Here’s Microsoft’s response to Sony’s PS5 announcement and price hike | Albiseyler

Here's Microsoft's response to Sony's PS5 announcement and price hike

Microsoft, as you’d expect, watched Sony’s PS5 reveal very closely. Sony announced the full technical specifications of the PS5 in March 2020, prompting an Xbox executive to provide Xbox boss Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with a summary of the Sony console and internal emails from FTC v. Microsoft case disclosure. Then, more than two years later, Microsoft also responded to Sony’s PS5 price hike.

The emails show Liz Hamren, former head of platform engineering and hardware at Xbox, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of Sony’s PS5 specs compared to Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. PlayStation head of hardware Mark Cerny detailed the PS5 specs just two days before Microsoft publicly announced its own Xbox Series X specs.

Hamren mentions the variable clock speeds of the PS5’s GPU and CPU, “compared to us running higher.” he lasted rates.” Hamren admits that Sony has a clear SSD performance advantage with the PS5:

Černý spoke at length about the shift to SSDs and the benefits for game developers and consumers. They are optimized for raw higher raw throughput (2x ours with slightly better hardware compression and associated performance improvement) as opposed to the more integrated streaming architecture that Sampler Feedback Streaming enables.

Elsewhere there was also brief talk of 12 teraflops of performance versus Sony’s 10 teraflops. “(Cerny) emphasized that GPU teraflops and CUs are not a good measure of performance. We did the same with Digital Foundry, but we have a clear performance advantage (12 in 10),” Hamren wrote.

Heavily redacted PS5 reaction email.
Image: US Courts

The former Xbox executive also said Cerny “spent what seemed like an inordinate amount of time on audio innovation,” but the rest of that discussion is redacted from the email chain. Hamren also claims that Sony’s expandable storage solution for the PS5 is “similar to us actually because of the minimal size and speed requirements.” But in reality, Sony’s approach means that consumers can use any mainstream NVMe SSD instead of the proprietary and often more expensive Xbox drives that are only available from Seagate and Western Digital.

In internal emails, Microsoft was also quick to respond to Sony’s PS5 price hike last year – even though they didn’t immediately raise Xbox prices. Xbox CFO Tim Stuart emailed Xbox boss Spencer and Microsoft CFO Amy Hood early this morning about Sony’s 2022 announcement, noting that the Xbox team “anticipated this and now that we’ve seen confirmation, they’re moving quickly on the plan.”

There’s a discussion in the email thread that’s heavily redacted, but Spencer seems to want the company to remain player-centric with any price hike. Ami Silverman, who led Microsoft’s consumer sales and marketing at the time, responds: “All right, let’s be obsessive gamers here, because we’re not out of the woods… we know it might be time to get fans. vs lose being a follower.”

Silverman clearly means that Xbox sales are lagging behind PlayStation sales, and he doesn’t want to lose any momentum by immediately following Sony’s price hike with Microsoft’s Xbox price hike. Microsoft has repeatedly mentioned that it lost the console wars and was in a distant third place FTC v. Microsoft hearing.

Microsoft’s Xbox boss bought a PS5 last year.
Image: US Courts

Spencer then explains that he bought a PS5 in August 2022. “Sony has been pushing to bundle the HZD for $50 (extra) for a while now,” Spencer said. “I bought a PS5 2 weeks ago and the only option was the $549 HZD bundle.” HZD refers incorrectly Horizon Zero Dawn here’s how it was Horizon Forbidden West which Sony bundled with the PS5.

The back and forth could explain why Microsoft delayed raising the price of the Xbox Series X for nearly a year. Microsoft raised Xbox Series X prices in most countries in August, except for the US, Japan, Chile, Brazil and Colombia. The updated price of the Xbox Series X console largely matches the price increase that Sony announced for the PS5 in 2022.

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