Sony had to make a PC gaming monitor because the PS5 isn’t enough
It’s no mystery why Sony created a PC gaming monitor that can work well with the PS5 as well. The PC gaming business is just too big to ignore, and it’s just money on the table that’s otherwise up for grabs by other monitor manufacturers.
Sony didn’t say those exact words, but neither did I need to know that this was one of the reasons it decided to announce two gaming monitors this week. Another reason is that Sony’s growing focus on services means PS Plus will eventually move beyond the console. Getting his games out to more people instead of locking them up as exclusives has become a welcome change in strategy in recent years.
However, Sony is late for this particular celebration. Nintendo’s Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck can be played anywhere by design, and while you don’t see Microsoft making gaming monitors (actually that would be the rule), it spread its focus on the growing Xbox by improving PC compatibility and its cloud capabilities. about more devices, such as phones, tablets, and from now on, select Samsung TVs. The bar for someone to join Xbox Game Pass, giving them instant access to a wide variety of games from the couch, phone or desk for a reasonable monthly fee is incredible low. You’re almost stupid not to try.
With Sony’s new gaming monitors, the company is expanding itself in a significantly more limited way. It’s a big deal given that historically Sony has cared most about dominating the living room, not the office or wherever you set up your PC. But it stands out as odd unlike Nintendo, Microsoft, and Valve, who are now focused on giving you ways to play your games wherever you are.
Regardless of the success of Sony’s new M9 monitor, it’s interesting to consider this one, an $899 screen (and a $529 model coming this winter), is Sony’s next big step to reach more gamers. It will surely reach some Gamers: Those who see value in a 27-inch monitor over buying a 48-inch OLED or something bigger with less impressive specs for about the same price of nearly $1,000. But this feels like Sony is trying to make the most of (and possibly improve on) the embarrassing but ultimately fixable problems in its console strategy thus far.
To be clear: Sony is by no means in a sad place because of the PS5. It sold 17.3 million consoles from launch in late 2020 to late 2021. The PS5 became the first console to break the Nintendo Switch’s 33-month bestselling streak in the US. And it’s been nearly a year since Sony announced its $499 PS5 is making profits rather than losses per console.
Sony’s games business is doing just fine…for now. But there are areas of his business that need to be improved so Sony can better meet gamers where they are: everywhere, playing on any device.
Sony’s new multi-tier PS Plus subscription cannot currently compete directly with the value, simplicity and wide availability of Xbox Game Pass. I’m sure it will improve over time, but the new interface and game library both feel overly packed with information selling me off for a service I’m already paying for and eerily lacking in must-try experiences – at least for the PlayStation Uninitiated.
While Sony is working on that, I’d also like to see this full service, complete with PS5 game streaming, come to PC, Mac and mobile as soon as possible. Heck, maybe Sony can clean up their posts because aside from using a console, it’s very confusing how to play and not play Sony’s large library of console games. It is currently making a Remote Play App for PC, Mac and mobile, but you must have a PS4 or PS5 and be on the same network. On PC, Sony is actually halfway through its current PS Plus app, which means you stream games on pc, but it only supports the older DualShock 4 controller, not Sony’s PS5 DualSense controller. Plus, PS5 games are completely missing from the PC app – they’re just PS4 games with some older console classics in the mix.
To spread to places other than the bank, Sony really should invent cloud game streaming. It infamously messed up that potato a long time ago and still hasn’t quite figured out where it bounced off, though, ironically, Microsoft itself is powering Sony’s streaming technology. I’ve heard others report good experiences streaming PS3 and PS4 games over PS Plus, but despite my PS5 being connected to a more than capable network via ethernet, it’s so much slower to launch games and slower than the excellent xCloud experience.
Cool monitors won’t solve Sony’s game everywhere, but it does it best: it offers Sony’s proprietary solution to the demands of gamers who don’t want to just sit on their couch and play on a console. People work remotely. They sit at their home office all day. By selling those people a monitor that can handle normal computing tasks in addition to gaming, and that also includes useful features for PS5 owners, Sony is staying where people want to play — not where Sony thinks they should. Or at least that’s the plan.
I’ve really enjoyed using the M9 monitor so far. I’m still testing it, but it ticks a lot of boxes – for both PS5 and PC players. It has a 4K IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and the 96-zone full-array local dimming is immediately noticeable, making the HDR look even more stunning. We’ll have to see if it’s really good enough to compete with the current best gaming monitors in that price range. But its existence will not be confusing. Sony isn’t just competing for time on your TV anymore; now it also wants to be where you play elsewhere.