Entertainment giant Sony said Wednesday (May 18) that it is prepared to take a key role in the immersive virtual world known as the metaverse.
“The metaverse is at the same time a social space and live network space where games, music, movies and anime intersect,” said Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida, according to Reuters.
He was speaking at a strategy briefing and cited the free-to-play game Fortnite by Epic Games as an example of the type of online social space the metaverse will encompass.
Reuters noted that two-thirds of Sony’s operating income last year came from its movie, music and gaming projects, which illustrates the company’s shift from a consumer electronics manufacturer to a “metaverse-ready entertainment juggernaut.”
The report also pointed out that Sony has been adjusting its approach to gaming, allowing cross-play on Fortnite for the past four years and recently letting Epic Games’ V-Bucks currency, purchased on the Sony PlayStation, to be used 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,” Tim Sweeney, Epic’s CEO, said on Twitter.
And Sony has also expanded its focus beyond single-player video games like “Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” with a deal announced in January to purchase Bungie, maker of online multi-player shooter “Destiny.”
“We believe it will be a catalyst to enhance our live service game capabilities… (It) represents a major step forward in becoming multi-platform,” Yoshida said.
Last month, Sony and the owner of Lego invested $2 billion into Epic Games, bringing the value of the company to $31.5 billion.
That investment was designed to boost the metaverse partnership Epic had formed with Lego in early April and comes at a time when many tech companies are working to plant their own flag in these virtual worlds.
Among those companies is Disney, which is reportedly working on its metaverse strategy, consulting with futurists, tech executives and metaverse executives on a project it calls “next-generation storytelling.”
Disney CEO Bob Chapek has said he supports the metaverse, calling it a “third dimension of the canvas” for creatives in February.