Sony bets on metaverse with new mixed reality headset

11 January 2024, 01:44

Sony's new mixed reality headset and controllers announced at CES
HMD&Controllers. Picture: PA

The Japanese giant’s chief technology officer said the virtual platform ‘poses huge opportunities’ for the entertainment firm.

The metaverse will become the next stage of the internet and “poses huge opportunities”, a senior Sony executive has said as the technology giant unveiled a new mixed reality headset.

The Japanese firm’s chief technology officer, Yoshinori Matsumoto, said he believed the metaverse could follow a similar path to the world wide web and eventually become “essential for our lives” as more people began to use it.

Mr Matsumoto was speaking after Sony announced it was developing a new mixed reality headset and controller system aimed at businesses and creators, enabling them to do 3D design work using the headset, with virtual items appearing in front of the user’s eyes and able to be manipulated using companion finger and hand controllers.

Sony said the device was initially aimed at those working in sophisticated 3D content creation, such as engineering and industrial design, but over time could be used for entertainment and gaming design or experiences.

The metaverse is the name given to virtual worlds which users enter via virtual or mixed reality headsets and interact or collaborate with others. Users are often represented as a digital avatar.

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg has spent billions redirecting his firm’s business towards becoming a metaverse company, having argued he believes it will eventually become the next version of the internet.

Last year, Apple announced its first mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, which will go on sale for the first time in the US next month.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Matsumoto said the metaverse would allow content creation, editing and engineering to move from “2D to 3D”, transforming consumer entertainment and creativity as a result – a key market for the company.

“The metaverse poses a lot of opportunities for us,” he said.

“Maybe communication will be totally changed with the metaverse – you will communicate with a 3D figure or a real figure, it will change social networking.

“On the other hand, it will change entertainment, so writing music or other stuff, that will be totally changed in the 3D situation.

“At the Sony Group, we are an entertainment company, so we like to create value for entertainment – that’s why we are working with the metaverse.”

He added that the company believed it could help those in the creative industries “realise their dreams” in terms of “what they do as a creator”.

Alongside its technology and electronics business, the Sony Group includes industry-leading firms across the entertainment sector, including Sony Pictures and Sony Music.

Mr Matsumoto acknowledged the metaverse was still in its infancy and convincing people to use “heavily depends on the application or the content”, adding that Sony was already working with creators to “make the metaverse valuable when you arrive”.

By Press Association

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