Sony is gearing up for the metaverse revolution with a cross-platform push

TOKYO, May 18 (Reuters) – Japanese conglomerate Sony Group Corp (6758.T) said it was well placed to play a leading role in the metaverse, or immersive virtual worlds, which commentators say will disrupt massively industries and will establish new powers.

Metaverse is a loose term encapsulating the idea that consumers will spend more time in simulated environments online. As the concept evolves, it has become a buzzword in briefings and a bargaining chip in the industry.

“The Metaverse is both a social space and a live network space where games, music, movies and anime intersect,” Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida said Wednesday during a strategy briefing, noting the use of free battle royale. Fortnite title from Epic Games as an online social space.

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Sony’s games, music and movies units contributed two-thirds of operating profit in the year ended March, underscoring the group’s transformation from consumer electronics maker into an entertainment juggernaut ready for the metaverse under Yoshida and his predecessor Kazuo Hirai.

The company is a gaming guardian with its PlayStation 5 console, but observers point to the risk presented by the growth of cloud-based cross-platform titles and their potential to reduce the influence of first-party platforms.

Sony adjusted its approach, allowing cross-play in Fortnite in 2018. This week, Epic said in-game currency “V-Bucks” purchased on PlayStation would be usable on other platforms.

“PlayStation has played a huge role in the social gaming revolution that fuels the growth of the metaverse as a new entertainment medium,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said on Twitter.

Sony has also taken steps to expand beyond its focus on single-player titles such as ‘Spider-Man: Miles Morales’, with a deal announced in January to buy Bungie, the developer of the online multiplayer shooter. “Destiny”.

“We believe this will be a catalyst for improving our live gaming capabilities…(This) represents a major step towards becoming cross-platform,” Yoshida said.

Sony already licenses its content to other platforms, taking advantage of the value for content distributors such as the popular American sitcom “Seinfeld”. Although the company owns anime streaming service Crunchyroll, it hasn’t pushed as aggressively into operating its own video platforms as competitors such as Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) with its Disney service. +.

Beyond the metaverse, Yoshida also claimed Sony’s claim to mobility, with the conglomerate developing an electric vehicle with Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T).

Sony created a new lifestyle in 1979 with the launch of the Walkman, Yoshida said.

“We aim to transform the mobility space into a new entertainment space… We believe that mobility will be the next megatrend,” he said.

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Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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