OPINION: This week Sony launched a new PC gaming brand called Inzone, which currently consists of three headsets and two monitors.
It’s the first time Sony has released gaming hardware specifically for PC, demonstrating a renewed willingness to target audiences beyond PlayStation console owners. At first glance, it may seem like a strange decision for Sony to create a new gaming brand when PlayStation is already so iconic, but personally I think it’s a logical step.
First, launching a gaming monitor is a good idea for Sony. Already one of the leading TV manufacturers in the world, it has a lot of experience with screen technology and, thanks to the PlayStation brand, also knows the game industry through and through.
But why not make a gaming monitor under the PlayStation name instead of creating an entirely new brand called Inzone? Personally, I think sticking to the PlayStation brand would have limited its audience. When you see a hardware accessory called ‘PlayStation’, you probably assume it was designed exclusively for the PS5 console, and so would probably put off PC gamers.
Missing out on the crowd of PC gamers would be a huge loss for Sony as they arguably care more about the fancy specs like the 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time (in faster mode) and support for VRR, and are typically more willing to spend more money on hardware compared to console owners.
That’s not to say Sony isn’t marketing to PS5 owners either. The black and white color combination gives me instant PS5 vibes, while the Inzone M9 monitor is littered with references to Sony’s latest console.
A section of the Inzone M9 website reads: “Pair Inzone M9 with your PS5 console for a great gaming experience. Maximize the potential of your Inxone monitor with features made specifically for PS5 consoles.”
But make no mistake, the Inzone M9 is primarily aimed at PC gamers, with Sony bundling it with PC software to allow users to adjust settings and activate various functions. In addition to HDMI, the monitor also has a DisplayPort that the PS5 doesn’t support, while most marketing images of the M9 include snaps of a keyboard and mouse rather than a DualSense controller.
The same can be said for the new Inzone H9 gaming headset – it too supports the new Inzone Hub software which is only available via PC. And while the H9 can connect to a PS5 using the included adapter, the headset also features Bluetooth technology that isn’t supported by Sony’s console. As a result, you could argue that the Inzone H9 is an overkill buy if you need a headset exclusive to the PS5.
And as with the monitor, it makes a lot of sense for Sony to expand its PC gaming headset offering as it is already widely known for its headphone offering in the lifestyle market.
So far, Sony has played it pretty safe with its gaming PC hardware, so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s happy to venture into uncharted territory. Sony has limited experience releasing keyboards or mice, so making such products would be a lot trickier.
However, this would allow Sony to create an entire ecosystem of PC gaming peripherals, which could bring many benefits. Many gamers want their accessories to match and sync, which has led manufacturers like Corsair and Razer to develop iconic designs and launch a huge variety of peripherals. Even without the PlayStation brand, Sony has enough appeal to pursue this successful strategy.
Sony has already benefited immensely from catering to the PC crowd. Some of the biggest games published by PlayStation have recently been ported to PC, including God of War and Horizon Dawn. Such a tactic allows Sony to increase profits without compromising the PlayStation brand – after all, you still need to buy a PS5 to play Horizon Forbidden West on day one.
So it makes sense to extend that tactic to include PC hardware. The new Inzone brand will not negatively impact PlayStation, but it will allow Sony to expand into a new market and get a bigger slice of the pie. As the owner of both a PS5 and a gaming PC, I’m excited to see what Sony has planned for the new Inzone brand next time.
Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computer-centric opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals, and more. Find it every Saturday afternoon on Trusted Reviews.