Sony sets virtual reality at heart of its growth plans

(c)iStock.com/Andrey Danilovich

Sony’s got its sights set firmly on virtual reality as an area of growth, it said ahead of its October 2016 PlaystationVR launch.

This week, it released a mid-range corporate plan for the next two years, outlining where it wants to take the business.

Sony’s a company that’s gone through quite a transformation over the last few years. Since CEO Kazuo Hirai came into the business, it’s moved away from consumer electronics and refocused on games, movies and its network service, selling off its Vaio laptop brand and shedding jobs.

But in its recently outlined plan which runs until 2017 and beyond, the company will focus on a new phase of profit generation and investment for growth - and VR is a key area.

The imminent launch of PlaystationVR won’t just have great potential for its gaming services, it said, but also for other areas - including digital streaming, and more.

“Virtual reality is an application in which Sony believes it can leverage its technological strengths in areas such as digital imaging, content acquisition and production, as well as its entertainment assets.

“The company is accordingly engaging with virtual reality across the Sony Group, and also considering the possibility of cultivating it as a new business domain,” it said.

Areas of growth

Sony is predicting a rise in the profitability of its games division, as it announces the PS4 is its fastest selling console ever, with over 40 million sold worldwide to date - and this is also set to rise.

Video and audio tech, sensors and mechatronics, artificial intelligence, robotics and communications are also areas where Sony will focus on in the next few years. It’s also setting up a venture capital fund in July to find and support new business opportunities in these sectors.

But the company’s ‘kando’ philosophy means it’ll focus heavily on “moving customers emotionally” and being at the closest point of contact with customers.

And how much closer can you get to your customers, as Google similarly noted at its recent I/O conference, than immersing them into a virtual world?

 

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