It’s no secret why Sony created a PC gaming monitor that also works well with the PS5. The PC gaming business is just too big to ignore, and it’s just money on the table that’s otherwise available to other monitor manufacturers.
Sony didn’t say those exact words, but I didn’t need to know that’s 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 go beyond the console. In recent years, making its games accessible to more people rather than locking them down as exclusives has become a welcome shift in strategy.
However, Sony is late for this particular party. Nintendo’s Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck can be played anywhere, and while Microsoft doesn’t make gaming monitors (actually, that would be the norm), it has kept its focus on Xbox’s growth by improving PC compatibility and its cloud Capabilities has expanded to include more devices including phones, tablets and now select Samsung TVs. The bar for someone to join Xbox Game Pass and give them instant access to a wide range of games from their sofa, phone or desk for a reasonable monthly fee is unbelievable low. You’re almost stupid not to try.
With the new gaming monitors from Sony, the company is expanding in a much more limited way. It’s a big deal, as Sony has historically been most concerned with dominating the living room, not the office or wherever you’ve placed your PC. But it’s odd in contrast to 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, an $899 display (and a $529 model coming this winter), is Sony’s next big step in reaching more gamers. It will certainly be enough some Gamers: Those who see value in a 27-inch monitor rather than buying a 48-inch OLED or something larger with less than impressive specs for around the same price of nearly $1,000. But that feels like Sony is trying to make the best of (and possibly improve on) the embarrassing but ultimately fixable issues in its console strategy to date.
To be clear, Sony is by no means in a sad position because of the PS5. From launch at the end of 2020 to the end of 2021, 17.3 million consoles were sold. The PS5 was the first console to break the Nintendo Switch’s 33-month best-selling streak in the US. And it’s been almost a year since Sony announced that its $499 PS5 is turning a profit rather than a loss per console.
Sony’s gaming business is doing well… for now. But there are components of its business that need improvement so Sony can better meet gamers where they are: anywhere, play on any device.
Sony’s new tiered PS Plus subscription doesn’t currently directly rival the value, simplicity, and wide availability of Xbox Game Pass. I’m sure it will improve over time, but its new interface and games library both feel overly packed with information selling me for a service I’m already paying for, and terribly lacking in experiences that a must-try – at least for the PlayStation uninitiated.
While Sony works on this, I’d also like to see this full service, complete with PS5 game streaming, coming to PC, Mac and mobile as soon as possible. Damn, maybe Sony could just clean up its news because other than using a console, it’s very confusing as to how you can and can’t play Sony’s vast library of console games. It is currently creating a Remote Play app for PC, Mac and mobile, but requires that you own a PS4 or PS5 and be on the same network. On PC, Sony is halfway there with its current PS Plus app, which lets you stream games on PC, but it only supports the older DualShock 4 controller, not Sony’s PS5 DualSense controller. Also, PS5 games are completely absent from the PC app – it’s just PS4 games with some older console classics in the mix.
To spread to places other than the couch, Sony would really have to figure out cloud game streaming. It fiddled with that potato a long time ago and still hasn’t really figured out where it bounced, despite ironically Microsoft itself powering Sony’s streaming tech. I’ve heard other good experiences with streaming PS3 and PS4 games through PS Plus, but even though my PS5 is connected to a more than capable network via Ethernet, it launches so much slower and lags games than the excellent xCloud experience.
Cool monitors won’t solve Sony’s gaming problem, but it does the next best thing: It offers Sony’s own solution to the demands of gamers who don’t want to just sit on their couch to play on a console. People work remotely. You sit at your desk at home all day. Selling these people a monitor that handles normal computing tasks in addition to gaming, while also including nice features for PS5 owners, keeps Sony in the places 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 gamers. It sports a 4K IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, and its local dimming across the entire 96-zone array catches the eye, making its 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 this price range. But its existence will not be confusing. Sony isn’t just competing for TV time anymore; Now it also wants to be somewhere else where you play.