Sony has grand plans to enter the electric car business, teaming up with Honda to produce an electric car people will actually be able to buy. But it sounds like the car will be able to do more than get you from place to place. In fact it could feature a built in PS5, in an attempt to compete with Tesla.
Izumi Kawanishi, head of Sony’s mobility business, teased this possibility when speaking with the Financial Times. “Sony has content, services and entertainment technologies that move people,” Kawanishi said. “We are adapting these assets to mobility, and this is our strength against Tesla.”
He also added that it was “technologically possible” for Sony to include a PS5 platform in its cars, and that “Tesla is not providing any content services” of its own.
Despite the strides traditional automakers have made in developing electric cars, Tesla is still the company to beat. Tesla is also notable for giving drivers the option to play AAA video games in some of its more premium models — most notably The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. Steam integration has also been promised, but so far nothing has materialized for the general public.
While video games in a car may seem fairly counter productive, the idea is that people have something to do at times when the car can’t be driven — such as when it’s recharging. It’s the same reason why some cars, notably Tesla, offer access to services like Netflix.
Obviously developing a catalogue of games for this fairly niche purpose is difficult — especially if you can’t take your progress out of the car. That’ll be a big part in why Tesla wants Steam integration, since it gives gamers access to their existing game libraries and the opportunity to store their save files in the cloud.
Sony’s advantage is that it has total control over its own gaming platform, and Kawanishi notes that it would be built directly into the car rather than added later as a software update. The other obvious advantage is that there wouldn’t have to be any licensing or deals that would need to be struck. Likewise there's no issues with a game’s system requirements, because all PS5 hardware is more or less identical. The same can’t be said for gaming PCs.
Of course, like Tesla, Sony’s goal is to make its cars completely autonomous. That’s partly why Honda and Sony teamed up in the first place, with Sony providing sensors and software, while Honda builds the actual cars. So Sony is planning ahead, to ensure the autonomous cars of the future are capable of keeping passengers engaged.
However, Kawanishi emphasized that this is a long way off. Sony may be aiming to launch its first electric car around 2025, but that car won’t be fully autonomous. “Autonomous driving will have to evolve considerably from the current level to get to that point,” Kawanishi said, “and it will take time for that to happen.”
But we don’t need to wait for Sony’s autonomous car to see a bonafide PlayStation built into a car. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end up being as difficult to buy one as it is to get a PS5 right now.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.