Driving electric vehicles is certainly beneficial for the environment. But Japanese multinationals Sony and Honda are thinking of adding a PlayStation 5 (PS5) in EVs to make it personally more entertaining.
According to the Financial Times, the plan by the two companies is part of a strategy to take on Elon Musk-led electric vehicle giant Tesla and other EV giants through premium entertainment experiences including music and movies in their cars.
PS5 is one of the world’s most advanced gaming consoles, which allows video gamers to play some of the world’s finest games including Football Manager 2023, God of War Ragnarök, and multiple installments of Call of Duty among many others.
Here’s What Sony and Honda say about PS5 in Cars
Sony and Honda formed the Sony Honda Mobility Inc. joint venture in September 2022 with the specific objective of producing EVs. The joint venture has not picked a brand name for its outputs.
Both Sony and Honda also have their own individual electric vehicle plans. Sony revealed an electric SUV and sedan concept at CES 2022 in January. In May 2022, Honda Motor Company released a teaser image of its fully electric car named Prologue SUV.
Izumi Kawanishi, the joint venture’s president and COO, told the Financial Times that it is “technologically possible” to integrate the Sony PS5 platform into the electric vehicle car it aims to build with Honda.
Kawanishi, who was also the developer of PlayStation 3 and Sony’s robot dog Aibo, underlined that Sony has “content, services and entertainment technologies that move people,” specifically adding that it is the joint venture’s “strength against Tesla.”
Sony Honda Mobility chairman Yasuhide Mizuno said that the car they plan to build will be like “hardware that will cater to the entertainment and network we would like to offer.”
Autonomous driving is key
Since no one is expected to play video games while driving, the focus is on autonomous driving to allow occupants of the vehicle the freedom to explore entertainment options.
“To enjoy the space in your car, you have to make it a space where you don’t need to drive. The solution for this is autonomous driving,” Kawanishi said.
However, he added that the technology needs to “evolve considerably from the current level” and will take time.
According to Mizuno, the joint venture aims to release its first EV in North America by 2025.
Why Challenge Tesla?
Sony and Honda are mulling cramming a PS5 into their upcoming entertainment-focused electric vehicle as they set up to challenge Tesla (via Eurogamer).
Tesla started delivering its latest Model S and X vehicles with larger horizontal screens last year and added an AMD RDNA 2 graphics chip that Tesla CEO Elon Musk said is “literally at the level of a PlayStation 5” during a demo.
Over a year later, Musk’s promises for big games like Cyberpunk 2077 and a demo for Steam in August have yet to be fulfilled, with the most notable game to release being the original 2D Sonic the Hedgehog.
But Sony is not just looking to inject games into a car like Tesla. The plan is to “develop a car as hardware that will cater to the entertainment and network we would like to offer,” said Yasuhide Mizuno, chair of Sony Honda Mobility and senior managing officer of Honda Motor Co. Effectively, its electric vehicle is intended to be a content consumption device on wheels.
Another piece of the puzzle for Sony and Honda Mobility to solve is the actual mobility part — and the plan is to make the vehicle autonomous. “To enjoy the space in your car, you have to make it a space where you don’t need to drive,” said Kawanishi, who also acknowledged it’ll take a considerable amount of time to make that happen.
That’s a key part of the reason Sony and Honda joined forces earlier this year. The former not only brings the entertainment and software but also the sensors and tech needed for autonomous driving, while Honda’s obviously good at building cars.
Together, they hope to catch up to the systems of other automakers, like Tesla’s vision-based Full Self-Driving which has beta versions running on over 160,000 cars today.
But Tesla is having its own problems getting its autonomous systems to work. And ambitious autonomous plans of many car companies are faltering.
The realization of a playable God of War Ragnarök on a car dash is still years away, as Sony and Honda plan to make the first North American deliveries of the yet-to-be-named vehicle in early 2026.
Though we haven’t seen what that vehicle will look like, Sony’s been giving glimpses since 2020 when it revealed its Vision-S 01 concept and the SUV 02 version at CES 2022.
The Vision-S was built in conjunction with auto manufacturer Magna and had dual 200kW motors that can push the car from zero to 60mph in 4.5 seconds. Around the vehicle, Sony had over 10 image sensors plus lidars, radars, and ultrasonics — and at least nine displays scattered inside the vehicle.
Sony and Honda are betting their autonomous entertainment-first EV will be a differentiator in the automotive space. It follows trends of other automakers trying to get owners to spend more time inside cars, like Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 with its “cocoon-like personal space,” Tesla with Netflix since 2019 and now TikTok, and Lincoln’s Star Concept that can release mood fragrances.
Whether people actually want to spend more time in cars is to be determined, but if Sony brings the PS5, it’ll probably get more play time than the B-game options BMW is going with.
Let us know in the comments what do you think. We will comeback soon with another article on Honda.