Internal emails shared between several Xbox execs, including Phil Spencer, have revealed how the team reacted to the PS5 back in 2020, and later, its price increase in 2022.
As reported by The Verge, court documents from the FTC vs. Microsoft case earlier this year reveal internal emails exchanged between a number of Xbox executives. In one of the emails, Xbox's former head of platform engineering and hardware, Liz Hamren, can be seen comparing the PlayStation console and Microsoft's upcoming Xbox Series X.
Discussing PlayStation's 'Road to PS5' presentation from three years ago, Hamren writes (to redacted recipients) recapping the key points from the presentation before going into more detail about the PS5's specifications and how it compares to the Xbox console. "Cerny talked at length about the move to SSDs and the advantages for game developers and consumers," Hamren's email reads.
Focusing on the PS5's GPU, Hamren said: "[Cerny] emphasized that GPU teraflops and CU is not a good measurement of performance." Hamren's email continues by comparing the PS5's 10 teraflops of performance and Xbox's 12 teraflops, explaining that the Microsoft console has a "clear performance advantage." Hamren also reported that PlayStation has optimized its console for "raw higher raw throughput," which was "2x ours with slightly better hardware compression and associated performance improvements."
Hamren also touched upon several other elements of PlayStation's presentation, adding that "Cerny also spent what seemed like a disproportionate amount of time on audio innovations," and that the PS5's storage solution is "similar to us in reality due to minimum size and speed requirements."
Alongside this email, The Verge has also shared another internal exchange that was sent approximately two years after the one detailed above. This next email featured Phil Spencer, Xbox CFO Tim Stuart, Microsoft CFO Amy Hood, as well as a few other execs and discussed the PS5's 2022 price increase - almost immediately after PlayStation announced it. In the email, Stuart revealed that the company "anticipated this" and is "moving quickly toward a plan now that we've seen confirmation."
In the same thread, Spencer talked about his own experience buying a PS5 in August 2022, revealing: "Sony has been force bundling Horizon ZD [meaning Horizon Forbidden West] for $50 adder for a while now. I bought my PS5 2 weeks ago and [the] only option was [Horizon Forbidden West] bundle at $549." As we now know, Microsoft increased the price of the Xbox Series X outside of the US in June 2023.