Kenichiro Yoshida talks in broad terms about the future.
The surprise collaboration with Sony and Microsoft got the gaming world talking last week. While it is focused on cloud-based gaming and streaming infrastructure, it hasn’t stopped people from speculating just what it means for the future of the industry that two of the key players are working together. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida recently spoke with investors to explain a little more about the partnership, and where he sees it leading the company.
At Investors Relations Day, Yoshida talked in great length about how Sony has struggled with some of their online infrastructure in the past and that use of Microsoft’s Azure makes sense to improve that, as streaming will be a big part of the industry’s future.
“We’ve been working with streaming services over the last five years and there are various difficult aspects,” he said. “The network latency, for one. Some examples I could cite, for instance, the typical means of minimizing latency is the placement of servers on the edge closer to users, but moving servers closer to one group of users can mean increasing latency for another group of users.
“And also, there will be an encoding process at the very end, and how we can minimize the time for compression is another challenge. And also, in order to make it a viable business, what would be the business model? Our service is a subscription model now, but depending on the game, one could be played for fifty or a hundred hours and for someone playing one game like this, what is the advantage of a subscription service per month, the all-you-can-play type of model? So in terms of technology and services, there are various aspects we would like to look into with Microsoft going forward, especially in terms of streaming solutions. We would like to proceed through collaboration.”
Hinting at the inevitable streaming focused future, he also cites it as an important evolution the company will have to go through, as console gaming, as we know it, is “niche,” and streaming will open up opportunities that aren’t as readily available with dedicated devices. This is something already in its infancy with PlayStation Now, something Sony has used to dip its toes in going beyond a single device.
“As we speak, we provide, as I said, the immersive business and experience is something we would like to continue to place importance on,” Yoshida continued. “If you look at the game industry as a whole, the console market is not a major market, rather it’s a niche market if you will. But for core gamers, immersive experiences are something we would like to value. In this respect, for the time being, the console as something that brings about computing functionality to the users is very important, but on the other hand, technology will progress and so as I said today, the Remote Play and PlayStation Now, the streaming services will be worked on in parallel, that is what we are doing at this moment.”
Who knows where all of this will ultimately lead, but one thing is for sure- Sony has the future in mind.