Sony CEO sees wearable gaming gear in company's future

Wearables could work with cameras and PlayStation consoles, says Kazuo Hirai

Sony's SmartEyeglass prototype is shown off at CES 2014 in Las Vegas in January.

Sony's SmartEyeglass prototype is shown off at CES 2014 in Las Vegas in January.

In Sony's version of the future, wearables will be an extension not only of smartphones, but of game consoles too.

Sony's wearables could work with cameras, game consoles and other electronics in the future while becoming more camera-like and TV-like themselves, Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai said Monday.

Sony wants to bring its leading-edge image sensors and display technologies to wearables to make them stand out from competitors, he said in a discussion at Sony's Tokyo headquarters.

Wearables that work with other gear including PlayStation consoles "have a lot of potential to make it a more exciting ecosystem," Hirai said. "It's not just the wearable but it's in fact an extension of a lot of the product experiences that we bring to consumers today."

Hirai believes that Sony can use its technological prowess, including strength in batteries, and vast content assets to make something of its entry into the wearables market.

Since the launch of its first SmartWatch in 2012, it has gone on to announce a slew of wearable devices including the SmartBand life-logging wristband that's powered by the Android-linked Core fitness sensor.

That wristband is the first of Sony's SmartWear Experience that's aimed at going beyond fitness into entertainment. The company's initial strategy in the nascent wearables market comes as it exits the PC business.

Hirai didn't specify how wearables would advance Sony's corporate strategy, but emphasized that the rules of the business have yet to be written.

"It already is, perhaps, a very crowded market," he said. "I think the jury's still out on exactly what the right wearable consumer experience is... We have a vision of where we want to take it, but we don't know whether that's the right one. We don't know whether Google has the right answer. Everyone is scrambling for that right consumer experience at this point."

Sony has also unveiled concept wearables including Project Morpheus, a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 console, the Lifelog wearable camera and a potential Google Glass competitor called SmartEyeglass that can be used as an augmented reality display for directions or other information.

Hirai hinted that Sony has more concept-grade wearables to come, saying there's "some real funky stuff" going on at the company's technology research center in Atsugi southwest of Tokyo.

Despite strong PlayStation 4 sales, the struggling electronics giant's decision to sell off its Vaio laptops unit led it to a ¥128.4 billion (US$1.25 billion) loss in the year to March 31. It expects a loss of ¥50 billion for the current year and pledged intense restructuring.

Asked about Sony's loss-making consumer TV business, which is slated to become a split-out company called Sony Visual Products, Hirai said that exiting television would entail enormous costs, but he didn't rule out the possibility.

"Not that there are any plans right now, but just talking generally, I think that the options we would pursue if it came to that would be some sort of a partnership with an outside company or basically getting some partnerships going in some particular territories," Hirai said.

"Having said that, right now we are in the midst of creating a new company, Sony Visual Products, to make sure that the TV business is a stand-alone business."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicsemerging technologysony

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?