What you need to know
- During an interview with Norges Bank Investment Management, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida elaborated on Sony's future strategy.
- Sony described its plans to double down on expanding its gaming experiences to cloud platforms, mobile devices, and PC.
- Sony has already begun supporting Windows PCs more aggressively in recent years, with first-party titles like Helldivers 2 and Marathon slated to launch simultaneously on PC.
Sony is a large and diverse company, with renowned operations in movies, music, entertainment, and electronics. The crown jewel of Sony's operations is arguably PlayStation in today's times. PlayStation continues to be the front runner in the console and "core" gaming space, seeing off stiff competition from Nintendo and Xbox adeptly. Despite its strong position, though, PlayStation is joining others looking for ways it can find growth in a tough market. One way Sony is looking to do this is via Windows PC, mobile, and cloud.
Responding to the question on the future of gaming, Kenichiro Yoshida had this to say. "[The future of gaming] will be ubiquitous. Wherever there is computing, users will be able to play their favorite games seamlessly," Yoshida-san continued, "while PlayStation will remain our core product, we will expand our gaming experiences to PC, mobile, and cloud."
Further into the interview, Yoshida-san discussed artificial intelligence, and the role large language models (LLM) and other models could play in gaming and Sony's movie business — but in summary, Yoshida-san emphasized a strong desire to not replace human creators, but instead support them using this technology.
"The convergence and computing is a megatrend, and AI is also born out of computing. So, we cannot get in the way of technology, but at the same time, entertainment is a people business. For example, it is technically possible to create a movie scene in which Tom Hanks speaks Japanese, with perfect lip sync. But should we? That is the question." Yoshida-san continued, "the content that forms that basis of entertainment is creator-generated, and copyrighted. Creators involvement is essential. Therefor, Sony positions AI as a technology that supports creators, and it should not replace them."
"Games are computer software, it is made by programming languages. LLM (large language models) with help streamline game development, allowing creators to focus on creators to focus more on creativity."
PlayStation and Xbox go broad
Both PlayStation and Xbox are looking to bring their software experiences to broader audiences, in a world where the console market hasn't grown significantly enough to accommodate the traditional three big console players.
A 2023 year-end report from Newzoo details how PC platform growth will outpace consoles by almost 2% in 2024, seeing 3.9% growth to console's 1.9%. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo could scrap over that 1.9% growth, or, alternatively, double down on PC instead. For Sony and Nintendo especially, moving more games to Windows PCs via platforms like Steam represents by far the biggest growth opportunity. Microsoft has been present already on PC for some time, and stands to profit even further with PC-oriented games from Activision-Blizzard within its purview. Sony has been putting its games on PC gradually, but it's often very long after the fact, after the PlayStation sales have dried up and the marketing cycle has fully ended. If Sony were to put its games day and date onto Steam simultaneously as it does with PlayStation, it would be able to stretch the return on its marketing investment far more than their present strategy, and there's every reason to believe this is probably the strategy they will follow.
Microsoft has been exploring going even further than this. There are widespread rumors that Microsoft is planning to not only continue putting its Xbox games on PC, but also expand towards bringing more Xbox games to PlayStation and Nintendo Switch as well. Yoshida-san's comments "wherever there is computing, people will be able to play their favorite gaming experiences" potentially implies they see a long-term universe where Sony does the same thing, too.
The future could be very interesting indeed. To quote Dr. Peter Venkman, "human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together, God of War on Xbox and Halo on PlayStation — MASS HYSTERIA!"
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
The future of gaming is going to be interesting, what do you think?Reply
I appreciate the internal discussion of 'we could but should we'. It's inevitable that game will be released that feature AI art or voice work, even games that are 100% AI eventually, but as long as the big players show some sort of commitment towards people, it instils me with more confidence in an AI futureReply
Well, mr TBBudak, do you still believe that consoles are the future, and Sony will stick to their current strategy forever? Heh, I think not.Reply
Jez, why didn't you include his bit on subscription services not making sense in gaming as they do in linear entertainment? Seems like he sees that Microsoft made a mistake doubling down on GP.Reply
Also, day one PC releases for their premier single player games are not happening. The business implications make this fact obvious.
It's embarassing to see how Sony have been agreeing with Microsoft's strategies one by one. Embarassing.Reply
They're at least 5 years behind MS, maybe 10.
They're behind the curve and that's not easy to fix in this ultra competitive industry. Fans think they have their few third person story heavy, iterative games they love and that's enough. But Sony is worried and rightfully so.
This news comes as something that is too late.