Sony targets 1 billion international leisure customers

Sony Group Corp. aims to connect with 1 billion users worldwide through its game, anime and other entertainment services. This is more than six times the current level to solidify its base as a creative entertainment company.

As part of a business strategy unveiled on Wednesday, Sony announced that it will spend approximately yen 2 trillion on key growth areas like entertainment and technology over the next three years through March 2024.

Sony drove on the popularity of its PlayStation 5 game console and related software along with the blockbuster animated film based on the popular Manga series “Demon Slayer”, distributed jointly by a subsidiary.

“We want to increase the number of people we connect with from 160 million now to 1 billion,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman and CEO of Sony Group, in an online business strategy briefing, adding that anime and Gaming “go together quite well”.

According to Yoshida, gaming currently makes up the majority of the current customer base with around 100 million users. He did not provide any further breakdowns and did not reveal when the group plans to cross the 1 billion mark.

“One way (target for 1 billion) is to expand what we already have and another is to create new communities of interest,” said Yoshida, referring to the opportunity to work with other companies outside the group.

The coronavirus pandemic has boosted the group’s sales as people spend more time playing games and using other entertainment services at home. PlayStation 5 has met robust demand since it was launched in November, and the Sony Group has set a second year revenue target of 14.80 million units worldwide, even with a global chip shortage.

Recurring revenue has fueled the growth of the Sony Group, which offers the PlayStation Plus subscription service and music streaming.

Last year Sony Corp. announced announced its plan to buy the operator of the US anime streaming service Crunchyroll, which has millions of registered users in over 200 countries and regions, for approximately 1.18 billion US dollars.

After a name change from Sony Corp. In April, the Sony Group takes over the Japanese conglomerate’s main functions, which include financial services, games, entertainment and electronics. The change represents a continued diversification from the electronics that popularized the brand name.

“Technology is important to both content creation and delivery (to consumers),” said Yoshida.

The Sony Group has achieved great success with its image sensors used in smartphones. To encourage longer-term growth, the company is placing more emphasis on mobility as a key area where its image sensors can contribute to the safety of cars.

It presented a prototype of an electric vehicle, the Vision-S, and carried out road tests.

“Our contribution to ensuring the safety (of cars) will help them evolve into a new sphere of entertainment,” said Yoshida.

During the online press conference, Yoshida refrained from commenting on a media report on a plan by the Sony Group and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to build a plant in Kumamoto Prefecture.

But Yoshida said, “It is important to ensure a stable supply” of the semiconductors used in his image sensors.

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