Sony just hosted its Corporate Stretegy Meeting and the company’s executives talked extensively about its plans for the PlayStation business.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida mentioned that PlayStation Network is Sony’s “biggest achievement in the DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) space.
“The biggest achievement in the DTC space is the PlayStation Network, which has continued to grow organically
rather than through external investment. Our network sales in the fiscal year that just ended, during which the PlayStation 5 was launched, increased almost tenfold compared to the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, when the PlayStation 4 was launched. The number of PS Plus subscribers has also steadily grown.
Investment in IP and DTC is closely linked to our Purpose because it creates and delivers Kando.”
He also talked about PlayStation Productions, which is working to bring PlayStation’s IP to the silver screen and to television.
“We have also established PlayStation Productions. Working in close partnership with the film and television production teams at Sony Pictures, PlayStation Productions is hard at work making game titles into movies and TV shows. The hit PlayStation game Uncharted is currently being made into a film. And we are taking other steps, including collaboration between Sony Pictures and Sony Music, to maximize the value of IP. I firmly believe that Sonyʼs diverse businesses can help creators maximize how they demonstrate their creativity.”
Yoshida-san defined the PS5 as Sony’s “latest achievement in the experiential technology space” and the upcoming next-gen PlayStation VR as the next challenge in that same space. It will include the “latest sensing technology”
“Our latest achievement in the experiential technology space is the PlayStation 5. We have integrated multiple technologies into the console, including audio, visual, and haptic feedback through the controller, all of which enable users to experience games with a sense of reality, in real-time and in an immersive manner.
Our next challenge in the experiential technology space is virtual reality. Leveraging the knowledge we gained from PS VR, we plan to incorporate the latest sensing technology into our next-generation headset.”
Interestingly, the company is also exploring a collaboration between its artificial intelligence branch Sony AI and PlayStation to make games “richer and more enjoyable” via the use of “game AI agents” as opponents or co-op partners for players.
“Sony AI, which we established last year, has begun a collaboration with PlayStation that will make game experiences even richer and more enjoyable. By leveraging reinforcement learning, we are developing Game AI Agents that can be a player’s in-game opponent or collaboration partner.”
Yoshida-san confirmed its aggressive investment in first-party studios alongside the continued relationship with third-parties.
“We are also working to deliver appealing content to the game community by strengthening our relationships with third-party game studios and developers as well as by investing in development of content in our first-party game studios and by attracting new talent to those studios.”
He then moved on talking about the expansion in the mobile market and the social space, which he believes is “indispensable to the development of the PlayStation community.”
“In addition to what we do in the services space around anime and games, what we do in the mobile and social spaces will be crucial to expanding the world of people to whom we deliver Kando. I believe this is indispensable to the development of the PlayStation Community.
First, I will discuss mobile. We are already deploying our anime-related IP in the form of mobile games. Fate/Grand Order (FGO) is a prime example of this. FGO has become a hit in China through our collaboration with Bilibili. We will continue to actively release mobile games based on anime-related IP around the world. And we will further focus on deploying PlayStationʼs proprietary IP to mobile as well.”
The next big challenge, according to Yoshida-san, is to “make the PlayStation more social.”
“One of the next big challenges for Sony is to make the PlayStation more social. Our efforts in the services, mobile and social arenas are crucial to expanding the world that Sony will fill with emotion, and that is especially the case for PlayStation. “
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan had several remarks to share including a summary of the latest achievements for PlayStation and more information on the efforts to achieve the expansion in the social space mentioned by Yoshida-san above.
He talked about the collaboration between PlayStation and other branches of Sony’s business and the recent investment in discord.
“At Sony Interactive Entertainment we embrace Sonyʼs purpose and the direction of “getting closer to people”. Our community has always been part of PlayStationʼs DNA. We have built a strong community by focusing on what we do best – pushing boundaries to “fill the world with emotion”, using innovative technology that puts gamers in the
middle of incredible worlds.
Highly anticipated games like Returnal, developed by our partner, Housemarque, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart from our studio, Insomniac Games build on our incredible PS5 launch lineup, increasing the breadth of entertainment experiences available only on PlayStation. Weʼve also announced new collaborations with studios led by notable luminaries in game development, Firewalk and Jade Raymondʼs Haven Studios.
From the first PlayStation we have focused on developing a platform that enables creators to share their vision with millions of people. Our third party partners and our first party studios have used our venue to develop new worlds, new iconic characters, and masterfully crafted stories that connect the world through shared entertainment
In addition, we will continue to strengthen the experience for our community through collaboration with partners and across Sony Group. As Yoshida mentioned earlier, one especially noteworthy collaboration is in our ongoing work with Sony Pictures to adapt key game IP for film and tv entertainment with 10 projects currently in various stages of development.
Another important area is the convergence of Social and Entertainment, which is making communication an increasingly critical component of entertainment. Our investment in Discord is another example of the convergence of social and entertainment; fan reception to this news has been positive, indicating a desire to expand the social aspects of gaming.
Ryan also talked about the exploration of mobile games to further expand Sony’s first-party IPs, teasing the arrival of “wonderful PlayStation franchises” to the mobile scene.
The content developed by PlayStation Studios these past 25 years has created a wealth of IP and provided PlayStation with immersive experiences that evoke emotions and bring players on a journey. We have been thinking about how players enjoy our content and have had some early success with experimenting with mobile games and apps to provide more choice to gamers.
Mobile is just one of the areas we are exploring to reach millions of gamers beyond our platforms. PlayStation has a huge catalog of diverse first-party IP that can transition to smartphone gaming and complement our AAA games or live service games. We are exploring the mobile market with some wonderful PlayStation franchises so please stay
tuned. Through investments in IP, Group collaboration within Sony, investment in Social and Mobile, we are excited for the opportunity to continue to expand our community and welcome millions of new gamers to the PlayStation family. ”
Below you can also find two videos that were showcased during the meeting, parts of which are dedicated to PlayStation.