Sony’s message at CES 2019 was loud and clear, straight from the mouth of its CEO: “We are a creative entertainment company.”
The majority of the presentation showed off Sony’s contributions to entertainment — from movies to music to video games — and how its technology is “empowering people’s creativity.” If you were expecting announcements of new, groundbreaking technology that you’ll be able to take home later this year, there wasn’t much for you. Instead, the presentation was all about what Sony was doing to drive the evolution of entertainment.
Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said that a major focus was building out communities of interest — groups of people who share a love for entertainment. One of the biggest: PlayStation. We learned that the PS4 sold 5.6 million units over the recent holiday season, bringing the cumulative worldwide sales above 90 million.
What about new games? New systems or accessories? PlayStation VR?
Sony took the next 20 minutes to remind everyone that it owns the rights to Spider-Man, and that it was the creative force behind last year’s “Spider-Man” game for the PS4 and the animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Sony even brought out the movie’s producers to talk about the animation process.
The company squeezed in some mentions of its 8K & Oled Bravia Master Series televisions, boasting that they offer the same level of quality and detail as monitors used by professionals. (Like James Cameron. Did you know that he made “Titanic” and also uses Sony equipment? Sony really wants you to know that James Cameron, who also made “Avatar,” likes Sony equipment.) But, again, the message was less about electronics you can bring home and more about Sony’s role in making the entertainment.
That trend continued into the music part of the presentation. There was a quick mention of Sony’s “360 reality audio,” but the segment was dominated by a story about Sony inviting Pharrell Williams to see the company’s current projects and how much he liked them — with video evidence to prove it. Sony then brought him on stage to corroborate the video evidence. They did not, however, tell us what so captivated Pharrell’s attention. Pharrell himself seemed reluctant to talk about what he had seen that made him so excited, which didn’t get us as hyped up as Sony was probably hoping we’d be.
And that… was about it. Yoshida came back out to remind everyone about the creative entertainment company thing and take a picture with Pharrell, and then the panel was over. It was an interesting tactic for such a major electronics company, especially at an event meant to highlight those electronics. But was it a next-level tactic meant to drive brand recognition, or just a lack of new products to announce? We’ll find out as 2019 unfolds.
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