Sony makes VR commitment ‘beyond gaming’

PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR

Sony has committed to making a variety of content “beyond gaming” following the global launch last week of its PlayStation VR headset.

Speaking at MIPCOM this morning, the president and CEO of Sony Corporation, Kazuo Hirai, said that Sony is well positioned to set trends in virtual reality – both by providing an “entirely new gaming experience” and by offering other kinds of content.

“We have paid close attention to audience reaction to early VR exposure and intend to respond with a variety of content beyond gaming. Across Sony, our content divisions are working on VR entertainment as we seek to grow the industry,” said Hirai.

The firm has already developed VR experiences based on Sony Pictures Entertainment produced or distributed films The WalkGoosebumps and Ghostbusters, and Sony Music is now developing a VR music experience with EDM artist Kygo.

“VR provides us all an exciting and new creative frontier. We want you to share in our excitement about the possibility of VR to your respective businesses and to imagine the possibility as VR moves beyond games – to television, live sporting events, awe-inspiring documentaries and of course B2B applications as well,” said Hirai.

“The perspective of my 32 years in this business tells me that there is no limit to what is possible if you stay tuned to the sensibilities and interests of the consumers and you understand where they’re going.”

Hirai, who spent 10 years at Sony Music and another 15 at Sony’s PlayStation division before being appointed CEO in 2012, said that an important aspect of his strategy is to create ‘one Sony’.

Under his management, Sony executives from the entertainment and electronics sides of the company meet twice a year to discuss business issues – an initiative Hirai said resulted in the development of PlayStation VR.

“We just need to make sure that all the various businesses are talking to each other, sharing information and, where necessary, when it works for everybody involved, do something together,” said Hirai.

In his keynote the executive also highlighted the importance of ‘kando’ – a Japanese term that refers to emotional involvement – as a means to determine both what the company should do, and why it should do it.

“By sharing your ideas, we can identify or develop new technologies from state of the art cameras to improved and flexible delivery of formats that fully render what’s possible,” said Hirai.

“In this multiplatform, multichannel world, viewer preferences are as personal and individual as they are. This is why our efforts over the past few years have been focused both on providing entertainment experiences that elicit ‘kando’.”

Sony last week launched PlayStation VR – a headset that plugs into PlayStation 4 consoles. As well as an extensive line-up of games, there are also a number of VR video apps and experience that have already either launched or been unveiled.

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