CEO Interview : Creating Sony's Metaverse with Creators
Q1. Reasons to focus on getting closer to creators
―――At the Corporate Strategy Meeting, you mentioned that you want Sony to be the brand chosen by creators. What are your reasons for placing even more importance on getting closer to creators?
Yoshida: The keyword in Sony's business and management is "Kando (emotion)," as stated in our Purpose.
The starting point of producing Kando is the creativity of people, and that is why I stated my wish to become "a brand chosen by creators."
As the ways in which Kando is delivered to users are diversifying, it is even more important for Sony to get closer to creators and be chosen by them.
The ways in which Kando is delivered have evolved thanks to technology, via broadcasts, packaged media and networks.
In terms of networks, the user experience has evolved from downloads to streaming and now social, interactive experiences.
I think it can be said that networks are becoming more unbundled* and aligning themselves closer to the user's motivations.
With the diversification of media and the cost of distribution decreasing, I believe we are entering an era in which it will be those on the content and creation side that choose the media.
Amidst this environment, we would like to be the brand chosen by creators.
I want us to be an attractive collaborator for creators, and I think the metaverse is another area where we should work closely together with creators.
- * The process of individual services becoming more diverse and specialized.
Q2. Perception of the metaverse
―――What is your perception of the metaverse?
Yoshida: I consider the metaverse to be a live network space where people can share time and space, that also incorporates a social element.
To elaborate on the transition of methods for delivering Kando that I mentioned earlier, broadcasts and packaged media played a leading role in the 20th century. Moving into the 21st century, this rapidly extended to networks.
Furthermore, the media of networks has also evolved from downloads to streaming as a means of enjoying content such as music and movies.
Now, networks have expanded into an interactive entertainment space, fusing with game technology that renders CG in real time.
I think that the essence of entertainment is to be "live", and entertainment spaces that are evolving to deliver these live experiences, while also providing a social element, are what represents the metaverse.
The metaverse is an area of great potential and opportunity for Sony, and we intend to engage in it as a new growth area alongside mobility.
Q3. Areas of focus in the metaverse
―――The metaverse is gaining worldwide attention. With many companies creating their own versions of the metaverse in various fields, what area is Sony focusing on?
Yoshida: While there are metaverses centered around areas such as communication and blockchain/NFT-based transactions, as a creative entertainment company, Sony's first priority is to create a metaverse around entertainment.
As with live concerts being held by artists in Fortnite, I think the metaverse space has the power to intersect with many different forms of entertainment.
In addition to Sony's diverse entertainment businesses including games, music, pictures, and anime, I believe our technology can also contribute to the expansion of the metaverse. Specifically, through our game technology, such as real-time CG rendering for example.
Furthermore, in the area of VR/AR, which is the interface between people and the metaverse, we can leverage the expertise Sony has cultivated in many key technologies such as displays including micro OLED, sensing such as eye tracking, and 3D audio.
Q4. Approaches to delivering Kando to users through the metaverse
―――I now understand how Sony's diversity can contribute to the metaverse. What is the approach you are taking to deliver Kando to users around the world?
Yoshida: Essentially, we aim to do so through "Communities of Interest."
I believe that creating Kando spaces that correspond with each person's motivations and interests, is the metaverse that Sony should aim to create.
Specifically, these are areas such as games, music, and sports.
In the games space, we have Bungie, subject to the completion of the acquisition we agreed this year, and its strengths in live services. Here we are creating interactive game entertainment experiences between creators and users.
In the area of music, Sony Music artists have already made many live performances in game spaces.
Furthermore, in sports, we are collaborating with Manchester City Football Club to recreate the stadium in the virtual space.
―――Following your announcement at the Corporate Strategy Meeting to focus on the metaverse, what has been the reaction from Sony Group employees?
Yoshida: On the day of the Corporate Strategy Meeting, I asked our employees for their opinion regarding "What is Sony's metaverse?" through my internal blog.
I received more than 200 responses from employees across various Sony Group companies. The feedback included concrete proposals regarding technologies we can utilize, and proposals for names that suitably reflect the metaverse that we aim to create, again underlining the level of interest in this area among employees.
I look forward to deepening my dialogue with Sony's diverse employees and contributing to the evolution of the metaverse together.
―――It seems this new metaverse will be born through discussions with employees engaged in Sony's diverse businesses, and collaboration across the entire Sony Group.
Yoshida: I consider our diverse businesses and diverse employees as our strength. However, there are some things that we cannot do on our own.
Just as we work with distribution platforms to stream our music and video content, in the metaverse we must also deliver Kando in collaboration with our partners.
Our investment in Epic Games which strengthens our collaboration in the metaverse field is one example of how we are reinforcing our partnerships in this area.
Not only through our own efforts, but also by collaborating with our partners, we can deliver Kando to the world.
Q5. Sony's efforts in the metaverse and its connection to "Purpose"
―――Finally, how do Sony's efforts in relation to the metaverse connect to its "Purpose?"
Yoshida: Once again, Sony's Purpose is to "fill the world with emotion."
And the essence of entertainment is live. The metaverse, which is evolving as a live space where people can share "time" and "space", is a new Kando space where Sony can support and expand the creativity of creators.
Contributing to the expansion of the metaverse through Sony's diverse businesses, employees, and technology, also connects to pursuing our Purpose.
I would like to connect the contribution we can make in these areas to Sony's future growth.
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