“We’re entering the gaming gear industry with monitors and headsets at an exciting time, as gaming and esports have become even more popular in recent years,” Kazuo Kii, Sony President of Home Entertainment and Sound Products, told Washington Post. “We leverage Sony’s high-quality display and audio technologies to deliver products that allow gamers to immerse themselves in their gaming world.”
The brand’s name, Kii said, is meant to refer to the immersive feeling gamers experience when they’re “in the zone.”
As an admitted latecomer to the PC gaming market, Sony plans to wow gamers with affordable products. Sony plans to sell an $899 4K resolution monitor with a 144 Hertz refresh rate, which will be available this summer, and a $529 1080p monitor with a 240 Hertz refresh rate, which will be available this summer to be released later this year.
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The Japanese conglomerate is hoping that PC gamers — particularly first-person shooter gamers — will give Inzone a shot and not associate Sony primarily with consoles. According to Kii, the brand’s name refers to the immersive feeling that players experience when they are “in the zone”.
“We’re not saying we’re not focused on PS5 users. But because we are latecomers when it comes to monitors and headphones [the] In the gaming segment, we believe we have a chance to catch up,” said Kii. He added that he hopes Sony can catch up by targeting top gamers and influencers who might use Inzone products and promoting them to their audience.
“I think when top players from top companies say, ‘Oh, Sony’s Inzone is great,’ we can catch up,” Kii said.
While Sony hopes to woo PC gamers, it hasn’t left PlayStation 5 users behind. Aesthetically, the monitors and headsets are designed to blend in with the PS5 should users happen to own one. The two monitors work with the PS5, which once connected optimizes the screen colors. The monitors also have a switcher feature that allows users to connect a single keyboard, mouse and headset to a PC and PS5 at the same time and switch between the two.
Sony’s approach to gaming headphones is to try and figure out which of their options will resonate with consumers. The company will offer a $299 wireless headset with noise cancellation and leatherette, along with a $229 stripped-down wireless headset (without leather or noise cancellation) and a pair of wired headphones for $99. Kii said that all three pairs will be equipped with a spatial sound field function; Players can hear how far away enemies are and where they are based on audio cues.
The headphones are also designed to be less snug on the ears, allowing gamers to wear them comfortably for hours.
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The launch of the new brand comes shortly after Xbox’s announcement in early June that it would be courting Japanese developers who have traditionally worked more with PlayStation. While Inzone is targeting a gaming community more commonly associated with Windows PCs and Xbox, Kii denied the brand launch was an attempt to compete for Xbox’s audience, saying many gamers use multiple devices to play use.
Inzone hardware builds on Sony’s current offerings of TVs, monitors and noise-canceling earbuds, adapting that technology to appeal to gamers. According to Kii, it is still undecided whether hardware should be offered under the Inzone brand in addition to monitors and headsets.
Inzone comes with a software program called Inzone Hub that allows users to access and change settings like lighting and bass.
“Sony’s gaming division, PlayStation, has primarily focused on the console games market,” said Daniel Ahmad, senior analyst at market research firm Niko Partners. “More recently, the company has been trying to reach a broader gamer demographic beyond consoles, starting with those who play games on PC. Asia is a region of the world where console gaming is dwarfed by PC and mobile gaming. As Asia is an important market for the gaming industry, with this move Sony is finding ways to reach this market beyond consoles.”