Japanese conglomerate Sony Group Corp (6758.T) said it is well-positioned to play a leading role in the metaverse, or immersive virtual worlds, which commentators speculate will massively disrupt industries and establish new powerhouses.
The metaverse is a vague term encapsulating the idea that consumers will spend more time in online simulated environments. While the concept is evolving, it has become a buzzword in briefings and a driver of industry dealmaking.
"The metaverse is at the same time a social space and live network space where games, music, movies and anime intersect," Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida said at a strategy briefing on Wednesday, pointing to the use of free-to-play battle royale title Fortnite from Epic Games as an online social space.
Sony s game, music and movie units contributed two-thirds of operating income in the year ended March, underscoring the group s transformation from consumer electronics maker into a metaverse-ready entertainment juggernaut under Yoshida and predecessor Kazuo Hirai.
The firm is a gaming gatekeeper with its PlayStation 5 console, however observers point to the risk presented by the growth of cross-platform, cloud-based titles and their potential to reduce the influence of proprietary platforms.
Sony has been adjusting its approach, enabling cross-play in Fortnite in 2018. This week, Epic said in-game "V-Bucks" currency purchased on PlayStation would be usable on other platforms.
"PlayStation has played a huge role in the social gaming revolution that s nurturing the growth of the metaverse as a new entertainment medium," Epic s 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 online multi-player shooter "Destiny".