They were never headline news, but Sony did a pretty good job throughout the PlayStation 4’s lifespan of releasing custom consoles. You know the drill: it’s a regular PlayStation 4 inside, but the case would be a new colour, or there’d be a fancy faceplate with a game’s logo or piece of art on it.
Aside from swappable coloured panels Sony hasn’t really seemed to be as interested in the idea on the PlayStation 5, which makes the announcement of this new Lebron James-themed console super weird.
For starters, it’s not even a PlayStation video game. Or a video game at all. It’s a console tied to Lebron James the man, who is synonymous with a lot of things, none of them being video games.
And secondly, it looks like shit! It looks like a LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE stencil you’d find on the kitchen wall of your friend’s mum’s place. It looks like the box art for a set of coloured markers for toddlers. And who else other than a Nike marketing executive would even recognise any of this as having anything to do with Lebron?
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Most people walking into a house and seeing this would be like “why did you buy a PlayStation 5 case on Etsy?” To which the owner would then have to explain, Oh, this is a Lebron James PS5, which the NBA’s all-time scoring leader himself describes as:
It’s still crazy to think a kid from Akron who grew up playing games is getting to create something like this. Designing a console cover and controller with PlayStation that gives a nod to my I Promise students and where we come from is a pretty cool thing. I hope it’s something that continues to inspire everyone who touches it, and that they have a little fun finding meaning in every detail.
OK, I feel slightly bad now, because so that’s real nice for the kids at I Promise, a school funded by the NBA megastar’s foundation, and located in James’ hometown of Akron.
But only slightly! For everyone else this still looks bad. And may just be a taste of what’s to come; at the bottom of Sony’s announcement was word that this is just the first release in a whole line of stuff designed with “creators, athletes, actors, artists, gamers, and entertainers”:
This is just the beginning for PlayStation Playmakers. We look forward to spotlighting more stories from this dynamic and evolving network of talent who are passionate about sharing their love for PlayStation and video games with the world. They represent some of today’s most exciting creators, athletes, actors, artists, gamers, and entertainers. PlayStation Playmakers is part of our journey to inspire gaming fans and prove the power of play.
If you are interested in this Lebron console, it’ll be out later this year, but seemingly only available directly from Sony.