour of Mark Cerny, talking about specs, and how they interact with each other, would undoubtedly have attracted more positive regard if it was combined with a little peek at the new console’s design or even a short new game trailer. The harsh truth is that, for most people, Cerny’s talk was boring even though there were one or two exciting revelations about a console that is sure to wow us on release.

It gets worse, though.

PlayStation revealed that the PS5 would have over ten teraflops of computing power and those ‘teraflops’ have been dominating the conversation around both next-gen consoles. The Xbox Series X packs 12, but as Cerny said himself: “It’s dangerous to rely on Teraflops as an absolute measure of performance.” But those figures will be the ones that live in the memories of consumers, at least until they get something more memorable, more exciting, to replace them.

Related: Best PS4 Games

The PS5 could still potentially be more powerful due to the way those ‘flops are deployed, while those ultra-fast SSD speeds may well revolutionise future video games. Cerny made that pretty clear. However, he still left consumers to chew over a specs sheet which, at this stage, doesn’t mean much to the average gamer.

So come on Sony, stop being so precious about it and give us some game footage, a look at the console and real, understandable idea of what to expect. The current strategy just isn’t keeping fans on-side, however much they prefer PlayStation over Xbox.


Here’s the full comparison table of Xbox Series X vs PS5 specs:

Xbox Series X PS5
CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU 8x Zen 2 cores @ 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
GPU 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU 10.28 TFLOPs, 36CUs @ 2.23GHz
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus 16 GB GDDR6/ 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 10 GB @ 560 GB/s, 6 GB @ 336 GB/s 448GB/s
Internal Storage 1 TB Custom NVME SSD 825 GB Custom NVME SSD
I/O throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block) 5.5 GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9 GB/s (Compressed)
Expandable Storage 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly) NVMe SSD Slot
External Storage USB 3.2 External HDD Support USB HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

 

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