Sony’s “imaginary enemy” is the Metaverse?

The point of a car is to provide services that you can’t enjoy at home

Keiichi Murayama: “People’s desire to travel will not disappear,” Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman and president of Sony Group, said in early January that the company was discussing setting up a pure electric vehicle (EV) company and launching pure electric vehicles into the market.

According to the forecast of the Japanese research company Fuji Keizai, by 2035, the global pure electric vehicle market (passenger car) will reach 24.18 million units, 11 times that of 2020. Business opportunities will expand, and the atmosphere for new ventures into the field is growing. Kenichiro Yoshida played a video of a Sony car galloping during the demonstration. However, it is still unknown whether there is a smooth and bright road ahead.

“Gather with friends or family, work, study, play, shop, create. Almost anything imaginable can be achieved,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook) in the United States, introduced people This is expressed when the utility of performing activities in the Metaverse (virtual space). Zuckerberg said, “You can spend more time on the important things. You spend less time on the road and less burden on the environment.”

It’s not just Meta who has this idea. Considering that it wants to strengthen the Metaverse business, Microsoft in the United States has decided to spend huge sums of money to acquire large game companies. It is predicted that by 2028, the size of the Metaverse-related market including equipment, software, and services will reach $829 billion, expanding to 17 times that of 2020. This will have a deterrent effect on people’s travel.

According to the data, people are going out less and less. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan in 2015 in 70 cities across Japan, the number of trips per day hit a record low. Taking men in their 20s as an example, the average number of trips per day on a weekday in 1987 was about three, and in 2015 it was reduced to less than two.

The Internet and smartphones are becoming more and more popular, and the environment can solve problems without leaving home, which is one of the reasons why people are reluctant to go out. Figures from the UK and the US show a similar picture. Later, due to the new crown epidemic, it is well known that the number of people who have had remote experience in meetings, education, and medical care has increased rapidly.

The point of a car is to provide services that you can’t enjoy at home

Pure electric vehicles for mobility and a Metaverse that causes people to travel less. These two forces are currently emerging at the same time. How will people’s travel change in the future? Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Chinese version: Nikkei Chinese website) interviewed 8 experts in charge of automotive business at powerful consulting firms.

“The Metaverse will cause people to travel less,” is the opinion of most experts. They believe that people will not need to go out in many cases, including typical travel needs such as work and school. Some experts predict that if the precision of the Metaverse improves, there will be a way to “travel” at a low price, providing a different option from the wealthy class who go out and experience physical travel.

Sony's "imaginary enemy" is the Metaverse?

Metaverse platform “Horizon Worlds”

A 2015 survey by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism shows that cars play a major role in travel.Cars account for 45% of trips on weekdays and 62% of trips on rest days. For pure electric vehicle companies, the pressure brought by companies using virtual technology cannot be ignored.

Travel needs are not going away. But may become the object of “screening”. Is this trip really necessary? People only choose to travel if they think that there is a meaning of “going”. The experience in the travel process will undoubtedly also affect the judgment.

So, what does a pure electric vehicle need to achieve? There are voices pointing out that with the advent of a variety of cars, the price of cars will drop and the appeal will increase, but there are also many experts who believe that electrification alone is not enough. Autonomous driving is a must if the car is to be a space that effectively uses travel time. If cars are networked, offering services not experienced at home, it may be able to attract Gen Z.

Travel has become the main battlefield of technological innovation in the era of smartphones

The key is how flexible the minds of pure electric vehicle developers can be. Looking back on history, we can see that after entering the era of smartphones, the main battlefield of innovation and competition is related to travel.

For example, under the promotion of Uber in the United States, the popularization of shared cars has been achieved.There’s no need to spend a lot of time and expense on using and maintaining a personal car — the Uber founder’s 2016 U.S. newspaper article still reads as ambitious today. The practice of sharing electric scooters as a light means of transportation is also spreading around the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the rise of services that are once again changing the flow of people. For example, DoorDash, an American food delivery company that will enter Japan in 2021. The company’s July-September 2021 sales rose 45% year over year. Nearly 80% of users feel that their life efficiency has improved and they can spend more time on family, school and work. While delivery workers are busy, there has been a significant reduction in “dining out and shopping consumers”.

Sony's "imaginary enemy" is the Metaverse?

US DoorDash enters Japan

Meta announced on January 11 that it has welcomed DoorDash CEO Tony Xu as a director. Zuckerberg said, “Looking forward to learning his thinking for the construction of the Metaverse.” Change will never end.

The key is to achieve a society where there is no inefficiency, irrationality and uneconomical mobility, and where progress can actually be felt. Pure electric vehicles and the Metaverse are not completely opposite, and they can complement each other by integrating with each other.

world view competition

Experts also commented that the current car is not convenient and mature enough. “The value will be greatest only when the car is connected to society through data”. Cars cannot be viewed in isolation, but as huge systems, and without digitally optimizing the whole, stylish pure electric vehicles will end up in traffic jams. In addition, the need for decarbonization is self-evident.

The author also heard such a voice – “Through travel, move and discover. Transportation companies must create this experience”. The IT industry also strives to provide a pleasant and comfortable experience. The two should also be rivals that stimulate each other.

Sony has multiple businesses. The main game business is closely related to the Metaverse. The remote robot business, which can work in real time anywhere, has also officially started in December 2021. The meaning of existence proposed by Sony is to “make the world full of emotion”. Moving and moving, what kind of society will be realized? Worldviews must be compared.

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