“We are entering the gaming hardware industry with monitors and headsets at an exciting time, as gaming and esports have become even more popular over the past few years,” said Kazuo Kii, president of entertainment at home and audio products from Sony to the Washington Post. “We leverage Sony’s high-quality display and audio technologies to deliver products that will allow gamers to immerse themselves in their gaming world.”
The brand name, Kii said, is meant to refer to the feeling of immersion players feel when they’re “in the zone.”
Recognized as a latecomer in the PC gaming market, Sony intends to seduce gamers with competitively priced products. Sony plans to sell an $899 4K resolution monitor with a 144-hertz refresh rate, available this summer, and a $529 1080p monitor with a 240-hertz refresh rate, coming later this year.
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The Japanese conglomerate hopes that PC gamers – especially first-person shooters – will give Inzone a chance, and not associate Sony primarily with consoles. The brand name is meant to refer to the immersive feeling players get when they’re “in the zone”, according to Kii.
“We’re not saying we’re not focusing on PS5 users. But because we’re latecomers in monitors and headphones for [the] gaming segment, we think we have a chance to catch up,” Kii said. He added that he hopes Sony can catch up by bringing in top competitive players and influencers who can use Inzone products and promote them to their audience.
“I think if the top players from the top companies say ‘Oh, Sony’s Inzone is awesome’, we can catch up,” Kii said.
While Sony hopes to appeal to PC gamers, it hasn’t left out PlayStation 5 users. Aesthetically, the monitors and headsets are designed to blend in with the PS5, should users own one. Both monitors work with the PS5, which will optimize screen colors when connected. The monitors also have a switching function, allowing users to simultaneously connect a keyboard, mouse and headset to a PC and a PS5, and switch between the two.
Sony’s approach to gaming headphones is to try and see which of their options resonates with consumers. The company will offer wireless headphones for $299 with noise cancellation and synthetic leather, as well as a sleek $229 wireless headphones (without leather or noise cancellation) and a pair of wired headphones for $99. Kii said all three pairs will come with a spatial sound field feature; players will be able to hear how far away their opponents are and where they are, based on sound cues.
The headphones are also designed to fit looser around the ears so gamers can wear them comfortably for hours on end.
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The launch of the new brand comes shortly after Xbox announced in early June that it was trying to woo Japanese developers, who traditionally worked more with PlayStation. While Inzone is targeting a gaming community more commonly associated with Windows PC and Xbox, Kii denied that the brand launch was an attempt to compete for Xbox audiences, saying many gamers use multiple devices to play.
The Inzone hardware builds on Sony’s current offerings for noise-cancelling TVs, monitors and headphones, adapting this technology to appeal to gamers. The company still hasn’t decided whether it plans to offer hardware in addition to monitors and headsets under the Inzone brand, according to Kii.
Inzone will come with software called Inzone hub allowing users to access and change settings such as lighting and bass.
“Sony’s games division, PlayStation, has focused primarily on the console gaming market,” said Daniel Ahmad, principal analyst at research firm Niko Partners. “More recently, the company has sought to reach a wider audience of gamers beyond the console, beginning with those who play PC games. Asia is a region of the world where console games are overshadowed by PC and mobile games.As Asia is a critical market for the games industry, Sony is finding ways to address this market beyond consoles with this decision.