This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Sony unveiled the PlayStation 5's design back in June, but didn't explain the reasoning behind its appearance, which consisted of bold two tones and curves never before seen on a console. For that, Microsoft's head of gaming operations, Phil Spencer, reportedly explained (and speculated) on behalf of the company.
Screenwriter and author Gary Whitta, known for his work on the original Rogue One: a Star Wars Story movie, hosted an online event based on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Spencer, the head of the Xbox business, appeared there (a character wearing an Xbox t-shirt) and talked about a number of topics related to his company's Xbox Series X and PS5 products, which will be released at the end of the year.
When asked what he thought of the PS5 design when he first saw it, Spencer said that both consoles are substantially more powerful computers in terms of CPUs and GPUs, and that both MS and Sony are dealing with the physical issues of power and cooling, and that these are "really hard" to deal with. He stated that more than ever before, they had to find a balance between design and functionality.
And the reason why the Xbox Series X finally decided on its current design is because "we wanted a large fan". By making the cooling fan larger, "we could spin a little more slowly so we’re not making noise," he revealed. In other words, "we could draw a lot of air with a big fan spinning a little bit slower", which explains the vertical design path of the refrigerator-like shape.
On the other hand, he explained that the PS5's shape became that way because “knowing that the PlayStation 5 is running at higher clocks […] it creates unique design challenges in how you keep these things cool”. The PS5's GPU clock, which is the core of its graphics capabilities, is 2.23GHz (variable clock, at maximum) compared to the Xbox Series X's 1.825GHz. This means that the PS5 will require a unique approach to cooling the heat generated by higher clocking operations.
“That’s true of both of us, so that’s not a shot. They took an approach that’s different than the approach that we did [with Xbox Series X]. I haven’t been around a PlayStation 5 running, but I am sure that they had similar design goals for themselves around what it means to run, how it sounds, and how much power it’s drawing, because those are things that we focused on and it led to the design that we have,” Spencer said, speculating that the PS5's design was not intended to be quirky, but was reasonably guided by the demands of thermal design.
Spencer also said that he will inevitably end up owning a PS5, and he’s excited to see how it performs. That's just an outsider's view of "maybe," but it's an interesting view from the head of a competing platform, who has to share in the struggle of designing something that can't take up so much space in the home.
Either way, as the PS5 release date approaches, Sony will have to provide more details on the design and performance. There are also rumored specifications that will allow users to swap out and customize the outer cover, but we'll be keeping a close eye on future announcements.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.