Because Honda loads the Sony PlayStation 5 video game console on board

Because Honda loads the Sony PlayStation 5 video game console on board

Cars, more and more similar to computers, disdain automotive showrooms to land in high-tech ones. And so on January 4, 2023, at CES in Las Vegas, Sony and Honda could raise the curtain on the smart cars resulting from their unprecedented alliance

A Sony-branded car has been talked about since before the epidemic. The Japanese entertainment giant, known above all for the PlayStation consoles, presented its first Vision-S 01 sedan at CES 2020 and the Vision-S 2 SUV at CES 2022. These are only concept cars, created in collaboration with Magna Steyr , Bosch, Valeo and Almotive. This year, however, there has been acceleration. First Sony returned to the theme by announcing an ad hoc division, Sony Mobility Inc, then the Japanese giant so far known for consoles and household appliances, last March 4, as reported by the Energia Oltre press agency , announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of creating a joint venture to develop, produce and sell electric vehicles, together with the provision of mobility services.


The question is, what will Sony and Honda do? This is a more important question than one might think, given that more and more analysts believe that the mobility of the future will be made primarily of services. With the increasingly widespread diffusion of sharing and with possible increases in the cost of cars and in their maintenance, it is easy that, at least in large urban centres, most will decide to give up their own car.

Hence the reconversion, for the big Houses, into service resellers: software that will animate the hi-tech brain of the cars of the near future, both to differentiate them and convince possible buyers, and because, precisely, the sale of the cars, at least in Wealthier countries could experience a slowdown.

From this point of view, it is clear what the partnership between the two Japanese companies is based on: Sony owns entertainment content, services and technologies, Honda the know-how in the automotive field. Honda will therefore make its factories available to the partner (it seems little, but Japan, being an archipelago, full of mountains and heavily seismic, does not have many spaces for the construction of gigafactories, which in fact are solidly built in China, India, Korea …) and above all will have an active role in the design and development of production models.

According to the perspective that everyone will have to concentrate on what they do best , while Honda will take care of the cars, Sony, for its part, will contribute its "expertise in the development and application of telecommunications, network and entertainment technologies" and will lead the mobility services platform. “We are adapting these assets to mobility and this is our selling point against Tesla,” Sony chairman Izumi Kawanishi told the Financial Times .


In fact, the goal for the two Japanese companies is to grab Tesla, the first to test and market cars with an entertainment system similar to what Sony and Honda are imagining. As usual, Elon Musk anticipated everyone, even the legislation, so much so that in the USA, at the beginning of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal authority in charge of road safety, grilled the House of the electric car on the "Passenger Play" function that Tesla itself advertised as an on-board console, accessible directly from the front of the passenger compartment.

This is because we wanted to understand if the driver, considering the size of the screen positioned on the dashboard, could in some way be distracted by the sounds and images of what is happening under his nose while the passengers play video games given that an update, immediately corrected by Tesla after the start of the investigation by the US authorities, he had also unlocked this function for the moving car.


But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seems to have to deal with it. In the future, more and more cars will host video games on board. Certainly, in the present more and more car brands are entering into alliances with software houses. Volvo Cars, a Swedish manufacturer now in the hands of the Chinese Geely, a few months ago announced its intention to introduce photorealistic display technology in its next generation of electric cars thanks to a new collaboration with Epic Games , as reported by the Energia Oltre news agency .

Volvo's intent is to exploit Epic Games' Unreal Engine for the development of digital interfaces within its cars and for rendering real-time graphics in on-board devices. “To offer our customers the best possible user experience and contribute to safe and personal driving, we need a rich, immersive and responsive display inside our cars,” explained Henrik Green , Chief Product Officer at Volvo cars. “Using the Unreal Engine in our cars achieves this and makes spending time in a Volvo even more enjoyable.”

In the next generation of Volvo cars, customers will find on the in-vehicle displays of third-generation Snapdragon Cockpit platforms the crisp renderings, colors and 3D animations that truly made Epic Games a giant when it comes to game engines. video games. And if you have any doubts, just go and browse through the technical demos of the latest Unreal Engine to understand, virtually, what is possible with that software.


But let's go back to the announcement of the presentation of cars resulting from the alliance between Sony and Honda at next year's CES. Will the Vision-S 01 sedan be the Vision-S SUV? As good concept cars, it is easy that they will never see the light of day also because, in the context of the agreement with Honda, it will in fact be the latter to take care of the body, bodywork, design … What is certain is that Sony intends to make inroads in the automotive sector mainly dealing with software and obviously allowing their cars to communicate with the PlayStation 5 that users have in their living room.


All very nice, indeed, beautiful. We just need to take a bath in reality and understand how much the chip crisis will affect these very ambitious plans. A problem that Sony is already familiar with and that significantly affects it on the console front: in the fiscal year that has just closed, the Japanese giant sold 11.5 million consoles, compared with an expectation of 14.8 million (number of PS4 sold in the same period after launch). It's not that PS5 doesn't sell, it's that it doesn't hit stores.

For the same reason, in the middle of summer Sony was forced to raise the prices of PlayStation 5 : the Standard version with reader now costs 549.99 euros while the Digital 449.99 euros, with an increase of 50 euros for both models . Also for this reason, according to rumors, AMD is working on a new Ryzen 7 6800U processor with 6 nm chip produced by TSMC which should animate the heart and brain of the Sony flagship.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Wed, 23 Nov 2022 11:57:29 +0000.